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Cardiovascular Diseases

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm? Location of the Aortas and Arteries in the Human Body (Click to Enlarge) An abdominal aortic aneurysm, also called AAA or triple A, is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta (the largest artery in the body) resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning greater than 50 percent of the vessel's normal diameter (width). The aorta extends upward from the top of the left ventricle of the heart in the chest area (ascending thoracic ao...
Anatomy and Function of the Coronary Arteries
Anatomy and Function of the Coronary Arteries Click Image to Enlarge Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. Like all other tissues in the body, the heart muscle needs oxygen-rich blood to function, and oxygen-depleted blood must be carried away. The coronary arteries consist of two main arteries: the right and left coronary arteries. The left coronary artery system branches into the circumflex artery and the left anterior descending artery. What are the different coronary arteries? The two ...
Anatomy and Function of the Heart Valves
Anatomy and Function of the Heart Valves Click Image to Enlarge What are heart valves? The heart consists of four chambers, two atria (upper chambers) and two ventricles (lower chambers). There is a valve through which blood passes before leaving each chamber of the heart. The valves prevent the backward flow of blood. These valves are actual flaps that are located on each end of the two ventricles (lower chambers of the heart). They act as one-way inlets of blood on one side of a ventricle and one-way ...
Anatomy and Function of the Heart Valves
Anatomy and Function of the Heart Valves Click Image to Enlarge What are heart valves? The heart consists of four chambers, two atria (upper chambers) and two ventricles (lower chambers). Blood passes through a valve before leaving each chamber of the heart. The valves prevent the backward flow of blood. Valves are actually flaps (leaflets) that act as one-way inlets for blood coming into a ventricle and one-way outlets for blood leaving a ventricle. Normal valves have three flaps (leaflets), except the...
Anatomy and Function of the Heart's Electrical System
Anatomy and Function of the Heart's Electrical System Click Image to Enlarge The heart's electrical system The heart is, in the simplest terms, a pump made up of muscle tissue. Like all pumps, the heart requires a source of energy and oxygen in order to function. The heart's pumping action is regulated by an electrical conduction system that coordinates the contraction of the various chambers of the heart. How does the heart beat? An electrical stimulus is generated by the sinus node (also called the si...
Aneurysm
Aneurysm What is an aneurysm? An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of a blood vessel resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning greater than 50 percent of the vessel's normal diameter (width). An aneurysm may occur in any blood vessel, but is most often seen in an artery rather than a vein. An aneurysm may be located in many areas of the body, such as blood vessels of the brain, the aorta (the largest artery in the body), the intestines, the kidney, the spleen, and the vessels in the...
Angina Pectoris
Angina Pectoris What is angina pectoris? Angina pectoris (or simply angina) is recurring chest pain or discomfort that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen. Angina is a symptom of coronary heart disease (CHD), which occurs when arteries that carry blood to the heart become narrowed and blocked due to atherosclerosis or a blood clot. What are the symptoms of angina pectoris? Angina pectoris occurs when the heart muscle (myocardium) does not receive an adequate amou...
Arrhythmias
Arrhythmias What is an arrhythmia? An arrhythmia (also referred to as dysrhythmia) is an abnormal rhythm of the heart, which can cause the heart to pump less effectively. Arrhythmias can cause problems with contractions of the heart chambers by: Not allowing the ventricles (lower chambers) to fill with an adequate amount of blood because an abnormal electrical signal is causing the heart to pump too fast. Not allowing a sufficient amount of blood to be pumped out to the body because an abnormal electric...
Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis Click Image to Enlarge What is atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis (a thickening or hardening of the arteries) caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery. Plaque is made up of deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin, and can develop in medium or large arteries. The artery wall becomes thickened and loses its elasticity. Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may start as early as c...
Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial Fibrillation What is an arrhythmia? Arrhythmias (or dysrhythmias) are abnormal rhythms of the heart that cause the heart to pump less effectively. Normally, as the electrical impulse moves through the heart, the heart contracts–about 60 to 100 times a minute in adults. Each contraction represents one heartbeat. The atria (the upper chambers of the heart) contract a fraction of a second before the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) so their blood empties into the ventricles before the ve...
Basic Anatomy of the Heart
Basic Anatomy of the Heart Click Image to Enlarge About the heart The heart is the hardest working muscle in the human body. Located almost in the center of the chest, the adult human heart is about the size of one fist. At an average rate of 80 times a minute, the heart beats about 115,000 times in one day or 42 million times in a year. In a 70-year lifetime, an average human heart will beat more than 2.5 billion times. Even when a person is at rest, the heart continuously works hard. How the heart wor...
Calculating Calories and Fat Grams
Calculating Calories and Fat Grams To determine the number of calories and fat grams you need each day in order to either lose or gain weight, consult your physician or a registered dietitian. To maintain your current weight, follow the three-step formula below. 1. Write your body weight in the equation that fits your activity level and gender. Then, multiply. Moderately active male : _____ pounds x 15 calories = _____ total calories per day. Moderately active female : _____ pounds x 12 calories = _____...
Cardiac Conditions and Diseases
Cardiac Conditions and Diseases Many cardiac conditions require clinical care by a physician or other heart care professional. Listed in the directory below are some of these conditions, for which we have provided a brief overview. Angina Pectoris Arrhythmias Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) Overview of Pacemaker and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) Living With a Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Frequently Asked Questions About Pacemake...
Cardiac Diagnostic Tests
Cardiac Diagnostic Tests New and advanced diagnostic tests and tools are constantly being introduced to further understand the complexity of disease, injury, and congenital (present at birth) or acquired abnormalities. The following are just a few of the diagnostic tests that have been used/are being used to further understand and identify cardiovascular disease. For more specific information, consult your cardiologist or other health care provider. Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). A test that records th...
Cardiac Procedures
Cardiac Procedures The following procedures are often used in the evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Consult your physician or heart care professional for more specific information. Cardiac procedures for abnormal heart rhythms: Catheter ablation. This procedure uses radio waves or freezing to silence an abnormal area in the heart's electrical system, which is usually found during an electrophysiology study. Permanent pacemaker. A permanent pacemaker is inserted into the patient's heart...
Cardiac Rehabilitation
Cardiac Rehabilitation What is cardiac rehabilitation? Cardiac rehabilitation is a doctor-supervised program for people who have either congenital or acquired heart disease. Program participants may or may not have had a heart attack or heart surgery (or other heart procedures). Cardiac rehabilitation can often improve functional capacity, reduce symptoms, and create a sense of well-being for patients. A doctor may prescribe cardiac rehabilitation for a patient in certain situations. What conditions may...
Cardiac Sarcoma
Cardiac Sarcoma What is cardiac sarcoma? Cardiac sarcoma is a rare type of tumor that occurs in the heart. Cardiac sarcoma is a primary malignant (cancerous) tumor. Tumors are considered to be either primary tumors or secondary tumors. A primary tumor is the original site of tumor growth. A secondary tumor originates from another tumor elsewhere in the body. In general, primary tumors of the heart are rare, and most are benign (noncancerous). What are the symptoms of cardiac sarcoma? The symptoms of hea...
Cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy What is cardiomyopathy? Cardiomyopathy describes any disorder that affects the heart muscle, causing the heart to lose its ability to pump blood effectively. In some instances, the heart rhythm also becomes disturbed and leads to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). There may be multiple causes of cardiomyopathy, including viral infections and certain medications. Often, the exact cause of the muscle disease is never found. How does cardiomyopathy differ from other heart disorders? Cardiom...
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention It is possible to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease - by eliminating the risk factors you can control, and managing the risk factors you cannot control. Below you will find more information on making appropriate lifestyle changes that will help to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle Changes Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease Diet and Cardiovascular Disease Components of Food Cholesterol in the Blood Calculating Calories and Fat Grams Determinin...
Cardiovascular Disease Statistics
Cardiovascular Disease Statistics Each year, heart disease is at the top of the list of the country's most serious health problems. In fact, statistics show that cardiovascular disease is America's leading health problem, and the leading cause of death. Consider the most recent statistics released by the American Heart Association: Approximately 82 million people in this country suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease, causing about 2,200 deaths a day, averaging one death every 39 seconds. Almos...
Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid Artery Disease What is carotid artery disease? Carotid artery disease, also called carotid artery stenosis, occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the brain, become narrowed. The narrowing of the carotid arteries is most commonly related to atherosclerosis (a build-up of plaque, which is a deposit of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin in the inner lining of an artery). Atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the ...
Cerebral Aneurysm
Cerebral Aneurysm What is a cerebral aneurysm? Click Image to Enlarge A cerebral aneurysm (also called an intracranial aneurysm or brain aneurysm) is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of an artery in the brain, resulting in an abnormal widening, ballooning, or bleb. Because there is a weakened spot in the aneurysm wall, there is a risk for rupture (bursting) of the aneurysm. A cerebral aneurysm more frequently occurs in an artery located in the front part of the brain that supplies oxygen-rich blood ...
Cholesterol in the Blood
Cholesterol in the Blood Facts about cholesterol Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance that can be found in all parts of your body. It aids in the production of cell membranes, many hormones, and vitamin D. The cholesterol in your blood comes from two sources: the foods you eat and your liver. However, your liver makes all of the cholesterol your body needs. Cholesterol and other fats are transported in your blood stream in the form of spherical particles called lipoproteins. The two most commonly k...
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic Venous Insufficiency What is chronic venous insufficiency? Click Image to Enlarge Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the leg veins do not allow blood to travel back to the heart. (Arteries carry blood away from the heart, while veins carry blood to the heart). Problems with valves in the veins can cause the blood to flow both directions, not just toward the heart. These valves that are not working properly can cause blood in the legs to pool. If chronic venous insufficiency is left untreat...
Claudication
Claudication What is claudication? Claudication refers to limping because of pain in the thigh, calf, and/or buttocks that occurs when walking. Claudication may be a symptom of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD is caused by a narrowing or blockage of arteries in the legs and/or aorta (the largest artery in the body and the primary blood vessel leading from the heart to the body), which may cause decreased blood flow to the muscles of the calf, thigh, or buttocks. This decreased blood flow may cause...
Components of Food
Components of Food If you are trying to make heart-healthy changes to your lifestyle and diet, it is helpful to know some basics about nutrition, starting with the components of food. Facts about calories: You need enough calories to maintain your energy level, but no more than you can burn off. This is called an energy balance. If you take in more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you take in fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. If you balance the two, you maintain your weight. Even...
Congenital Heart Defects
Congenital Heart Defects What is a congenital heart defect? When the heart or blood vessels near the heart do not develop normally before birth, a condition called congenital heart defect occurs (congenital means "inborn" or "existing at birth"). Congenital heart defects occur in about eight of every 1,000 infants. More than 1,000,000 adults in the U.S. have congenital heart disease. Many young people with congenital heart defects are living into adulthood now. In most cases, the cause is unknown. Somet...
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary Heart Disease Click Image to Enlarge What are the coronary arteries? Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. Like all other tissues in the body, the heart muscle needs oxygen-rich blood to function, and oxygen-depleted blood must be carried away. The coronary arteries consist of two main arteries: the right and left coronary arteries. The left coronary artery system branches into the circumflex artery and the left anterior descending artery. What are the different coronary arteries?...
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) / Thrombophlebitis
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) / Thrombophlebitis What is deep vein thrombosis? Click Image to Enlarge Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot develops in a vein deep in the body. Deep veins are found within groups of muscles. The veins close to the skin are called superficial veins. While these clots most often develop in the lower legs or thighs, they may appear in the upper body, such as the arms or other locations in the body. Deep vein thrombosis is a risk after any major surgery, but patie...
Designing an Exercise Program
Designing an Exercise Program How to design an exercise program Exercise is essential to maintaining health and can also improve your overall sense of well-being. Even low-to-moderate intensity activities for as little as 30 minutes a day can be beneficial. These activities may include: Pleasure walking Climbing stairs Gardening Yard work Moderate-to-heavy housework Dancing Home exercise However, more vigorous aerobic activities, done three or four times a week for 30 to 60 minutes, are best for improvi...
Determining Your Body Mass Index
Determining Your Body Mass Index What is body mass index? Determining how much you should weigh is not a simple matter of looking at an insurance height-weight chart, but includes considering the amount of bone, muscle, and fat in your body's composition. The amount of fat is the critical measurement. A good indicator of how much fat you carry is the Body Mass Index (BMI). Although it is not a perfect measure, it gives a fairly accurate assessment of how much of your body is composed of fat. Calculate y...
Diet and Cardiovascular Disease
Diet and Cardiovascular Disease Following a healthy diet plan The food guide, called Choose My Plate, offers recommendations to help you eat a healthy diet. My Plate can help you eat a variety of foods while encouraging the right amount of calories and fat. The USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have launched a new website at ChooseMyPlate.gov to assist you in selecting healthy foods. My Plate is divided into five food group categories, emphasizing nutritional intake of the follow...
Effects of Stroke (Brain Attack)
Effects of Stroke (Brain Attack) What are the effects of stroke? The effects of stroke (brain attack) vary from person to person based on the type, severity, and location of the stroke. The brain is extremely complex and each area of the brain is responsible for a special function or ability. When an area of the brain is damaged, which typically occurs with a stroke, an impairment may result. An impairment is the loss of normal function of part of the body. Sometimes, an impairment may result in a disab...
Evaluation Procedures for Stroke
Evaluation Procedures for Stroke How is stroke diagnosed? In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for stroke may include the following. Imaging tests of the brain: Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bo...
Exercise: Before Starting an Exercise Program
Exercise: Before Starting an Exercise Program Starting a daily exercise program It is always important to consult your physician before starting an exercise program. This is particularly true if any of the following apply to your current health status: Chest pain or pain in the neck and/or arm Shortness of breath A diagnosed heart condition Joint and/or bone problems Currently taking cardiac and/or blood pressure medications Have not previously been physically active Dizziness Obesity When beginning an ...
Frequently Asked Questions About Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
Frequently Asked Questions About Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) Do cellular phones interfere with pacemakers or ICDs? The American Heart Association states that cellphones available in the United States (less than 3 watts) do not appear to interfere with or damage pulse generators in pacemakers; this issue continues to be studied, however. Generally, it's best to avoid keeping your cell phone in your breast pocket on the side of the device, and it's probably better to use ...
Gastric Stapling (Restrictive) Surgery
Gastric Stapling (Restrictive) Surgery (Gastric Banding Surgery, Adjustable Gastric Banding, Vertical Banded Gastroplasty) What is gastric stapling (restrictive) surgery? Gastric stapling (restrictive) surgery is a type of bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) procedure performed to limit the amount of food a person can eat. Bariatric surgery is the only option today that effectively treats morbid obesity in people for whom more conservative measures, such as diet, exercise, and medication have failed...
Heart Failure
Heart Failure What is heart failure? Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs. The heart keeps pumping, but not as efficiently as a healthy heart. Usually, the heart's diminished capacity to pump reflects a progressive, underlying condition. Nearly 5 million Americans are living with heart failure, and 400,000 to 700,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. What causes heart failu...
Heart Murmurs
Heart Murmurs What causes a heart murmur? Heart murmurs may be caused by a number of factors or diseases, including: Defective heart valves Holes in the walls of the heart (atrial septal defect or ventricular septal defect) Pregnancy (increased blood volume) Fever Anemia (a decrease in the red cells in the blood) What are the different types of murmurs? All murmurs are analyzed for pitch, loudness, and duration. They are also graded according to their intensity (on a scale of one to six, with one being ...
Heart Valve Diseases
Heart Valve Diseases Click Image to Enlarge What are heart valves? The heart consists of four chambers -- two atria (upper chambers) and two ventricles (lower chambers). There is a valve through which blood passes before leaving each chamber of the heart. The valves prevent the backward flow of blood. They act as one-way inlets of blood on one side of a ventricle and one-way outlets of blood on the other side of a ventricle. The four heart valves include the following: Tricuspid valve. Located between t...
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. The force is generated with each heartbeat as blood is pumped from the heart into the blood vessels. The size and elasticity of the artery walls also affect blood pressure. Each time the heart beats (contracts and relaxes), pressure is created inside the arteries. The pressure is greatest when blood is pumped out of the heart into the arteries or systole. When the heart rel...
History of Stroke
History of Stroke Hippocrates, the father of medicine, first recognized stroke over 2,400 years ago. At this time stroke was called apoplexy, which means "struck down by violence" in Greek. This was due to the fact that a person developed sudden paralysis and change in well-being. Doctors had little knowledge of the anatomy and function of the brain, the cause of stroke, or how to treat it. It was not until the mid-1600s that Jacob Wepfer found that patients who died with apoplexy had bleeding in the br...
Home Page - Cardiovascular Diseases
Topic Index Basic Anatomy of the Heart Anatomy and Function of the Heart's Electrical System Anatomy and Function of the Coronary Arteries Anatomy and Function of the Heart Valves Statistics Cardiac Diagnostic Tests Vital Signs Cardiac Procedures Cardiac Rehabilitation Cardiac Conditions and Diseases Stroke (Brain Attack) Vascular Conditions and Diseases Preventing Cardiovascular Disease Glossary The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD), as defin...
Living with a Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
Living with a Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) With advances in technology, pacemakers and ICDs generally last five to seven years or longer (depending on usage and the type of device) and, in most cases, allow a person to lead a normal life. In addition, advances in device circuitry and insulation have reduced the interference risk from machinery, such as microwaves, which, in the past, may have altered or otherwise affected these surgically implanted cardiac devices. Even so, ...
Maintaining Weight Loss
Maintaining Weight Loss Benefits of maintaining weight loss While losing weight is difficult for many people, it is even more challenging to keep weight off. Most individuals who lose a large amount of weight regain it two to three years later. One theory about regaining lost weight is that people who decrease their caloric intake to lose weight experience a drop in their metabolic rate, making it increasingly difficult to lose weight over a period of months. A lower metabolic rate may also make it easi...
Medical Management of Vascular Conditions
Medical Management of Vascular Conditions Vascular system overview The blood vascular system, also called the circulatory system, of the body is made up of arteries, veins, and capillaries (tiny blood vessels between arteries and veins that distribute oxygen-rich blood to the body). The heart is responsible for pumping blood through this network of blood vessels throughout the body. Click Image to Enlarge Another vascular system of the body is the lymph system. The lymph vessels carry lymphatic fluid (a...
Medical Treatment for Obesity
Medical Treatment for Obesity Medical treatment overview Treatment by a doctor may be necessary when an individual's own efforts to lose weight have failed and/or when coexisting medical conditions make it crucial for a person to lose weight. Prescription medication may be necessary for those with obesity-related health problems. Many people take over-the-counter supplements in an attempt to lose weight. However, to ensure long-term success, behavioral weight loss measures are an important part of any w...
Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic Syndrome What is metabolic syndrome? Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes the presence of a cluster of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), metabolic syndrome significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke. Most people who have metabolic syndrome have insulin resistance. The body makes insulin to move glucose (sugar) into cells for use as energy. Obesity, commonly found...
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral Valve Prolapse What is mitral valve prolapse (MVP)? Mitral valve prolapse, also known as click-murmur syndrome, Barlow's syndrome, balloon mitral valve, or floppy valve syndrome, is the bulging of one or both of the mitral valve flaps (leaflets) into the left atrium during the contraction of the heart. One or both of the flaps may not close properly, allowing the blood to leak backward (regurgitation). This regurgitation may result in a murmur (abnormal sound in the heart due to turbulent blood f...
Obesity
Obesity Obesity has a far-ranging negative effect on health. People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for developing many different health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and bone and joint disease. Listed in the directory below are some topics related to obesity, for which we have provided a brief overview. Overview of Obesity Treatment of Obesity Obesity Treatment Overview Medical Treatment for Obesity Surgical Treatment for Obesity Gastric Bypass (Malabsorptive) ...
Obesity Treatment Overview
Obesity Treatment Overview Treatment goals Regardless of the type or combination of obesity treatment, goal setting is an important part of any obesity treatment plan. While a person may want to lose a large amount of weight because of societal or fashion reasons, it is important to realize that setting and achieving a goal of reducing weight by as little as 5 to 10 percent of body weight will yield important, positive gains in health. Treatment goals work best if they are individualized. For example, i...
Online Resources - Cardiovascular Diseases
Online Resources - Cardiovascular Diseases This Web was compiled from a variety of sources including the online resources listed below, but is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your health care provider. The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. This pa...
Overview of Obesity
Overview of Obesity Facts about obesity Overweight and obesity together make up a leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Obesity is a chronic disease that can seriously affect your health. Overweight means that you have extra body weight, and obesity means having a high amount of extra body fat. Being overweight or obese raises your risk for health problems, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Public health experts agree that overweight and obesity have reached epidemi...
Overview of Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
Overview of Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) Click Image to Enlarge What is a permanent pacemaker? A permanent pacemaker, a small device that is implanted under the skin (most often in the shoulder area just under the collarbone), sends electrical signals to start or regulate a slow heartbeat. A permanent pacemaker may be used to make the heart beat if the heart's natural pacemaker (the SA node) is not functioning properly and has developed an abnormally slow heart rate or r...
Overview of Stroke
Overview of Stroke Click Image to Enlarge What is stroke? Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted. Disruption in blood flow is caused when either a blood clot or piece of plaque blocks one of the vital blood vessels in the brain (ischemic stroke), or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into surrounding tissues (hemorrhagic stroke). The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients in order to function. Even a brief interruption in bl...
Overview of the Vascular System
Overview of the Vascular System What is the vascular system? The vascular system, also called the circulatory system, is made up of the vessels that carry blood and lymph through the body. The arteries and veins carry blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues and taking away tissue waste matter. The lymph vessels carry lymphatic fluid (a clear, colorless fluid containing water and blood cells). The lymphatic system helps to protect and maintain the fluid environment ...
Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) Living with a pacemaker or ICD requires special instructions and care. Listed in the directory below you will find information related to pacemakers, for which we have provided a brief overview. Overview of Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs ) Living With a Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) Frequently Asked Questions About Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs )
Pericarditis
Pericarditis What is pericarditis? Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac (membrane) that surrounds the heart. There is a small amount of fluid between the inner and outer layers of the pericardium. Often, when the pericardium becomes inflamed, the amount of fluid between its two layers increases, causing a pericardial effusion. If the amount of fluid increases quickly, the effusion caused can impair the ability of the heart to function properly. A complication of pericarditis, wh...
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral Vascular Disease What is peripheral vascular disease (PVD)? Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a slow and progressive circulation disorder. It may involve disease in any of the blood vessels outside of the heart and diseases of the lymph vessels—the arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels. Organs supplied by these vessels such as the brain, heart, and legs, may not receive adequate blood flow for ordinary function. However, the legs and feet are most commonly affected, thus the name periphera...
Preventing Obesity
Preventing Obesity in Children and Teens Facts about prevention Obesity is a chronic disease affecting increasing numbers of children and adolescents as well as adults. Obesity rates among children in the U.S. have doubled since 1980 and have tripled for adolescents. About 17 percent of children aged 2 to 19 are considered overweight compared to over 66 percent of adults who are considered overweight or obese. Earlier onset of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity-related depression in ch...
Pulmonary Embolism
Pulmonary Embolism What is a pulmonary embolism? A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot that develops in a blood vessel elsewhere in the body (most commonly from the leg), travels to an artery in the lung, and forms an occlusion (blockage) of the artery. A blood clot (thrombus) that forms in a blood vessel in one area of the body, breaks off, and travels to another area of the body through the bloodstream is called an embolus. An embolus can lodge itself in a blood vessel, blocking the blood supply t...
Rehabilitation for Stroke
Rehabilitation for Stroke What is rehabilitation? Rehabilitation is the process of helping an individual achieve the highest level of independence and quality of life possible--physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Rehabilitation does not reverse or undo the damage caused by a stroke, but rather helps restore the individual to optimal health, functioning, and well-being. Rehabilitate (from the Latin "habilitas") means "to make able again." The stroke rehabilitation team The stroke rehabili...
Renal Vascular Disease
Renal Vascular Disease What is renal vascular disease? Renal vascular disease is the name given to a variety of complications that affect the arteries and veins of the kidneys. These complications affect the blood circulation of the kidneys, and may cause damage to the tissues of the kidneys, kidney failure, and/or high blood pressure. Vascular conditions affecting the renal arteries and veins include the following: Renal artery stenosis. Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is a blockage of an artery to the kid...
Rheumatic Heart Disease
Rheumatic Heart Disease Click Image to Enlarge What is rheumatic heart disease? Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which permanent damage to heart valves is caused by rheumatic fever. The heart valve is damaged by a process that generally begins with an infection caused by streptococcus bacteria. In some cases, strep throat or scarlet fever can eventually progress to rheumatic fever. The effects of rheumatic fever: Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease, can affect many connective tissues, espe...
Risks of Physical Inactivity
Risks of Physical Inactivity What health risks are associated with physical inactivity? Lack of physical activity has clearly been shown to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and other conditions. Less active, less fit persons have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure. Studies indicate that physically active people are less likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who are inactive--even after the researchers accounted for smoking, alcohol use, and diet. Lack of physical a...
Signs and Symptoms of Stroke
Signs and Symptoms of Stroke What are the most common symptoms of stroke? The following are the most common symptoms of stroke. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. If any of these symptoms are present, call 911 (or your local ambulance service) immediately. Treatment is most effective when started immediately. Symptoms may be sudden and include: Weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body Confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding Pr...
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease According to the American Heart Association (AHA), diseases caused by smoking kill more than 440,000 people in the United States each year; of that number, more than 135,000 deaths are cardiovascular related. Even with antismoking campaigns and medical disclaimers in place, many people continue to smoke or start smoking every year. According to the American Cancer Society, 90 percent of new smokers are children and teenagers, in many cases, replacing the smokers who qu...
Statistics of Stroke
Statistics of Stroke More about stroke or brain attack The American Stroke Association (ASA), a division of the American Heart Association, reports the following statistics regarding strokes: Stroke is the fourth largest cause of death, ranking behind diseases of the heart, all forms of cancer, and lower respiratory disease. Almost every 40 seconds in the United States, a person experiences a stroke. Over four million U.S. adults live today with the effects of a stroke. ASA estimates strokes cost the U....
Stroke (Brain Attack)
Stroke (Brain Attack) Stroke is a serious condition that requires clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below you will find some additional information regarding stroke, for which we have provided a brief overview. History of Stroke Overview of Stroke Signs and Symptoms of Stroke Risk Factors for Stroke Statistics of Stroke Types of Stroke Effects of Stroke Evaluation Procedures for Stroke Treatment for Stroke Rehabilitation for Stroke
Surgical Treatment for Obesity
Surgical Treatment for Obesity Weight-loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, is the only option today that may effectively treat morbid obesity in people for whom more conservative measures such as diet, exercise, and medication have failed. A variety of approaches to bariatric surgery is available, but all procedures are either malabsorptive, restrictive, or a combination of the two. Malabsorptive procedures change the way the digestive system works. Restrictive procedures are those that severely...
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Dissection
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Dissection What is a thoracic aortic aneurysm? Location of Aortas and Arteries in the Body (Click to Enlarge) A thoracic aortic aneurysm, also called TAA, is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta (the largest artery in the body), resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning greater than 50 percent of the vessel's normal diameter (width). The aorta extends upward from the top of the left ventricle of the heart in the chest area (ascending thoracic aorta)...
Topic Index - Cardiovascular Diseases
Topic Index - Cardiovascular Diseases Cardiovascular Diseases Home Basic Anatomy of the Heart Anatomy and Function of the Heart's Electrical System Anatomy and Function of the Coronary Arteries Anatomy and Function of the Heart Valves Statistics Cardiac Diagnostic Tests Cardiac Catheterization Echocardiography (echo) Electrocardiogram (EKG) / Stress Test / Holter Monitor Vital Signs Cardiac Procedures Cardiac Rehabilitation Cardiac Conditions and Diseases Angina Pectoris Arrhythmias Pacemakers and Impla...
Treatment for Stroke
Treatment for Stroke Medical treatment for stroke Specific treatment for stroke will be determined by your doctor based on: Your age, overall health, and medical history Severity of the stroke Location of the stroke Cause of the stroke Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies Type of stroke Your opinion or preference Although there is no cure for stroke, advanced medical and surgical treatments are now available, giving many stroke victims hope for optimal recovery. Emergency tr...
Treatment of Obesity
Treatment of Obesity Because obesity is a serious, chronic disease that can inflict substantial harm to a person's health, treatment is very important. A variety of methods are used to treat obesity. Incorporating multiple methods, such as making diet changes as well as adding exercise, may be beneficial. Obesity Treatment Overview Medical Treatment for Obesity Surgical Treatment for Obesity Gastric Bypass (Malabsorptive) Surgery Gastric Stapling (Restrictive) Surgery
Types of Stroke
Types of Stroke What are the different types of stroke? According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), strokes can be classified into two main categories: 87 percent are ischemic strokes. These are strokes caused by blockage of an artery. 13 percent are hemorrhagic strokes. These are strokes caused by bleeding. What is an ischemic stroke? An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies the brain becomes blocked or "clogged" and impairs blood flow to part of the brain. The brain cells an...
Varicose Veins
Varicose Veins What are varicose veins? Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are visible through the skin and may appear as blue or purple twisted, knot-like cords. Varicose veins can occur anywhere in the body, but are more commonly found on the legs. Hemorrhoids, a type of varicose vein, can appear during pregnancy around the anus or in the vagina. What are spider veins? Spider veins, a milder type of varicose veins, are smaller than varicose veins and often look like a sunburst or "spider web." The...
Vascular Conditions and Diseases
Vascular Conditions and Diseases There are many vascular conditions that require clinical care by a physician or other health care professional. Listed in the directory below are some of these conditions, for which we have provided a brief overview. Overview of the Vascular System Medical Management of Vascular Conditions Aneurysm Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Cerebral Aneurysm Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Carotid Artery Disease Chronic Venous Insufficiency Claudication Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) / Thrombophleb...
Vital Signs (Body Temperature, Pulse Rate, Respiration Rate, Blood Pressure)
Vital Signs (Body Temperature, Pulse Rate, Respiration Rate, Blood Pressure) What are vital signs? Vital signs are measurements of the body's most basic functions. The four main vital signs routinely monitored by medical professionals and health care providers include the following: Body temperature Pulse rate Respiration rate (rate of breathing) Blood pressure (Blood pressure is not considered a vital sign, but is often measured along with the vital signs.) Vital signs are useful in detecting or monito...