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More about: Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to any disease of the heart and blood vessels. The most common ones are diseases of the heart muscle, strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and heart disease caused by high blood pressure.

Heart attack

A heart attack is also known as a myocardial infarction (MI). When the diseased roughened arteries of the heart become too narrow or a clot forms, blood flow to the heart muscle is restricted. The heart muscle is left without oxygen, causing death of segment of the muscle and leaving the heart unable to pump sufficient blood to the rest of the body. This is characterised by a sudden severe chest pain that may spread down one or both arms and to the neck.

Heart failure

Heart failure is caused by the inability of the heart to pump blood efficiently around the body. This occurs because of damage to the heart muscle as a result of various diseases. The circulation becomes slow causing excess fluid to be retained in the body.

Stroke

A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), occurs when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This could either happen when a blood vessel to the brain ruptures, causing bleeding, or becomes blocked by a blood clot. The affected brain cells then start to die because of a lack of oxygen and other nutrients. The severity of a stroke varies from a passing weakness or tingling in a limb to a profound paralysis, coma or death.

Reference:

  1. http://www.heartfoundation.co.za/docs/heartmonth/HeartDiseaseinSA.pdf