The causes of heart disease are a challenge to understand sometimes, simply because of the way that the heart works and operates. The heart is a pump, a muscle, and works tirelessly to move blood around the body and to keep it self-sustaining.
When the heart beats, it first contracts and then it relaxes. A contraction is called a systole and a relaxed episode is called a diastole. During the period of systole, the ventricles in the heart contracts and forces blood into the vessels that lead into your lungs and body. The right ventricle will then contract just before the left ventricle does and then will relax during diastole. They are then filled with blood that comes from the upper chambers, the left and right atria. After this, the cycle then starts over again, and continues on constantly.
It takes a significant amount of work to keep the heart pumping which is why there is so much labor on the heart when there is presence of heart disease. The constant exchange of oxygen-rich blood with oxygen-poor blood is what keeps the body alive. A misfire from one of the key chambers in the heart can cause problems and heart diseases.
Types and Causes
Cardiovascular disease can often refer to many different types of heart or blood vessel problems. Most often, the term is used to denote damage that is caused to your heart or blood vessels by atherosclerosis, or a buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries.
Healthy arteries are flexible and strong, but plaque can cause a buildup that is very damaging over time. Too much pressure in the arteries will make the artery walls thick and stiff and restrict blood flow to vital organs and tissues. This process is called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries and is the most common form of heart disease disorder.
Other causes of heart disease include abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmia and the conditions that can lead to it include:
- Congenital heart defects
- High blood pressure
- Smoking, excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
- Drug abuse
- Prescription drugs, including over-the-counter medications, diet and herbal supplements
In a heart where this disease condition is prevalent, the hearts electrical impulses do not properly start or travel throughout the heart. This inconsistency makes arrhythmia more likely to develop.
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