Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: What is Cardiovascular Disease?

Answer: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is not one disease but a number of diseases involving the heart or the circulatory system. Heart disease and stroke are the two most common cardiovascular diseases in adults. It is recognized as the major cause of death for the last 50 years in the United States, with heart disease and stroke ranking as the first and third leading causes of death for much of the century.

Q: What causes CVD?

Answer: Chronic diseases develop over a lifetime as a result of metabolic abnormalities induced by such factors as genetics, age, gender, lifestyle, and environment. Diet is among the many lifestyle factors that influence the development of chronic diseases. Other lifestyle factors that influence disease development include: physical inactivity, overweight, tobacco use, and Alcohol and drug use.

Healthier lifestyles play a big part in decreasing disability and death from stroke and heart attack. Here are the steps to take:

  • Don't Smoke.
  • Improve your eating habits.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Get your cholesterol checked.
  • Get your blood pressure checked.
  • Keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Decrease your stress level.
  • Seek emotional support when it’s needed.
  • Have regular medical checkups.

Q: What are some types of heart disease?

Answer

  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Hypertensive Heart Disease
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Congenital Defects
  • Rheumatic Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease is caused by damage to the arteries within the heart (the coronary arteries). When there is sufficient decrease in blood flow to result in decreased oxygenation of the heart, it is injured and if there is sufficient deprivation, the muscle can die which is what we call a myocardial infarction (MI) or a heart attack.

Hypertensive Heart Disease is caused by untreated high blood pressure.

Congestive Heart Failure is caused by conditions that weaken heart muscles, making them unable to pump enough blood for the body’s needs.

Congenital Defects is caused by heart defects existing at or before birth.

Rheumatic Heart Disease is caused by rheumatic fever. A disease, probably infectious, associated with the presence of hemolytic streptococci in the body.

Stroke Facts

Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the US. Someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; every 4 minutes someone dies. Twenty-eight percent of strokes occur in people under age 65. For those over age 55, the incidence of stroke doubles with each successive decade.

Q: What is a Stroke?

Answer: Stroke is a cardiovascular disease that affects the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain. It's also sometimes called a brain attack. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain bursts or is clogged by a blood clot or some other particle. Because of this rupture or blockage, part of the brain doesn’t get the flow of blood it needs. Deprived of oxygen, nerve cells can’t work either. The devastating effects of stroke are often permanent, because dead brain cells aren’t replaced.

Q: What are types of stroke or cerebrovascular accidents?

Answer:

  • Ischemic stroke
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
  • Other

Cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs), also known as strokes, are potentially fatal events in which oxygen-rich blood flow to the brain is restricted, often because of an obstructing blood clot.

Ischemic Stroke occurs when an artery supplying the brain with blood becomes blocked, suddenly decreasing or stopping blood flow and ultimately causing brain cells to die and some body functions to become impaired. This kind of stroke accounts for approximately 80 percent of all strokes.

Hemorrhagic Stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain breaks or ruptures. Long-term high blood pressure can weaken blood vessels in the brain and eventually cause a hemorrhagic stroke (cerebral hemorrhage).