The heart continuously pumps blood through our arteries and veins, supplying oxygen to vital organs and the brain. Sometimes, the heart is unable to maintain this level of effort. There may be many causes for this. Triggers include disorders of the cardiovascular system, arterial constriction and congenital heart defects. However, an unhealthy lifestyle can also lead to severe problems.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure means that there is too much pressure on the artery walls. This damages the arteries and puts strain on vital organs. The result can be a heart attack, stroke or angina. Risk factors for developing high blood pressure include unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise and stress.
Coronary heart disease
Problems such as angina, a heart attack or heart failure can be caused by the arteries around the heart (coronary arteries) becoming restricted or blocked. Fatty deposits, hardening and calcification can clog the coronary arteries, limiting blood flow to the heart.
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Cardiac insufficiency is commonly referred to as having a weak heart, whereby the heart is unable to pump enough blood around the body. Symptoms include rapid fatiguing and breathlessness. A weak heart is almost always caused by a cardiovascular problem, usually a heart attack or high blood pressure. Other potential causes include congenital heart defects and heart valve problems.
Atherosclerosis is a disease linked to a deterioration of the arteries caused by fatty deposits, hardening, calcium or inflammation. Deposits of plaque form on the arterial walls, causing the blood vessel to narrow or become blocked. Atherosclerosis can develop over years or even decades, without visible symptoms. The condition only becomes apparent when it reaches an advanced stage, in the form of angina (chest pains), a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or circulation problems in the legs.
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