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What is Cardiovascular
Disease?
• Cardiovascular disease – a general term for all
diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
• This type of disease develops slowly over many
years. Many people are diagnosed with CVD
before they reach the average retirement age.
• One out of four Americans develops a type of
this disease in their life time.
• CVD can attack the three type of blood vessels
in your body. It can attack arteries, capillaries,
and veins. It Is most noticeable when it is
attacking the arteries.
The Cardiovascular System
• Heart Chambers: The heart is the center of the
cardiovascular system. It has four hollow chambers that
collect blood and pump it back out into the body. Two
chambers (the atria) are used for receiving blood and the
other two (the ventricles) are used for pumping it back out
into the body.
• Coronary Arteries: The heart relies on the coronary arteries
to supply it with the blood it needs to function. These
arteries lead into capillaries that branch around the outside
of the heart’s outer surface and give the heart oxygen.
• The Heart’s Valves: The heart has a two-step rhythm when it
beats. The first sound is made by the atria contracting and
the second sound is made by the ventricles contracting to
send the blood back into the body. Changes in the regular
heart beat is usually called a heart murmur. This usually
means that the heart needs medical attention.
• Heart Disease: A disease of the cardiovascular system affects
most of the body tissues because the blood flow or quality is
irregular. If the disease attacks any part of the heart or the
heart muscles, it is referred to as heart disease.
The Dangers of Atherosclerosis
•
The most common Cardiovascular Disease form is Atherosclerosis. It is
the hardening of the arteries by layers of fat building up on the walls of
the arteries. These fats grow larger and form plaques which make the
passageways of the arteries smaller and it makes the heart work harder
to get blood to the body. The heart grows weaker because the arteries to
the heart become clogged as well and the nourishment and oxygen
aren’t received. This depletes the heart of its strength.
•
High Blood Pressure is another side effect of Atherosclerosis. The
arteries can no longer expand with every heart beat which causes
pressure to build up as the pulses of blood are forced to squeezed
through the clogged passageways. Hypertension occurs in the arteries
and damages their walls and causes spasms which will restrict blood
flow even more. When enough pressure builds up, the artery walls will
balloon out and this may cause an aneurysm. If an aneurysm bursts,
then this could cause death is tissues if a small artery bursts. If a large
artery bursts, massive bleeding can occur.
•
Blood Clots: Blood clots form and dissolve all the time normally. These
small clots protect the body from blood loss. However, in
Atherosclerosis, platelets (body’s in blood that make clotting occur) run
into plaques more often and clotting occurs more often than it should.
Artery Blockages
• Atherosclerosis causes blockage in arteries in three different
• 1. Plaques in the clogged arteries build up enough to stop
blood flow completely.
• 2.A blood clot forms and a plaque sticks to it. It grows until
it cuts off the blood flow completely (called a thrombus). If
this type of blockage occurs in the arteries to the heart, it is
called coronary thrombosis which is a type of heart attack.
If the artery that is blocked leads to the brain, it is called
cerebral Thrombosis which is a type of stroke.
• 3. A stable clot breaks free from the wall of the artery and is
now called a traveling clot (also called embolus). It circulates
through the arteries until it reaches a pathway too small to
travel through. This blockage is called a embolism.
• Once a person reaches critical phase of Atherosclerosis, then
the person has a very high risk of heart attack
Cardiovascular disease- a general term for all the diseases of the heart and
blood vessels.
Arteries- blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the tissues.
Capillaries- the smallest blood vessels, which connect the smallest arteries
with the smallest veins. Nourishment and fluid normally trapped in thickwalled arteries and veins can easily pass through the delicate walls of the
capillaries.
Veins- blood vessels that carry blood from the tissue back to the heart.
Cardiovascular System- the system of structures that circulate blood and
lymph throughout the body. Also called the circulatory system.
Blood- the thick, red fluid that flows through the body’s blood vessels and
transports gases, nutrients, wastes, and other important substances around
the body. It also plays a role in body temperature regulation.
Chambers- rooms; in the heart, large, hollow areas that receive incoming blood
from the lungs and tissues and ship it out again.
Atria- the two upper chambers of the heart- the receiving areas that pool
incoming blood.
Ventricles- the two lower chambers of the heart- the shipping areas that send
blood on its way to the lungs or the tissues.
Coronary Arteries- the two arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.
Valves- flaps of tissue that open and close to allow the flow of blood in one direction
only. The heart’s valves are located at the entrance and exits of its chambers.
Heart Murmur- a heart sound that reflects damaged or abnormal heart valves.
Electrocardiogram- a record of the electrical activity of the heart that, if abnormal,
may indicate heart disease.
Lymph- the clear fluid that bathes each cell and transfers needed substances and
wastes back and forth between the blood and the cells. Lymph also plays a role in
immunity.
Heart Disease- any disease of the heart muscle or other working parts of the heart.
Atherosclerosis- the most common form of CVD; a disease characterized by plaques
along the inner walls of the arteries.
Plaques- mounds of fat, mixed with minerals, that build up along artery walls in
atherosclerosis.
Aneurysm- the ballooning out of an artery wall at a point where it has grown weak.
Aorta- the largest artery in the body; it conducts freshly oxygenated blood from the
heart to the tissues.
Platelets- Tiny disk-shaped bodies in the blood, important in the blood clot formation
Thrombus- A stationary clot. When it has grown enough to close off a blood vessel, this
dangerous event is a thrombosis.
Coronary Thrombosis- the closing off of a vessel that feeds the heart muscle by a
stationary clot, or thrombus.
Heart Attack- the event in which vessels that feed the heart muscle become blocked,
causing tissue death.
Platelets- Tiny disk-shaped bodies in the blood, important in the blood clot formation
Thrombus- A stationary clot. When it has grown enough to close off a blood vessel, this
dangerous event is a thrombosis.
Coronary Thrombosis- the closing off of a vessel that feeds the heart muscle by a
stationary clot, or thrombus.
Heart Attack- the event in which vessels that feed the heart muscle become blocked,
causing tissue death.
Aneurysm- the ballooning out of an artery wall at a point where it has grown weak.
Aorta- the largest artery in the body; it conducts freshly oxygenated blood from the
heart to the tissues.
Cerebral Thrombosis- the closing off of a vessel that feeds the brain by a stationary
clot, or a thrombosis.
Stroke- the shutting off of the blood flow to the brain by plaques, a clot, or
hemorrhage.
Embolus- a clot that breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream. When it
causes sudden closure of a blood vessel, this dangerous event is an embolism.
Embolism- the sudden closure of a blood vessel by a traveling blood clot, or embolus.
Critical Phase- in atherosclerosis, the stage when plaques cover more than half of the
inner surfaces of the arteries.
Valves- flaps of tissue that open and close to allow the flow of blood in one direction
only. The heart’s valves are located at the entrance and exits of its chambers.
Heart Murmur- a heart sound that reflects damaged or abnormal heart valves.
Electrocardiogram- a record of the electrical activity of the heart that, if abnormal,
may indicate heart disease.
Lymph- the clear fluid that bathes each cell and transfers needed substances and
wastes back and forth between the blood and the cells. Lymph also plays a role in
immunity.
Heart Disease- any disease of the heart muscle or other working parts of the heart.
Atherosclerosis- the most common form of CVD; a disease characterized by plaques
along the inner walls of the arteries.
Plaques- mounds of fat, mixed with minerals, that build up along artery walls in
atherosclerosis.
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