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What is Heart Disease?

By August 14, 2019Uncategorized

Heart disease is a broad medical term that is used to describe a wide range of different conditions that affect a patient’s heart. Most often, heart disease involves the narrowing or blocking of blood vessels and arteries. Heart disease can lead to very serious medical complications, including a heart attack or a stroke. 

People who are suffering from heart disease need ongoing medical attention and evaluation. Unfortunately, in many cases, cardiovascular disease is not actually diagnosed until a person has already suffered a heart attack. Many people who are dealing with heart issues can benefit from some form of home healthcare services

How Common is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States. According to data provided by the American Heart Association (AMA), approximately 121 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease. To put the scale of the public health problem into the proper perspective, the AMA notes that heart disease is listed as the underlying cause of death for nearly one in three fatalities reported in the United States.

The Symptoms of Heart Disease

One of the many things that make heart disease complicated is that the early warning symptoms can vary widely from person to person. In some cases, early-stage heart disease has light, even barely perceptible symptoms. Though, without proper intervention, heart disease almost always gets worse. For this reason, it is crucial that at-risk patients have a general awareness of the symptoms. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, some of the earliest warning signs of cardiovascular disease are as follows: 

  • Tightness or general discomfort in the upper chest area; 
  • Shortness of breath after even moderate physical activity; 
  • Unexplainable neck or jaw pain; 
  • A heartbeat that is unusually fast, slow, or another irregular heartbeat; 
  • Swelling, warmness, or coldness in the extremities; 
  • Dizziness; and
  • General fatigue. 

It is worth noting that, on average, the symptoms of heart disease present themselves differently in men than they do in women. While there are plenty of exceptions to the general rules, men are more likely to experience chest pain whereas women tend to be more likely to experience other symptoms such as shortness of breath. 

Early Intervention is Critically Important

With heart disease, the importance of early intervention cannot be overstated. As reported on by the Duke Research Clinic Institute, heart attacks can sometimes be prevented when heart disease is discovered. In some cases, early intervention may only involve behavioral changes. In other cases, intervention may involve prescription drugs or even a medical operation. 

The unfortunate reality is that many people who currently have cardiovascular problems have never actually been diagnosed by a medical professional. Far too many people do not receive a diagnosis until they have already suffered a heart attack or a stroke. Tragically, for some, the first heart attack or stroke is a fatal one. 

The bottom line: Patients who are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular or patients who are already experiencing any of the early warning signs of heart disease should get themselves a comprehensive medical evaluation.   

Treatment Options for Heart Disease 

Heart disease is always treated on a case-by-case basis. As this medical condition affects around one-third of the country, it is not surprising that people need different types of interventions. As a general rule, medical professionals will review the severity of the patient’s heart condition and determine the extent to which a drastic medical intervention is necessary.

The lowest level of treatment is lifestyle/behavioral changes. With very early-stage heart disease, a doctor may advise a patient to change their diet and exercise habits. If applicable, they may also advise the patient to cut back or give up high-risk activities such as smoking or drinking alcohol. 

In other cases, more intensive treatment may be required. For example, many people who have mild or moderate cardiovascular disease have prescribed some form of medication, which will help reduce their risks. In most severe cases, medical procedures, potentially even surgery, may be recommended. 

Many patients can benefit from home healthcare services that are focused on heart health. Among other things, these services could include everything from physical therapy to medication management. 

Explore Free Home Health Services for Heart Disease

At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we are proud to offer exceptional home health services at no cost to EEOICPA and RECA beneficiaries. If you or your loved one is suffering from heart disease or any related cardiovascular conditions, we are here to help you explore your options. To get more information, please contact our team today.