When one thinks about the world's leading cause of death, one’s mind usually goes to some of the most dangerous diseases that we know of, such as cancer and HIV, but what about heart disease?
Heart diseases, or complications, are the major cause of death in the United States. For many ethnicities, like Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, and American Indians, it comes second only to cancer-related deaths.
Every year, an average of 610,000 people die from heart diseases. What this means is that one out of every four people may die as a result of a heart disease.
It has been estimated that around 735,000 Americans have a heart attack yearly, and only about 525,000 are first-timers. It is also reported that high-blood pressure was the primary trigger for more then 410,000 Americans in 2014 alone.
This affliction is a serious concern for both men and women, although, in the year 2009, over half of those who passed away due to heart diseases were male.
What happened to James Green?
James Green wanted to build a big family with his wife, Cloe. He was energetic and seemingly physically well-built. He had a remote job, that is, he worked from the house, so as to have time to spend with his family while providing.
Their fifth child was born with cerebral palsy and would have been their last if things had gone as planned. After the birth, Cloe got an implant to prevent further pregnancies, but it failed and they went on to have 3 more kids, making 8.
At that number, they finally had the big family they wanted and knew it was time to stop. Everything was good until the day Cloe woke up to find her husband lifeless. She was only 27.
He passed away in 2015, only 12 weeks after the birth of their 8th child. It came as a massive shock. The man, who seemed healthy enough, had gone to bed as well as one could guess.
Then around 4.30, according to Cloe, he suddenly woke up and began acting in a strange manner. He went into a fit following that, and before long, James was dead.
According to the coroner's report, the young man had a condition related to high-blood pressure, known as hypertensive heart disease. Naturally, Cloe and their kids were devastated.
Determined not to let her suffer unaided, however, the community was able to band together and raise more than $10,000 for her and the kids.
What is hypertensive heart disease?
This form of heart disease is a result of suffereing from high-blood pressure over a long period of time.
This disease causes the most cases of illness and death, as far as high-blood pressure is concerned.
Different ways in which this heart condition manifests
- Narrowing of arteries: When this happens due to high-blood pressure, blood flow to the heart can either slow or stop. This is referred to as Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
- Thickening & enlargement of the heart: Another consequence of high-blood pressure, this condition makes it hard for the heart to pump blood. It is known as Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH)
Note that Coronary Heart Disease can cause Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, and vice versa.
Some other resulting complications include arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat), heart failure, heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, and death.
Who is most at risk?
The main people at risk are those with high-blood pressure, but the risk increases if:
- You are overweight;
- You smoke;
- You don't exercise often;
- You regularly eat food with high cholesterol content and fat;
- The condition runs in your family.
What symptoms should I watch out for?
People suffering from this disease may experience symptoms such as angina (chest pain), shortness of breath, a pressure in the chest, tiredness, persistent cough, body pains, loss of appetite, and swelling in the leg or ankle.
How is it treated?
There are a variety of ways by which treatment for hypertensive heart disease is provided.
- Medication: This includes nitrates and water pills, among others.
- Surgeries and devices: The devices include pacemakers and cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
How can I prevent it?
The most important thing to do to prevent hypertensive heart disease is to ensure that your blood-pressure and your cholesterol level don't get too high.
Adequate exercise and sleep, while maintaining a healthy weight and eating healthily, are common prevention methods.
We must do well to keep ourselves healthy and not fall victim to heart diseases. Remember: health is wealth!