Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to several types of diseases that affect the heart. Therefore, it is also called “heart disease”. This disease is associated with narrowed or blocked blood vessels, which can further lead to chest pain, heart attack, or stroke. Heart attack and stroke occur when a blood clot forms, which prevents the blood flow to the heart or brain.

There are four main types of CVD: coronary heart disease (heart failure, arrhythmia, heart valve problems); stroke (ischemic – when the blood supplying the brain is stopped, or hemorrhaging – when a blood vessel in the brain bursts out); peripheral artery disease (not proper blood flow to the extremities); and aortic disease (aneurysm or bulged wall of the aorta).



CVD symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease. Furthermore, men experience symptoms (strong chest pain) differently than women (fatigue, nausea, short breath). Other symptoms are:

  • coldness in the extremities
  • cold sweat
  • arrhythmia
  • swelling in the legs
  • gray or blue skin color
  • more difficult or tiring to workout
  • fever, frequent cough



The most common cause of a heart disease is atherosclerosis (plaques in the wall arteries, which makes them thicker, thus inhibiting proper blood flow). Other causes include:

  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • coronary artery disease
  • stress
  • heart defects
  • bacteria, viruses, parasites (for heart infection)
  • smoking, alcohol


Risk factors

CVD risk factors are:

  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Stress
  • Smoking



Cardiovascular disease may cause the following complications:

  • Heart failure when the heart does not pump the blood as it should, but it keeps beating
  • Arrhythmia – the heart does not beat in a proper rhythm; it can beat faster (tachycardia) or slower (bradycardia)
  • Heart valve problems arise when the valves don’t allow proper blood flow (stenosis) or when they don’t close properly (regurgitation)
  • Heart attack – when a blood clot prevents normal blood flow to the heart, damaging or destroying part of the heart muscle
  • Stroke – when not enough blood reaches into the brain
  • Peripheral artery disease – not enough blood flow in the extremities
  • Aneurysm – bulged part of the aorta where it is weakened, which can be life-threatening if it bursts
  • Cardiac arrest – when the heart stops working suddenly



The best prevention is to take care of your diet, engage in physical activities, give up smoking and lower the quantity of alcohol. Keeping normal levels of blood cholesterol, blood pressure is also important. Stress should be reduced and managed as much as possible.