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Giant Microbes Heart Disease - Planet Microbe
Giant Microbes Heart Disease - Planet Microbe

Giant Microbes Heart Disease



Heart disease is the number one killer in many parts of the world. Over 500 million people are affected by cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attacks, stroke and other forms. Three out of ten people succumb to these illnesses, surpassing cancer, flu, pneumonia and accidents combined. Despite this, modern medicine has made great strides in improving heart health. In the USA, the death rate from heart disease has decreased from about 600 to under 200 per 100,000 people since 1950. Yet, we still face a higher risk of dying from heart disease compared to a century ago, mainly because other factors used to claim our lives first.

The heart muscle relies on a steady blood flow supplied by the coronary arteries. When this supply is hindered, the muscle is deprived of essential oxygen and nutrients. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when the heart muscle is suddenly cut off from blood flow, leading to tissue death. Symptoms of a heart attack can include severe chest pain, sweating, shortness of breath, and loss of consciousness, but they may differ between men and women. Women often experience abdominal pain and nausea, and may be misdiagnosed with heart problems. The key to treating a heart attack is acting quickly to remove the blockage.

Some other forms of heart disease are atherosclerosis, angina, abnormal heart rhythms, congestive heart failure, heart muscle disorders, and valve disorders. Atherosclerosis is when arteries become narrow and stiff, due to cholesterol buildup in the blood. This can cause a heart attack or chest pains (angina) when it happens in the coronary arteries. A heart attack is different from cardiac arrest, where the heart stops pumping due to electrical signaling failure. Though a heart attack can lead to cardiac arrest, it can occur for other reasons as well.

Certain factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, drinking alcohol, obesity, an inactive lifestyle, and genetics, can contribute to heart disease. Surprisingly, even people who are fit and healthy may still experience heart attacks without any apparent risk factors. While leading a virtuous life may decrease the likelihood of heart disease, it's important to note that there are no guarantees. A healthy diet, mindful living, physical activity, and educating oneself about the heart are all crucial in preventing heart disease.