According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States (when considered separately from other types of cardiovascular disease), accounting for about one out of every 14.5 deaths. Approximately three-fourths of stroke victims are over the age of 65, but a person can have a stroke at any age. Although stroke seems to affect as many men as women, more women die of a stroke than men in all age groups.
High cholesterol is a well-known risk factor in heart disease. This waxy, fat-like substance comes from the diet, but is primarily made by the liver, and is an essential component of cell membranes. The body also uses it to produce hormones and vitamin D.
Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream attached to two different compounds called lipoproteins: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is commonly known as the “bad cholesterol”; it carries cholesterol from the liver throughout the body, making it available and potentially allowing it to be deposited in artery walls. HDL is known as the “good cholesterol”; it picks up cholesterol from the blood and delivers it to cells that use it, or back to the liver to be recycled or eliminated from the body.
What is congestive heart failure?
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a very serious heart condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s circulatory needs. Even though the condition typically worsens over time, it is possible to live with the disease for many years.
What are the symptoms of congestive heart failure?
As a result of congestive heart failure, fluid may collect in the lower legs, causing swelling, or in the lungs, causing shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include:
• Fatigue and weakness, particularly during physical exertion as a result of insufficient oxygen reaching the muscles.
• Swelling in the lower extremities. If the right side of the heart is affected, fluid builds up in the feet, ankles and legs. Left-sided heart insufficiency can cause fluid retention in the lungs, leading to shortness of breath.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a blood clot lodged in one of the coronary arteries. As a result, part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies.
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
The most common symptom is chest pain that feels like a tight band around the chest. The pain can move to the arms, shoulders, neck, teeth, jaw, abdomen or back. It can be severe or mild. In some cases, the pain feels like bad indigestion, but it also may feel as if something heavy is sitting on the chest, like the chest is being squeezed, or like heavy pressure is being applied. Typically, the pain lasts longer than 20 minutes and isn’t relieved by rest or by taking nitroglycerin, a medication which may have been prescribed for angina, a classic symptom of cardiovascular disease that sometimes predicts heart attacks. Heart attack pain may ease and then return. Other symptoms can include anxiety, cough, fainting, lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, palpitations (the heart seems to be beating too fast), shortness of breath and/or heavy sweating.