Commonly asked questions about heart disease:
- What is heart disease?
- Heart disease treatment options
- Heart disease organizations
- International heart disease organizations
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease refers to any condition that involves narrowed of blocked blood vessels.
Narrow blood vessels can lead to heart attack, chest pain or stroke. Anything that effects your heart’s muscle, rhythm or valves are all considered forms of heart disease. “Heart disease” is often used interchangeably with “cardiovascular disease.”
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.
Heart Disease Treatment Options
There are different kinds of heart disease that require varying treatment options, depending on the severity of the disease.
With less severe forms of heart disease, simple lifestyle improvements, or medication, may be used to treat the disease. However, with severe or life threatening cases, a medical procedure or surgery may be needed.
The CDC Foundation states that nearly 800,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases — accounting for one in every three deaths. Annually, approximately one in every six U.S. dollars that is spent on healthcare is spent on treating cardiovascular disease. It is predicted that by 2030, annual medical costs associated with cardiovascular diseases will rise to more than $818 billion.
Barbara Bowman, director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention stated that “about 1 in 3 adults — or approximately 86 million people — have at least one type of cardiovascular disease, which means many more Americans could die from what is often preventable through lifestyle changes or managing medical conditions.”
When choosing what treatment option will be pursued to combat heart disease, an individual should consult with their doctor who will decide what is in the best interest of the patient. It is not uncommon for any of the following treatment methods to be used in the treatment or prevention of heart disease:
For the least severe forms of heart disease, oftentimes a few simple changes in your lifestyle is enough to fix the problem. Some of the easy changes that can be made to combat or prevent heart disease are eating a low-fat and low-sodium diet, exercising for 30 minute each a day for 4-5 days a week, limiting alcohol intake and not smoking.
In some cases, lifestyle changes may not be enough to combat heart disease. Your doctor may need to prescribe medication based on the severity of the particular disease. A list of medications used to treat heart disease may include the following.
|ACE Inhibitors||Used to widen arteries to lower your blood pressure and make it easier for your heart to pump blood.|
|Aldosterone inhibitors||Used to help ease the swelling and water buildup that heart disease may case. Help your kidneys send unneeded water as salt from your blood and tissues into your urine to be released.|
|Angiotensin II receptor blockers||Used to lower blood pressure for people with heart failure. Can help to keep your blood vessels as wide as possible so blood can flow through your body easier.|
|Beta-blockers||Used to block the effects of adrenaline, as well as drop production of harmful substances your body makes in response to heart failure. They cause your heart to beat slower and with less force, which — in turn — lowers blood pressure.|
|Calcium Channel Blockers||Used to treat chest pain, relax blood vessels and increase blood and oxygen to your heart. These are only used when other blood pressure medications prove ineffective.|
|Digoxin||Used to help an injured or weakened heart send blood throughout the body and work more efficiently. It strengthens the force of the heart muscle’s contractions and may improve blood circulation.|
|Diuretics||Helps kidneys get rid of unneeded salt and water which make it easier for your heart to pump blood.|
|Inotropic therapy||Helps make an injured or weakened heart pump harder to send blood through the body. It helps strengthen the heart and also relaxes constricted blood vessels so blood can flow more smoothly.|
|Potassium or Magnesium||They are given in an attempt to help keep your electrolyte levels normal.|
|Vasodilators||Used to relax blood vessels, so blood can flow more easily through your body. You will be given these if you are unable to take ACE inhibitors.|
|Warfarin||Used to help prevent clots from forming in your blood. You will receive this if your body is currently forming blood clots, or if you have a condition that helps create them.|
Medical procedures or surgery
If medication is not enough to fix the disease, your doctor will recommenced a specific medical procedure or surgery. The type of procedure preformed will depend on the type of heart disease that is present and will take into consideration the extent of damage your heart has already sustained.
Heart Disease Organizations
The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. The organization includes 22.5 million volunteers and supporters. They fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide critical tools and information to save and improve lives. Their nationwide organization includes 156 local offices and more than 3,000 employees.
The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) is recognized as the international leader in education, advocacy and quality in cardiovascular imaging, with more than 4,500 members worldwide. ASNC’s members represent many of the top experts in the field which allows ASNC to serve as a leader.
Atrial Fibrillation Association (AFA), a non-profit organization, focused on providing information and support materials for patients and medical professionals in order to raise awareness for Atrial Fibrillation (AF). The AFA’s three main goals are to provide support and information on AF to those affected by the condition, and to advance the education of the medical profession and the general public on the subject of AF and to promote research into the management of AF.
The goal of the Children’s Heart Foundation is to fund the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of congenital heart defects in children. Heart defects are among the most common birth defects and congenital birth defects are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. Children’s Heart Foundation holds different events every year to help raise money for research.
The congenital Heart Surgeon’s society is a professional membership organization of heart surgeons who specialize in treating congenital heart defects. Their mission is to help recruit new people interested in learning about the science of congenital heart studies as well as organize events to help raise money for the continued research into new techniques and cures for these diseases.
- Phone: (978) 927-8330
- Fax: (978) 524-0498
Heart Rhythm Society is an international non-profit organization that specializes in promoting education and advocacy for cardiac arythmia patients and professionals. The Heart Rhythm Society’s mission is to “improve the care of patients by advancing the research, education and optimal health care policies and standards.”
Mended Hearts provides a variety of programs to those effected, their families and caregivers. They have the largest peer-to-peer support network in the world, and has been in operation for more than 65 years. Mended Hearts offers a program, Mended Little Hearts, for children effected with a heart condition. Mended Hearts’ mission is “inspiring hope and improving the quality of life for heart patients and their families through ongoing peer-to-peer support.”
PHA is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to fund its various programs, including the United State’s largest Pulmonary Hypertension patient and caregiver support group network. They also have PH education programs, specialty care resources and research in an effort to find ways to prevent and cure PH. They are considered to be the largest and oldest PH organization in the world.
The Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance’s goal is to improve cardiovascular health by advancing the field of CMR. Since its creation, CMR has published more than 30 professional guidelines and expert consensus statements that help to standardize and guide education, patient management and research.
Created in 2002, Surgeons of Hope is a nonprofit organization, based in New York City. Their goal is to provide every infant and child that has a damaged heart an equal opportunity to receive life-saving surgery. Surgeons of Hope seeks to live up to their motto: “It’s not what we bring. It’s what we leave behind.”
The Texas Heart Institute is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1962 by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr.Denton A. Cooley. The organization is dedicated to reducing the toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative and progressive programs in education, research and improved patient care. The Texas Heart Institute is recognized internationally for its research programs in cardiovascular surgery, stem cell/gene therapy, cardiology and regenerative medicine. US News&World Report ranked the Texas Heart Institute No. 4 in the United States for heart care in 2016 — marking the 20th consecutive year the organization has been named one of the top 10 heart centers in the country.
International Heart Disease Organizations
- Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
- British Heart Foundation
- Cardiac Dimensions
- Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Center
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
- University of Ottawa Heart Institute
- Heart Research Institute
- International Society for Heart Research
- Indian Heart Association
- Krishna Heart Institute
- Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta
- Multan Institute of Cardiology
- Punjab Institute of Cardiology
- Philippine Heart Center
- Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences
- Risk in the Young
- Resuscitation Council (UK)
- Tiny Tickers
- United One Heart Foundation
- Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute
- West of Scotland Heart and Lung Centre
- World Congress of Cardiology
- Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology