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What Are cardiovascular Diseases

What Are Cardiovascular Diseases?

Cardiovascular disease – more commonly known as heart disease, stands as a formidable global health challenge affecting millions of people all over the world. With their wide-ranging impact on individuals and families, understanding cardiovascular diseases has become essential to promote heart disease prevention and overall health.

From coronary heart disease to peripheral artery disease and aortic conditions, this blog focuses on providing a comprehensive introduction of these disorders. Whether you’re seeking general knowledge or looking to take proactive steps for yourself – join Manhattan Medical Arts on this journey to explore the intricacies, risk factors, symptoms, and mortality rate of cardiovascular diseases.

Together, we’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding these conditions and empower ourselves with valuable insights to promote heart-healthy living.

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Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular diseases a.k.a CVDs, are a class of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. These conditions involve various problems related to the circulatory system, which can lead to serious health complications and even death if left untreated.

Several risk factors contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, family history, and age.

Managing and preventing heart diseases involve lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, smoking cessation, managing stress, and gaining control over the underlying medical conditions.

On the other hand, medical treatments may include medications, surgical interventions, cardiac rehabilitation programs, and other interventions tailored to the specific condition and its severity.

Heart Disease Symptoms

There is a wide range of heart disease symptoms, and the specific ones may vary depending on the particular health condition.

Listed below are the most common heart disease symptoms:

Chest Pain Or Discomfort

This is one of the most recognizable heart disease symptoms. Chest pain can vary in intensity and may feel like pressure, squeezing, heaviness, or tightness in the chest. It may radiate to the neck, jaw, shoulders, arms, or back. Chest pain is often associated with conditions like angina, heart attacks, or other coronary artery diseases.

Shortness Of Breath

Breathlessness or difficulty breathing, particularly during physical activity or while even lying flat, is among the common signs of heart disease. It may occur in conditions like heart failure, pulmonary edema, or severe coronary artery disease.

Fatigue And Weakness

Feeling unusually tired, weak, or exhausted, even with minimal exertion, is a common heart disease symptom. It can be a result of inadequate blood supply or poor pumping function of the heart.


Sensations of rapid, fluttering, or pounding heartbeats may be felt in the chest. Palpitations can occur due to abnormal heart rhythms i.e. arrhythmias, or other cardiac conditions.

Dizziness And Fainting

Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or fainting (syncope) can occur when the brain doesn’t receive enough blood flow. It may be a sign of arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, or other cardiovascular issues.


Swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, or abdomen (edema) can occur due to fluid retention, often associated with heart failure or other conditions affecting the heart’s pumping ability.

Rapid Weight Gain

Sudden weight gain, unrelated to dietary changes, can be a result of fluid accumulation in the body due to an undetected heart disease.

Nausea And Vomiting

Some individuals with cardiovascular diseases may experience nausea, indigestion, or vomiting, particularly in cases of heart attack or heart failure.

NOTE: Not all individuals who are suffering from heart diseases may experience obvious heart disease symptoms. Certain conditions such as hypertension or atherosclerosis, bring in silent heart disease symptoms and go unnoticed until they get more complicated.

Types of Heart Diseases

The most common types of heart diseases include:

Coronary Heart Disease

A common cardiovascular disease is where fatty deposits narrow down or block the coronary arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart.

It can cause severe chest pain, and shortness of breath, and even lead to heart attacks.

The risk factors for this cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes – while the treatment options are lifestyle changes, medications, and interventions like angioplasty or bypass surgery.


A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, either due to a blockage (ischemic stroke) or bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke). Strokes can cause brain damage and result in various disabilities or even death.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

A condition where atherosclerosis narrows arteries outside the heart, typically in the legs. It leads to leg pain during activity, numbness, slow-healing wounds, and higher infection risk. The risk factors are inclusive of smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol – And treatment involves lifestyle modifications, medications, and, in severe cases, procedures to restore blood flow.

Aortic Disease

Conditions affect the aorta, the body’s largest artery. Aortic aneurysm involves weakened sections bulging outward, while aortic dissection is a tear in the inner lining. Aneurysms may be abdominal or thoracic, often asymptomatic but require monitoring or intervention.

Aortic dissection is a medical emergency causing severe chest or back pain and necessitates immediate surgical treatment. Mostly genetic factors and underlying conditions contribute to both types of aortic disease.

Cardiology Services At Manhattan Medical Arts

Here’s a list of the cardiology services we offer at Manhattan Medical Arts:

Heart Health Screening At Manhattan Medical Arts

Our comprehensive Heart Health Screening includes:

  • Health history review
  • Examination of blood work
  • Studying biometrics
  • Caortid and peripheral pulses are examined with pulse assessment
  • ASCVD risk (Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease) is used to calculate and determine the risk of heart attack for the next 10 years

Who Is At Higher Risk For Heart Diseases?

Several factors contribute to an individual’s risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. While anyone can be affected, certain groups are at a higher risk.

The following are some key factors that can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases:


Advancing age is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The risk increases with age, and most cardiovascular conditions are more common in older adults.


Men generally have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases compared to premenopausal women. However, after menopause, women’s risk catches up due to hormonal changes.

Family history

Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with a history of cardiovascular disease, also increases the risk of developing heart disease. Genetic factors can predispose individuals to certain conditions, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and certain heart rhythm disorders.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure is another significant risk factor that causes or amplifies the existing cardiovascular diseases. When blood pressure is consistently elevated, it puts strain on the arteries and the heart, increasing the likelihood of developing various types of heart diseases.

High cholesterol levels

Elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol, can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.


Tobacco use, including smoking cigarettes or exposure to secondhand smoke, is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Smoking damages blood vessels reduces oxygen supply, increases blood clot formation, and raises the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.


Individuals with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and increase the likelihood of atherosclerosis and other types of heart diseases.

Obesity And Sedentary Lifestyle

Being overweight or obese and leading a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Excess weight puts strain on the heart, raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and promotes the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.

Unhealthy Diet

Diets that are high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium, and added sugars – while low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, are said to aid the development of cardiovascular diseases.


Chronic stress and inadequate stress management techniques are also a contributing factor for cardiovascular diseases. As stress can lead to behaviors like overeating, smoking, and physical inactivity, which consequently leads to cardiovascular diseases.

Mortality Rate of Heart Diseases

Heart disease in the United States

  • 697,000 deaths are reported in the United States every year, that are due to heart diseases
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing approximately 382,820 people annually
  • 805,000 Americans suffer a heart attack every single year.
    (605,000 of these people are those who are experiencing a heart attack for the first time, while 200,000 of them had already suffered one)
  • To learn more about heart disease and its impact in the United States.

Cardiovascular Disease in New York State

  • Cardiovascular Diseases accounted for 32% of all deaths statewide in 2020 (BRFSS 2022)
  • An estimated 7.3% of adults in New York State reported they have had a heart attack, angina/coronary heart disease, or stroke
  • An estimated 18.9% of New Yorkers aged 65 and older reported having some type of CVD

This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

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Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 05/15/2023

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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