Heart Disease Resources for Patients

Cardiovascular diseases are the second-most common cause of death among Hispanic/Latino people. Many of these issues are preventable by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol use.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is often used to refer to heart and blood vessel diseases, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis.

They include a variety of problems and conditions such as:

  • Stroke: when blood supply to the brain is interrupted, usually from a blood clot
  • Heart attack: when a blood clot cuts off blood flow to the heart
  • Heart failure: when heart valves do not sufficiently pump blood
  • Arrhythmia: abnormal heart rhythms1

According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is the number 1 cause of death globally. Many of these issues are preventable by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, diet, physical inactivity, and alcohol use.2

Symptoms

Symptoms of heart disease vary by person, condition, and gender. Signs to look out for include:

  • Heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath
  • Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations)
  • Heart failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins3

Diagnosis and Treatment

In the hospital and during the first few weeks at home, the doctor may perform several tests and procedures. These tests help the doctor determine what caused the stroke or heart attack, and how much damage was done. Some tests monitor progress to see if treatment is working.

 

Depending on the condition causing heart disease, treatments may include:

  • Heart Valve Problems: medications, heart valve surgery
  • Arrhythmia: medications, pacemaker
  • Heart Attack: medications — clotbusters, coronary angioplasty, coronary artery bypass graft surgery
  • Stroke: medications — clotbusters , carotid endarterectomy1
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Prevention

A healthy lifestyle can help manage blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, which will lower the risk of heart disease. Some healthy habits to prevent heart disease:

  • Choosing healthy food and drinks
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Not smoking4
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