Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

What is Cardiovascular Disease?

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Cardiovascular disease is a disease of the heart and diseases of the blood vessel system within a person's entire body such as the brain, legs, and lungs. In the name Cardiovascular, "Cardio" refers to the heart and "Vascular" refers to the blood vessel system. Cardiovascular Disease causes dysfunctional conditions of the heart, arteries, and veins that supply oxygen to vital life-sustaining areas of the body like the brain, the heart, and other organs. Oxygen has to carry to tissues and organs in order for a person to maintaining life.

Cardiovascular disease includes all forms of Coronary heart disease, but the two most common form are heart attack and heart failure. They both may seem like the same thing but heart attack and heart failure are different.

Heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle is interrupted either by blockage, obstruction from blood clot, or a sudden constriction or spasm. Our blood vessels can not be cut off for a long time or muscle cells in the heart may die, leading to various degrees of disability and even death.

Heart failure is the other most common Coronary artery disease evolving from Cardiovascular disease. Heart failure is when the heart has to ability to pump efficiently. The heart muscle may be damaged or overworked by a number of causes such as high blood pressure, heart attack, arteriosclerosis, etc. The blood that flows out the heart slows down and the blood returning to the heart back up. This causes symptoms like edema or shortness of breath. The only treatable way for this is heart transplant.



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This site was created by Marco Galaz in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2005.