Organic Heart Disease | What Is Organic Heart Disease
Organic heart disease is not a condition to be taken lightly as it can cause a wide range of problems and, in worst-case scenarios, may even lead to death. Learn all about organic heart disease, its risk factors, and the different ways to treat and prevent it with our guide below.
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Everything You Need to Know About Organic Heart Disease
What Is Organic Heart Disease?
Organic heart disease refers to conditions that alter the heart's structure. It is an old term that changes the heart's muscles, conduction system, valves, and other cardiovascular structures. Some of which are great vessels and conduits to the pulmonary system.
Commonly known as heart or cardiovascular disease, the term organic simply means “naturally-occurring.” These conditions may either be permanent or only transient.
Who Gets Organic Heart Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), organic heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the United States. An estimated 25 percent of all deaths in the country are because of a certain kind of heart disease.
These conditions affect everyone with no bias for race or gender. It is the leading cause of death for Hispanics, white people, and Black people. Almost half of all Americans are actually at risk for one type of heart disease or another.
Organic heart diseases do discriminate against those who do not follow a healthy lifestyle. For most people, heart diseases are preventable by adopting a healthier lifestyle. This will help support a stronger heart.
What Are Some of the Most Common Kinds of Organic Heart Disease?
Organic heart disease is just one aspect of a wide range of cardiovascular problems. Some of these conditions that are considered heart diseases include the following:
- Arrhythmia – a heart rhythm abnormality
- Cardiomyopathy – a condition that makes the muscles of the heart harden or grow weak
- Atherosclerosis – a condition that causes the arteries to harden
- Congenital heart defects – a condition that creates irregularities of the heart during birth
- Coronary artery disease (CAD) – sometimes referred to as ischemic heart disease. This results from plaque buildup in the arteries
- Heart infections – a set of conditions caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses
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What Are the Risk Factors for Organic Heart Disease?
There are a ton of both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease. The CDC estimates that about 47 percent of Americans have at least one of these risk factors. Some of the most common ones include:
- High cholesterol and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL)
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
The last one, smoking, is one example of a controllable risk factor. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducted a study on this. The study says that individuals who smoke double their risk of developing heart disease.
The American Heart Association (AHA) also says that diabetes and high blood pressure increase the risk for heart disease. These conditions may make heart disease two times more likely to happen. This is mainly because having diabetes means having high blood sugar levels. In turn, this increases the risk for conditions such as angina, stroke, heart attack, and CAD.
Meanwhile, examples of uncontrollable risk factors include:
- Family history
A 2015 study published by the AHA shows that age plays a huge factor when it comes to a person's risk for heart disease. The study found that from the ages of 20 to 59, men and women have a similar risk for CAD. After age 60, the percentage of affected men goes up to between 19.9 and 32.2 percent. The percentage of affected women only goes up to between 9.7 to 18.8 percent.
Men are also more prone to heart diseases than men. The study shows that 70 to 89 percent of all cardiac events in the US occur in men.
While these risk factors are not controllable, their effects may still be monitored. Get to know these uncontrollable risk factors better and which ones of them you may have so you know if you are at a higher risk for heart disease.
How Is Organic Heart Disease Diagnosed?
Diagnosing organic heart disease will most likely need several tests and evaluations. Some of them are used for regularly monitoring heart health even without symptoms. Others are used for identifying the causes behind symptoms that may have already developed.
Some of these tests may include:
- Physical exam and blood tests
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Stress test
- Carotid ultrasound
- Holter monitor
- Tilt table test
- CT scan
- Heart MRI
If noninvasive tests come out inconclusive, your physician may consider invasive tests instead. This will allow him to look inside your body and see what may be causing the unusual symptoms. Examples of these invasive tests include:
- Coronary angiography
- Cardiac catheterization
- Electrophysiology study
What Treatments Are Available for Organic Heart Disease?
Treatments for organic heart disease generally fall into three categories. The first and most common one is by making simple lifestyle changes. Otherwise, a doctor might recommend medications or surgery.
Living a healthier lifestyle can help prevent heart disease (or treat it and stop it from getting worse if you already have one). Making changes to your diet is often the first thing that doctors recommend.
Physicians typically advise their patients to have a low-fat and low-sodium diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. This lowers a person's risk for complications that may come from heart disease.
Similarly, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and moderating alcohol consumption are also often prescribed.
Certain types of heart diseases require medications for them to be treated. A physician may prescribe medications for managing or curing heart disease. There are also medicines available that can either stop or slow the risk of complications.
These medications may differ depending on the kind of heart disease you have. Make sure to consult with your doctor before you start taking them.
Surgery or invasive procedures
Often, in worse cases, a doctor may recommend having surgery to treat the condition. This will also prevent it from getting worse.
For example, an artery that is entirely or almost entirely blocked by plaque may be a red flag. It may prompt a doctor to recommend inserting a stent in the artery. This helps return blood flow to normal before it causes a stroke.
Like with medications, the kind of surgery to be performed will depend on the heart disease you have. It will also depend on the extent of the damage it has already done to your heart.
Learn how you can take better care of your heart and prevent organic heart disease with this video courtesy of Dr. Gus:
If left untreated, organic heart disease is a fatal condition. It is the leading cause of death of 25 percent of all Americans. Make sure to follow a stricter, healthier lifestyle so you can reduce your risk of developing these heart diseases.
Do you have other questions about organic heart disease? Please ask them in the comments section below!
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