Diseases Diseases

Diseases That Affect The Cardiovascular System

Published at 07/11/2011 19:25:28

Cardiovascular system diseases are the conditions that affect the heart and the blood vessels, which are the main components of the system. These diseases are often linked with a wrong or unhealthy lifestyle. People that are obese are more likely to have these diseases.

According to AHA (American Heart Association) there are 10 major diseases that affects the cardiovascular system:

   Aortic Aneurysm

Aneurysm is the medical term used for localized dilation or bulge of blood vessels, more commonly found to occur in arteries. When such bulging or dilation occurs in the aorta, which is the main artery emerging from the heart, it is called aortic aneurysm. Hemorrhage can occur due to rupture of such bulging, which in turn can result in certain life threatening complications. The factors that are responsible for causing aortic aneurysm can be genetic factors, injury to aortic wall due to aortic dissection, and certain medical conditions like, atherosclerosis, hypertension and obesity.


Angina or angina pectoris is another common cardiovascular system disease, that is characterized by chest pain and discomfort. It is usually triggered by insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscles, mainly due to blockage in the blood vessels that carry blood to the heart. It is often regarded as a symptom of coronary artery disease, and an indicator of an impending heart attack.
Arrhythmia Arrhythmia refers to irregular heartbeat or heart rhythm, where the heart can beat too fast or slow. This is a result of abnormal electrical activity in the heart, which can be caused by several factors including, congenital heart disease, stress or anxiety, hyper and hypothyroidism, hypercalcemia, certain drugs like, diuretics and antidepressant medications, and intake of caffeine, alcohol and smoking. More on types of arrhythmia and cardiac arrhythmia. 


It is known as hardening of the arteries due to formation of plaque, caused by the deposition of fats and cholesterol. Such deposition causes the arteries to loose its elasticity, as the arterial wall thickens. It also makes the arteries narrow, thus impairing the normal blood circulation. Atherosclerosis can give rise to complications like, heart attack over a period of time. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure refers to the inability of the heart to pump sufficient amount of blood required by the body. This in turn, can be caused by coronary artery disease or narrowing of the arteries, high blood pressure, congenital heart defect, cardiomyopathy, and diseases and disorders affecting the heart valves and muscle.


Cardiomyopathy is a disorder of the heart muscles, where they become inflamed. This weakens the heart muscles or myocardium and as a result, they fail to perform their functions normally. Generally, the muscle of the lower heart chambers are affected first by this condition, which then spread to the muscle of the upper chambers. This condition can be attributed to high blood pressure, viral infections, heart attack, thyroid disease, alcohol and drug abuse.  

Coronary Artery Disease

Being one of the most common cardiovascular system diseases, coronary artery disease can be a life threatening condition. It is caused by the formation of plaque, due to deposition of cholesterol, fats and calcium within the wall of the coronary artery. As a result the coronary artery becomes narrow, which inhibit the supply of sufficient oxygen rich blood to the heart. So, it can eventually cause heart attack. Read more on coronary artery disease symptoms. 


Cardiomegaly is the medical term used to refer to an enlarged heart. It can be due to thickening of the heart muscles or the myocardium. Conditions like, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, hypertension, etc. can be associated with the enlargement of the heart. However, it is not such a common condition, and can be regarded as one of the rare cardiovascular system diseases. 

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force that is exerted by the blood against the arterial wall. High blood pressure or hypertension refers to the condition, where the blood pressure remains abnormally high, which means that the circulating blood is pushing too hard against the arterial wall. This condition can significantly raise the risk for developing heart disease and heart attack.  

Myocardial infarction

Myocardial infarction is more commonly known as heart attack. It is caused by an interruption in the supply of blood to the heart due to blockage of the coronary artery. The result is the death of certain heart muscles or cells of the affected part of the heart. Heart attack calls for immediate medical attention, otherwise, it can result in cardiac arrest and eventually death of the affected individual.  

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease affects the blood vessels of the body, excluding those of heart and the brain. The most common peripheral vascular disease is peripheral artery disease, which is caused by the deposition of fats within the wall of the arteries in the arms and legs. This impairs blood circulation to these parts of the body, causing tingling and numbness. More onCirculatory System Problems and DiseasesCauses of Cardiovascular DiseasesHeart Health

Tips and comments:

 So, these are some of the common cardiovascular system diseases and disorders. As has been mentioned already, most of them are lifestyle diseases, caused by the excess consumption of harmful fats, junk foods, and less of fruits and vegetables, lack of physical activities or a sedentary lifestyle, over consumption of alcohol and smoking. Therefore, adopting a healthy lifestyle is the key to lowering the incidence of these life threatening diseases.


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