Now that we’ve learned about the parts and functions of the circulatory system, let’s take a look at the system as a whole. This video takes us on a trip around the body—we follow the circulatory and respiratory systems as they deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from cells, and help make it possible for our bodies to function.
Heart disease is among the top ten causes of death in the United States. The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack. Other kinds of heart disease may involve the valves in the heart, or the heart may not pump well and cause heart failure. Some people are born with heart disease.
Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. It occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in your arteries. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time, reducing blood flow to the heart. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, and not getting enough exercise all increase your risk for having heart disease.
Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes also can increase your risk for heart disease. Ask your doctor about preventing or treating these medical conditions.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease. For many people, chest discomfort or a heart attack is the first sign. Someone having a heart attack may experience several symptoms, including:
- Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few minutes
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
- Weakness, light-headedness, nausea, or a cold sweat
- Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
Can it be prevented?
You can take several steps to reduce your risk for heart disease:
- Don’t smoke.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
If you have heart disease, lifestyle changes, like those just listed, can help lower your risk for complications. Your doctor also may prescribe medication to treat the disease. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to reduce your heart disease risk.
It is tempting to view different topics as completely separate, but in fact the ideas we cover in this course are often connected to one another. If you don’t retain the vocabulary from module to module, those connections can be missed. As you continue on, remember to come back and review the terms you’ve learned in order to increase your depth of knowledge.