Definition

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders that include:

  • Blood vessel disease (i.e. coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral artery disease);
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias);
  • Damage to the heart and/or vessels (rheumatic heart disease); and
  • Congential heart defects (malformations existing from birth).

Types of Chronic CVDs:

Statistics

Risk Factors

Certain risk factors for cardiovascular disease are controllable, and others are not.

Uncontrollable:

  • Age: risk of CVD increases with age. Men over 45 years and women over 55 years have a greater risk
  • Gender: some risk factors affect heart disease differently in women and men
  • Race/Ethnicity: certain groups have higher risks than others
  • Family History: personal risk increases if there is a family member with CVD

Controllable risk factors include:

Prevention

There are many things that can be done to prevent heart disease!

  • Control blood pressure
  • Control high cholesterol
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get regular exercise
  • Limit alcohol
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
  • Manage stress
  • Manage diabetes
  • Get enough sleep

Vaccinations

People with heart disease and those who have suffered stroke are at higher risk for serious problems from certain diseases. Getting vaccinated is an important step in staying healthy.

CVD can make it harder to fight off certain diseases, make it more likely complications to those diseases will follow, or increase the risk of a heart attack. The CDC recommends all adults receive:

  • Influenza – recommended every year, age 6 months and older
  • Tdap – (if an adult did not receive it as an adolescent to protect against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.

Additionally, the CDC recommends the following vaccines for adults suffering from CVD (talk to your doctor about which vaccines are right for you):

Heart Disease and COVID-19 (NACCD)

COVID-19 can strain all of the systems in the body, which puts additional stress on your heart. What you can do:

  • Utilize telehealthcare if possible
  • Keep taking your medications and following your treatment plan
  • Stick to a healthy diet, get exercise, get enough sleep, and try your best to manage stress

Additional Resources: