Heart or cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term used to classify many kinds of heart and blood vessel disorders, including congenital heart disease, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, rheumatic heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, and pulmonary embolism.
Rheumatic heart disease, which is caused by damage to the heart valve and muscle from inflammation and scarring as a result of rheumatic fever, is the most common form of heart disease in children and adolescents. It is more prevalent in Africa than anywhere else in the world.
What are the signs of heart disease?
Heart disease is often called the silent killer because symptoms can vary in people, and sometimes they go unnoticed. Some people have no symptoms at all, until they suffer a stroke or heart attack.
Signs of heart disease include:
- Pain or discomfort in the chest left shoulder, jaw or back.
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Irregular heartbeat
Are you at risk?
You are more at risk of heart disease if you have high blood pressure (hypertension), high levels of cholesterol or diabetes. By being overweight, eating unhealthy and, fatty foods; drinking harmful amounts of alcohol; smoking cigarettes, and being inactive, you increase your chances of heart disease.
Knowing your numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI) – is one the best ways to know if your heart could be in trouble. Read more about the numbers to know here.