This paper aims to answer if our current preventive measures and technologies are capable of slowly reducing the death rate of CVDS. This research includes findings on different types of CVDs and current prevention and solutions to CVDs as well as other potential ones that are relatively new. There are positive results that show how these new solutions are possible. This shows that it will be possible, with further trials, to slow down the increasing death rate of CVDs which has been the lead cause of global death for decades.
Aaditya Mahadevan, Grade 11, Edison High School, NJ
Potential Positive Impact of CVD Technologies and Methods On Global CVD Death Rates
This research aims to answer if our current preventive measures and technologies are capable of slowly reducing the death rate of CVDS. This research includes findings on different types of CVDs and current prevention and solutions to CVDs as well as other potential ones that are relatively new. There are positive results that show how these new solutions are possible. This shows that it will be possible, with further trials, to slow down the increasing death rate of CVDs that has been the lead cause of global death for decades.
Cardiovascular diseases cause around one-third of all global deaths. These heart diseases have been the leading cause of death for decades and have begun to rise again in recent years. There have been many implementations of care for people with cardiovascular diseases. Surgery has been done for years to help people who are in those dire times. There are other forms that help people with CVDs however most of these methods require proper recovery and time to heal. These methods sometimes lead to further effects or another fatal attack another day. Newer methods are being found to better help people with CVDs. A promising result is stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy can at times be a better alternative to help with CVDs than other methods. However with all of this, are these methods capable of slowing down the deaths caused by CVDs in future years?
What are CVDs and their Causes?
Cardiovascular diseases or CVDs are essentially heart diseases and any other conditions that affect the blood vessels. They involve heart problems such as blood flow being blocked or failures of certain parts of the body like the arteries or heart. Other factors include uncontrollably high blood pressure. Some of the most common types of cardiovascular diseases are heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. A heart attack is caused when the blood flow is greatly reduced or completely blocked. The blood flow can become blocked due to a buildup of materials such as fat or cholesterol. Heart attacks can also be caused by atherosclerosis or the buildup of plaques in the heart. When plaques that serve as cholesterol deposits rupture, they can form clots that also block blood flow. An alarming fact comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds” (CDC, 2022). This fact is a worrying statistic that we should not take lightly. Causes of strokes can be split between ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes. Ischemic strokes are the more common type. This happens in the brain where the brain’s blood vessels become blocked. These blood vessels can become blocked due to the building of fatty deposits or clots similar to heart attacks however they occur closer to the brain than the heart. These materials travel throughout the bloodstream and then block the blood vessels from the brain. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when the blood vessel itself ruptures. There are many internal causes of hemorrhagic strokes or hemorrhages such as high blood pressure. Sometimes an ischemic stroke can lead to a potential hemorrhagic stroke. Heart failures can happen in parts of the body like the arteries or in the lungs. When muscles in the heart do not pump the blood properly or not as efficiently as they should then blood can not pass through properly. Then they start to build up in the lungs. High blood pressure and arteries that do not function properly can eventually make the heart feel weak and then unable to efficiently pump blood. The more deadly diseases include ischemic heart disease or also called coronary heart disease. The blood flow in the body and the oxygen to the heart muscle is decreased due to arteries that have become more narrowed. This can cause discomfort and pain or other times can lead to serious and fatal consequences. Other cases have no pain which is called silent ischemia. Part of the body will not be able to get proper blood and therefore will not get proper oxygen. This heart disease can often lead to deadly heart attacks. Cardiovascular diseases can develop into life-threatening conditions and a person would ideally be able to know what he/she has so then he/she will be able to seek medical attention.
There are many symptoms and warnings that may help someone to learn that they have some sort of cardiovascular disease. You might at most times feel discomfort and tiredness. Trouble breathing and shortness of breath may signal some sort of heart failure. Irregular heartbeat, chest pain, and many more are all possible symptoms. Someone should take the proper steps sooner than later. Other Times a sudden heart attack or problem may lead to death. It is not too rare to see these sudden attacks on people under 35 but Mayo Clinic states, “Estimates vary, but some reports suggest that about 1 in 50,000 to 1 in 80,000 young athletes die of sudden cardiac death each year” (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2022). The numbers are not high considering other more common forms of heart conditions however these sudden attacks can still be very dangerous. Sudden cardiac death in these young adolescents can come from strain or damage to the heart. A young person may have signals that they do not realize are of any importance. When working out or playing competitive sports, one will probably become tired. Chest pain and shortness of breath may be a signal to let yourself know that a sudden attack could happen. Chances of one may increase if you have had family members who have suffered from a previous attack. These sudden attacks can be caused by a fast heartbeat from the exercise being done making the lower chambers of the heart not properly pump blood and then putting a strain on the heart. Preventive measures are always important to keep yourself in tune with longer, healthier life.
CVD Death Rates
Cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of death for about the last century. The number of cases and deaths from those cases has not been slowing down. The death rates have been increasing more and more. American College of Cardiology states, “Findings highlighted in the paper showed the prevalent cases of total CVD nearly doubled from 271 million in 1990 to 523 million in 2019, while the number of CVD deaths steadily increased from 12.1 million in 1990 to 18.6 million in 2019” (ACC, 2020). The world is overall experiencing much more of these cases. Different parts of the world may suffer from a slowly decreasing death rate from CVDs but there is a similarity in which the number of cases is still increasing. Some countries like China and India show a huge increase in the number of deaths. Some developed countries like the United Kingdom show a decrease in deaths. However, the number of global cases and deaths is still rising. Despite previous methods and technologies, cardiovascular diseases are still on a rise and are still the leading cause of global deaths.
Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthier lifestyle means that you will have to take much more control and consideration of your daily habits and needs. Creating a proper diet for yourself and choosing the right foods like ones that are not high in fats may help lower your blood pressure. Having and maintaining proper weight for your limitations are also important. Obesity or higher BMI can lower the chances of not getting a CVD. Extra weight in a way can put extra stress on the heart and muscles. Proper exercise is very key as well. Adults need around 20-30 minutes of daily exercise while kids may require double that amount of time. Limiting alcohol and smoking will also contribute to decreased risks of heart problems. This article's findings state, “For current male smokers who smoked heavily (≥15 cigarettes/day) or obese men and women (body mass index ≥30), their disease-free life expectancies accounted for the lowest proportion (≤75%) of total life expectancy at age 50.”(Li et al., 2020). This means the chances of life with diseases like CVDs are increased when a person is heavily smoking or has a high BMI. If nothing is done and you do not create a proper lifestyle for yourself then it will become a huge detriment. You should of course seek proper medical attention when you are in need but these are all methods to help prevent life-threatening situations. Make sure that you make proper preventive measures to decrease the chances of having cardiovascular disease. Monitoring and controlling aspects of your life such as your blood pressure, cholesterol, diet, exercise, etc. will lead to lower risks of problems. A healthy lifestyle in general is very advantageous and important. It can also make you feel better mentally as well. Living a healthy life will make you feel more fit, relaxed, and calm. Not only will living a healthy lifestyle help prevent cardiovascular diseases but it will also provide so many other benefits in life.
Covid’s Implications on CVDs
Covid Vaccine Effects
The covid vaccine has many minor side effects that could become much more harmful depending on the person to the vaccine was given. There are some minor side effects that can be expected such as pain or swelling in the area of the injection. Other effects include headaches, fever, and fatigue. Some people are fine within a day while others can experience some form of discomfort for the next couple of days. The length of the effects varies from person to person. In the same regard, the intensity and possible dangers of these effects also vary from person to person. Some people may experience fainting, shortness of breath, or a lot of chest pain. People who have suffered from previous heart problems or have weak immune systems may increase their chance of being attacked by another one. The vaccine implementation to as many people as we can is very critical in stopping the spread of the virus and helping stop possible new variants of the virus. However, the vaccine has longer-term effects of possible heart failure. The results of this article state, “In this study in a nationwide mass vaccination setting, the BNT162b2 vaccine was not associated with an elevated risk of most of the adverse events examined. The vaccine was associated with an excess risk of myocarditis”(Barda et al., 2021). The immune system of the human body's response to the vaccine may cause myocarditis. A CVD that is associated with injections. More serious cases of myocarditis may cause heart failure or increase the chances of a heart attack. These could be deadly to patients who have already been through previous heart attacks. The dangers of a second heart attack are huge as the American Heart Association states, “While only about 2.5% of them were readmitted within 90 days with another heart attack, nearly 50% of those people would die within five years”(Precker, 2021). Multiple heart attacks may have seriously fatal consequences. Covid vaccines are indeed necessary in these times in the world but people who suffer from previous heart conditions may require further help or monitoring for their safety.
Patients with COVID might have increased chances of heart failure. As this research states, “SARS-CoV-2 pandemic may be particularly deleterious to patients with underlying cardiovascular disease”(South et al., 2020). SARS-CoV2 or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 causes direct and indirect impacts. There are some direct effects in the heart where ACE2 is incorporated. The ACE2 disrupts the area and limits the flow of its proactive effects. Also causes ACE2 downregulation. ACE2 downregulation has a side effect on the lungs to initiate other dysfunctions that affect the cardiovascular system. It does this by the process of ischemia, myocardial, and others. The SARS-CoV2 effects on the cardiovascular system may be the reason for the heart failures that occur in patients that have COVID-19. Covid may very well indirectly initiate or increase the chances of heart attacks, particularly in those who have already had heart problems. Having covid may increase your chances multiple times so a patient with covid must be very careful of their own body. In recent years when covid has peaked, death from CVDs has also increased quite a bit. Increasing covid cases have a negative effect on those with cardiovascular problems.
Further CVD Help
Doctors may advise patients currently having heart diseases or symptoms of heart disease for heart surgery. Heart surgery is not at all times required to help the heart but in worse cases, heart surgery is used. One way is open heart surgery. The surgeon will cut an incision into your chest and start to separate the insides like the rib cage so that the doctors can operate on the patient. Your heart is stopped and you are connected to a machine that makes up for the non-functional heart and lungs during the procedure. The machine adds oxygen and moves blood throughout the body. However, open heart surgery has several risks if not done properly. The machine used in open heart surgery or the heart-lung bypass machine can increase the risk of strokes. Open heart surgery can also cause lung failure or difficulty breathing. Patients with obesity may encounter chest wound infections. However, surgeries can be a little safer when robots do the cutting. Robotic cardiac surgery may have some risks such as increased heart attacks and strokes that are common to surgeries in general but are less when compared to open heart surgery. Robotic surgery uses robotics to precisely cut out and treat certain heart conditions. The overall process is up to the doctor to decide but it is up to the patient to seek out medical attention in time.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is a newer solution to cardiovascular diseases. There was initial interest in stem cell lines to better understand how diseases occur. Embryonic stem cells taken from the early days of embryos are a good example. These stem cells can divide further and can become any type of cell in the body since it is not fully developed yet. So scientists can mature and grow them to see how certain diseases grow. These stem cells can be used to replace diseased stem cells in the heart and could then contribute to repairing internal injuries. Stem cell therapy is also the next step from other transplantations. Stem cells replace other damaged cells and help the immune system fight back whatever disease or cancer that it is fighting. These conditions involve more adult stem cells. Stem cells can be properly stored and replicated which is a better alternative to the limited amount of organs and human body parts available for transplantations. Scientists have to be sure of the cells that they are using and make sure that the process will work out properly for the patient. Initial research and trials have been relatively inconclusive. Further, more recent trials have shown much higher percentages of stem cell therapy working correctly. Once perfected, stem cell therapy will be able to regenerate and help damaged cells and tissues and monitor the immune system for a better, longer life. Stem cell therapy is relatively new but is showing increasingly positive conclusions.
Telemedicine has been around in many forms for many decades now. However, during covid, telemedicine became increasingly popular. An article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, “During the first quarter of 2020, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50%, compared with the same period in 2019, with a 154% increase in visits noted in surveillance week 13 in 2020, compared with the same period in 2019”(Koonin et al., 2020). Covid has opened up new methods for patients with heart disease to seek care. The idea of a call or email sent back and forth between the doctor and the patients may be very convenient to some. Doctors are easily able to send details and information through various chats. Patients are better able to get a faster diagnosis with specialists that they may not have previously had contact. Remote patient monitoring is also getting increasingly popular and goes together nicely with telemedicine or telehealth. Remote patient monitoring or RPM allows doctors to track a patient's vital signs and other important data from anywhere. Doctors can be there, just one phone call away, to check up on you and see if any signs of cardiovascular diseases or other conditions may arise. Patients can also monitor themselves and send important information or daily status updates to their doctors. Doctors will normally call the patient when the doctor finds something to be off or wrong or be able to easily prescribe and mail whatever medications or items the patient may require. Real-time video chat with audio and camera helps simulate that in-person check-up from the ease of your own home. This is very beneficial to patients that have difficulty moving or difficulty getting to the doctor’s office. Many tests have been done and show that telemedicine can help conditions like asthma, diabetes, chronic bronchitis, etc. Tests have been shown to have some positive effects on patients with cardiovascular diseases as well since a doctor can easily check up on a patient's condition and see for any signs of worsening. Telemedicine can be used for checkups with patients with CVDs and help prevent future cases of heart attacks and heart problems in patients.
Deaths caused by CVDs can indeed be reduced in the future years due to the great efficiency and practicality of new prevention and care. Deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases have been increasing globally and more so recently due to the effects of covid. However, new research on solutions like stem cell therapy and telemedicine can pave the path to a safer future. New robotics and preventive methods will also help reduce the number of fatal consequences caused by all types of cardiovascular diseases. For these newer implications to be perfected, more trials need to be done and more possible pros and cons should be figured out and tested before starting to implement these new strategies on a global scale.
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