Chronic Disease Resources: The Heart Connection

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The HEART Connection

Chronic Disease Resources
G E T S C R E E N E D

The circulatory system, comprised of arteries, veins and capillaries, is the body’s lifeline. Powering the system is the heart, the muscle responsible for transporting oxygen, nutrients, hormones, gases and chemical wastes to and from every cell in the body. With such an extensive pathway, circulatory problems can have far-reaching effects.

“Many disease processes are related to each other,” points out Haile Jones, MD, medical director of Cardiopulmonary Services. “Diabetes, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease and sleep apnea are directly related. Diabetics should undergo coronary artery, peripheral artery and sleep apnea screening, which can be conveniently done right here in our hospital and clinics.”

Because of this interconnectedness, cardiovascular disease can be the cause or result of several chronic diseases, including:

DIABETES

Even when glucose levels are under control, diabetics are still at risk of developing heart disease. Why? Because diabetics who have insulin resistance often have heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and are obese and are physically inactive.

ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

Researchers have long wondered about the link between heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have linked vascular risk factors to higher chances of dementia and cognitive decline.

SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea is characterized by episodes of pauses in breathing five to 30 times per hour or more during sleep. The condition interferes with restful sleep and is associated with high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, stroke and heart failure. Obstructive sleep apnea is also associated with obesity, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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