Heart Disease: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
August 6, 2022 | by Yashaswi Pathakamuri | Posted in Diseases
Heart disease is a condition caused by the heart’s inability to pump blood properly. The most common symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath, and irregular heartbeat.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it is a major cause of disability. The mortality rate from heart disease has fallen by approximately 30% since 1980.
The heart is a muscle that pumps blood through the body. It is made up of four chambers: two atria and two ventricles.
Learn about the different types, symptoms, causes, and effects of heart disease. This article is also a great resource for how to lower risk factors and what treatment might be an option.
Types Heart Diseases
Heart diseases can be divided into two main types: those that affect the heart muscle and those that affect the heart valves.
Heart diseases are among the leading causes of death worldwide. There are many different types of heart diseases, some of which include:
Arrhythmia is a type of heart condition that causes the heartbeat to be irregular or too slow. It can lead to fainting, dizziness, and even death.
The most common symptom of Arrhythmia is dizziness. When you feel dizzy, you may not know if it’s because your heart is beating too slowly or because you are losing blood flow to your brain.
There are various types of arrhythmias, including:
- Sinus bradycardia, the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute.
- Sinus tachycardia, the heart rate is greater than 100 beats per minute.
- Atrial fibrillation, a regular pulse is present but irregularly and often irregularly in the form of fainting spells.
- Premature contractions: This refers to an early heartbeat.
Arrhythmias are usually treated with medication, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), or cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).
2. Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease is a condition that affects your heart’s blood vessels and occurs when plaque builds up on the walls of these vessels, which narrows or blocks blood flow to your heart.
Coronary artery disease is one of the most common causes of death in the United States. This means that it is important for people to know how to prevent this condition and how they can live a healthy life.
The symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition and other factors such as age and sex.
This condition can be treated with medication, surgery, or angioplasty.
3. Congenital Heart Defects
Congenital heart defects are one of the most common birth defects in the US, affecting about 1 in 100 births. They can be diagnosed as soon as a child is born. There are many types of congenital heart defects, but the most common ones include those that affect the main blood vessels, the valves, or both.
The congenital heart defect is caused by an abnormal development of the heart, which can be present at any time during pregnancy.
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects in children. They can lead to a variety of symptoms which vary from mild to severe.
Some of the most common congenital heart defect symptoms are:
- Chest pain, feeling faint, and shortness of breath
- Swelling or puffiness around the face
- A rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Weakness and fatigue
4. Myocardial Infarction
Myocardial infarction is a heart attack that occurs when the blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body is blocked.
Myocardial infarction is caused by a sudden onset of chest pain and shortness of breath. It can also be caused by coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, or other heart problems. It is important to know what these symptoms are so that you can take care of yourself or get help as soon as possible.
The patient’s first response to this condition is usually shock or disbelief followed by denial. The diagnosis process typically involves an electrocardiogram (EKG) and/or coronary angiography. It can be treated by administering drugs, surgery, or other treatments.
5. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition that primarily affects the heart muscle, which becomes thick and rigid. It can lead to congestive heart failure or sudden death.
The symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are typically seen in adolescents or young adults but can also be seen in children as well as older adults.
It is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, with those in their teens and twenties being most at risk.
Symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
In order to help prevent sudden cardiac death, many doctors recommend HCM treatment. One of the most important treatments for HCM is beta-blockers, which are medications that lower blood pressure and heart rate by blocking adrenaline and other hormones that cause these symptoms.
Beta-blockers can be used in a variety of ways to treat HCM, including:
- As an initial treatment for people with mild symptoms
- As an initial treatment for people with moderate symptoms
- As a long-term treatment for people with moderate to severe symptoms
6. Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve does not close completely, causing blood to flow backward into the left atrium.
Mitral valve regurgitation is a common and potentially dangerous condition that can lead to serious complications. It affects approximately 6-15% of people in the United States.
The most common symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation include fatigue, shortness of breath, and palpitations.
Mitral valve regurgitation treatment is one of the most common treatments for MR. It involves inserting a catheter into the left atrium to close off the leak, and then using drugs to stop blood from flowing back into the left atrium.
7. Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse is a condition that happens when the mitral valve doesn’t close properly, which causes blood to back up into the heart.
Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the leaflets of the mitral valve don’t close tightly enough, which results in blood backing up into the heart. The main symptom is a fast heart rate, shortness of breath, chest pain and fainting spells.
The treatment for this condition includes medications and surgery. Mitral valve prolapse treatment is usually done by open-heart surgery, which involves replacing the damaged mitral valve with an artificial one made out of metal or plastic.
8. Heart Failure
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood to the body efficiently. It can be caused by a number of factors, such as an enlarged heart, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and other conditions.
Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death worldwide with about 5 million people dying from it every year. It affects people of all ages and can lead to many complications such as arrhythmia and stroke.
The symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack but they usually come on suddenly and last for only a few days before going away. There are many treatment options available for heart failure, but they are not always easy to use.
When one begins showing signs of heart problems, a visit with your doctor may be required in order to prevent further issues occurring.
9. Heart Attack
Heart attacks are caused by high blood pressure and narrowed arteries in the heart. They can also be caused by clogged or blocked arteries. It is important for people to know how to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack so that they know when it’s time to get help from doctors.
Heart attacks are a medical emergency that can be fatal if not treated immediately. They most commonly occur in the left ventricle of the heart, and they typically cause chest pain or discomfort along with shortness of breath and dizziness.
The symptoms are often subtle, which can make it difficult to identify a heart attack in time to get treatment. This is why it is important to be aware of the warning signs so you can seek immediate care.
A heart attack is typically recognized by chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain in other parts of the body such as jaw, back, arms, or stomach
Heart attacks can be life-threatening. The treatment for heart attacks is a combination of drugs and procedures.
The following are the most common treatments:
- CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
- Cardiac catheterization
- Coronary angiography and stenting
10. Aortic Stenosis
Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body, that can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, and sometimes death.
Aortic stenosis is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50-80 years old. The condition is often misdiagnosed as congestive heart failure or aneurysm.
The most common symptom is chest pain that comes on suddenly and lasts for less than an hour. Other possible symptoms include shortness of breath and fatigue when you exert yourself or when you are lying down after exercise or during sleep.
Aortic stenosis treatment includes surgical and non-surgical methods. Surgical options include balloon angioplasty, stent placement, and valve replacement surgery. Non-surgical treatment options include medications, diet changes, exercise, and aortic valve replacement surgery.
Heart disease is a serious health issue that can be fatal if not treated in time. It is estimated that heart disease accounted for around 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States.
Symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the type of heart disease and whether or not it has been diagnosed. The following are some symptoms of heart disease:
- Angina, or chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden weight gain or loss
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swelling due to fluid retention, or edema
Most heart disease symptoms are transient and will go away on their own within hours, days or weeks without treatment.
The most common symptoms of heart disease in children are: fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness or dizziness, rapid heart rate, and swelling of the legs.
Signs and symptoms that could indicate heart attack include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath with exertion
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Clammy skin
- Cold extremities
- Heart palpitations
- Stomach pain
- Arm, jaw, back, or leg pain
- Choking sensation
- Swollen ankles
- Irregular heartbeat
Heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrest, which is when the heart stops and the body no longer functions, but it’s a very serious condition, you should seek immediate medical attention if you start experiencing symptoms of one.
Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that can happen suddenly. It can be caused by heart attack or other cardiac problems. Cardiac arrest is the cessation of the heart’s ability to circulate blood, which causes death.
Signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest include
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness and fainting
If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, it is important to call 911 immediately for immediate help.
Causes and Risk Factors of Heart Disease
There are many causes of heart disease, but most often they are related to lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. While some risk factors are age, gender, family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels and can be affected by environmental factors such as pollution or smoking.
In some cases, there is a genetic cause. However, some lifestyle factors and medical conditions can also increase the risk. These include:
- High intake of alcohol
- Overweight and obesity
- A history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
- Low activity levels
- Sleep apnea
- High stress and anxiety levels
- Leaky heart valves
The World Health Organization (WHO) points to poverty and stress as two key factors that are contributing to a global increase in heart and cardiovascular disease.
The treatment for heart disease is different depending on the cause of the disease. Some causes of heart disease are due to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries that can lead to a blockage. This blockage can make it difficult for blood to flow through and reach your heart.
Doctors will most likely prescribe medicine to help the patient get better. They may also recommend some lifestyle changes for the patient to follow like eating healthy and exercising more often.
The treatment for any type of heart disease is different depending on what it is and how severe it is.
There are many medications that can be used to treat heart disease. The choice of medication is dependent on the type and severity of the heart disease. These include:
- Statins: They are a type of medication that work by lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. They are typically used for people with high cholesterol or who have had a heart attack.
- Beta-blockers: These help slow down the heart rate and relax the blood vessels by blocking beta receptors in the body.
- ACE inhibitors: It helps lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and reducing substances that cause inflammation in the body.
- Calcium channel blockers: Calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine and nifedipine help lower blood pressure by relaxing the muscles around the heart and other organs in the body.
- Vasodilators: These are medications to lower blood pressure and are used to treat heart disease. For example, nitroglycerin, work by dilating the smooth muscle cells in the walls of the arteries and veins.
- Diuretics: They are primarily used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. They work by removing excess fluids from the body, which reduces strain on the heart and blood vessels. This medication is usually taken in tablet form, but can also be given intravenously.
- Digitalis: It is a medication that has been used for many years to treat heart disease. Preparations such as Digoxin can increase the strength of the heart’s pumping action. It was the first drug that could be given intravenously and it became the most widely-used drug for treating heart failure or arrhythmias.
These medications can be used to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chest pain or shortness of breath, etc. A doctor may prescribe these medicines if they think it will help to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the future.
The first step in preventing heart disease is to control your weight. You should also avoid smoking and keep your blood pressure low. If you are not able to control these factors, then surgery may be an option for you.
Surgery for heart disease is not a cure-all, but it may be the best option for some people who have severe heart disease or who have had a heart attack or stroke caused by their condition.
Surgeries are usually done in the following order:
- Coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG): It is a surgical procedure performed to improve blood flow to the heart. The surgeon will make a long incision in the chest and stop the flow of blood to the heart. The surgeon then takes a healthy artery from another part of the body, called the “donor site,” and attaches it to an artery at or near the blocked area. This new artery will be used to carry blood from your heart to your body. The new vessel that is created during coronary artery bypass surgery is called an “autograft.” It’s made up of living tissue, unlike a vein graft, which is made up of dead tissue.
- Angioplasty: It is a procedure that widens narrowed or obstructed blood vessels. The procedure is done by inserting a long, thin tube called a catheter into an artery in the groin area and then threading it up to the narrowed blood vessel in the heart. There are various types of angioplasty procedures depending on what type of blockage there is and where it’s located.
- Stenting: It is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to open up arteries in the body. It is commonly used for people who have atherosclerosis, which is hardening of the arteries. The process of stenting involves inserting a tube-like device called a catheter into an artery that has become narrowed or blocked. The catheter has a balloon on its end that can be inflated to widen the artery. The balloon is then deflated and withdrawn from the artery, leaving behind a tiny tube called a stent to hold open the artery and prevent it from narrowing again.
- Coronary angiography: It can be done for various reasons. It is a diagnostic procedure that is done to identify the presence of coronary artery disease and any narrowing or blockages in the coronary arteries. The procedure is done by injecting a contrast agent into a vein and imaging the heart from within (endovascular). The contrast agent helps to provide an image of the inner blood vessels of the heart and, in some cases, also other structures such as valves.
- Laser treatment: It is a new technique for heart disease, that is being developed and tested. It is still not clear if it will be the next breakthrough in cardiac care.
- Atherectomy: It is a procedure that is used to treat coronary artery disease. This procedure is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary angioplasty. This procedure can be done on one or more than one artery at a time.
- Maze surgery: It is a procedure that is used to treat people with heart disease. The surgeon cuts through the walls of the heart and makes a maze-like pattern, which allows blood to flow more easily. Maze surgery can be performed in either open-heart or closed-heart procedures.
Heart disease is one of the leading killers in the world. It is a silent killer that often does not show any symptoms until it has caused significant damage to the heart.
The risk factors for heart disease are well-known, and there are many ways to prevent it. These include healthy diet, exercise, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
There are many different types of heart problems that can lead to heart disease. While some of these problems can’t be prevented, there are some that can be avoided with lifestyle changes such as lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Eating a balanced diet: A balanced diet is one of the most important factors in preventing heart disease. A balanced diet should consist of a variety of foods from all the food groups. The Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet may be good for heart health. They may also help limit the intake of processed foods, added fat, salt, and sugar.
Exercising regularly: Exercising regularly is a good way to prevent heart disease, but it is not the only thing you can do. The most important thing is to eat healthy and avoid smoking.
Maintaining a moderate body weight: A healthy body mass index (BMI) is typically between 20 and 25. Excess weight also puts pressure on the heart, which can lead to chest pain and other heart-related symptoms. People can check their BMI here.
Limiting alcohol intake: People who drink too much alcohol are at a greater risk of developing heart diseases. Women should not have more than one drink per day and men should not have more than two drinks per day
Avoiding smoking: People who smoke are more likely to develop heart disease than people who don’t smoke. Smoking can also make existing heart problems worse and it may lead to a heart attack or stroke.
A healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and having a nutritionally balanced diet can make a huge difference to your health. This includes lowering the risk of heart disease and its complications.
Heart disease is very common and is typically the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
By taking preventative steps and following a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and seeking advice in the case of any initial symptoms, you can reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
If you experience any above mentioned signs or symptoms then it is recommended to seek medical attention immediately.
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