Archive For The “Types of Heart Diseases” Category
Heart disease or cardiac disease is an outcome of deposition of plaque in the coronary arteries; this condition is called atherosclerosis, which causes blockages. The arteries which were elastic and smooth become rigid and narrow, limiting the blood supply to the cardiac system. The heart is deprived of the vital nutrients and oxygen, which are required for its functioning (pumping). Coronary arteries are the main blood vessels that supply blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the heart; when these vessels get diseased or damaged due to the continuous build up of plaque (deposits of cholesterol), a person may develop coronary artery disease.
The accumulation of plaque narrows the arteries, which causes the cardiac system to receive lesser amount of blood. The decreased blood flow ultimately develops symptoms like shortness of breath, angina (chest pain) or other signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease. A complete clogging may cause a heart attack (cardiac arrest). Since the process of plaque accumulation often occurs gradually, it can remain unnoticed until a person undergoes a cardiac attack. But there are plenty of options to opt for preventing and treating this medical emergency. You can initiate by commending a healthy lifestyle.
About the Cardiac System
The heart is a muscle, which is similar to the size of a fist in an adult human. Normally, it beats nearly 70 times in a minute and provides oxygen rich blood throughout the body. From the heart, the blood travels toward the lungs for collecting oxygen. This oxygenated blood returns from the lungs to the cardiac system and is then pumped to other body organs through the arteries. The blood again returns to the cardiac system through the veins and is then pumped back to the lungs. This entire process in which the blood flows towards the lungs to receive oxygen and then return to the heart and from there gets distributed to the other body parts and then again back to the lungs is called circulation. Heart muscles receive oxygen through the network of blood vessels or coronary artery.
Coronary Artery Disease: How Does it Develop?
The process of cholesterol or plaque buildup in the walls of the blood vessels may begin when a person is young. As the person gets older, the burden of plaque deposits increases, inflaming the blood vessel and elevating the risk of formation of blood clots and thus heart attack. The cholesterol deposits release chemicals that encourage the healing process, but make the inner area of the blood vessel sticky. This stickiness attracts other substances such as calcium, lipoproteins and inflammatory cells that move into the bloodstream towards itself (inside the walls of the blood vessel).
Ultimately, a narrowed artery may produce new blood vessels for supplying blood to the cardiac system. However, in some cases, due to stress and overexertion, the new developed arteries may become unable to supply adequate amount of oxygenated blood to the muscle of the heart. During such times, a blood clot may completely stop the blood flow towards the heart muscle, causing cardiac arrest. If a blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart gets blocked due to the clot, an ischemic stroke may occur. If the arteries within the brain rupture, usually as an outcome of high blood pressure or uncontrolled hypertension, a hemorrhagic stroke may occur.
Facts Related to Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary artery disease can also be called Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), which affects almost 14 million Americans. This disorder develops when many substances such as the plaque (scar tissue), calcium and fatty material accumulate inclusively in the arteries that supply blood to the myocardium (heart muscle). These arteries are responsible for providing oxygen and other nutrients to the myocardium required for pumping blood. Here are a few facts related to the coronary heart disease:
- The plaque starts accumulating over the time and eventually narrows the artery which interrupts the blood supply to the cardiac system.
- This plaque may sometimes completely obstruct blood flow, which may lead a person to myocardial infarction (heart attack) or a sudden cardiac arrest (a fatal disturbance in rhythm).
- Interruption and slowing of blood supply may cause angina or chest pain.
- Coronary heart disease is considered as the major cause of disability and death in Americans. It is one of the seven leading causes of death.
- The heart is divided into four chambers: a ventricle and an atrium on the left and a ventricle and an atrium on the right.
- Blood returning to the cardiac system through the veins from all over the body moves into the right atrium.
- From the right atrium, the blood travels into the right ventricle, which is then pumped again to the lungs for collecting oxygen.
- The oxygenated blood moves into the left atrium and from there it travels into the left ventricle, which is then pumped into the arteries throughout the body with higher pressure.
- This complete procedure generates one heartbeat.
- The process of contraction or pumping of the left ventricle should be very powerful because it is required for keeping the blood moving throughout the body and thus maintaining the normal heart beat.
- The strength and capacity of the heart muscle depends on the nutrients and oxygen supply coming through the coronary arteries.
- Coronary arteries are generally elastic, quite flexible and strong. The cardiac system has three major and prime coronary arteries.
- Among the three major arteries, two arise or are attached with a common stem, which is known as the left main coronary artery.
- The left side of the heart receives blood from the left main coronary artery.
- The back and the left lateral side of the heart receives blood from the LCX (left circumflex).
- The front part of the cardiac system receives blood from the LAD (left anterior descending).
- Ultimately, the RCA (right coronary artery) is separate, and it provides the bottom and the right parts of the cardiac system.
- During childhood, the inner wall of the coronary arteries is smooth, which allows easy blood flow. As a person ages, the accumulation of calcium and cholesterol content in the walls of the arteries increases, which narrows them and makes them less elastic as well as thicker.
- Unhealthy eating habits such as consumption of fats and high cholesterol diet and certain pattern of lifestyle such as lack of exercise, drinking alcohol and smoking can accelerate the fat and calcium deposit within the inner wall of the arteries.
The process of plaque deposition is called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. These deposits eventually clog the blood vessel and obstruct the flow of blood through the arteries. Plaque deposits are like a rigid shell which has a soft inner core comprising cholesterol. During each heartbeat, as the blood hits these deposits, they may rupture and the inner cholesterol core gets exposed, which results into clotting of blood. Clots may create interruption in the smooth blood supply, causing angina (severe chest pain) or even completely blocking the artery.
Ultimately, it can be said that coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease is caused due to the narrowing of the arteries, which is a result of plaque deposition. Avoiding cholesterol rich and fatty foods can help to prevent this fatal medical condition.
Almost 6 million people in America are prone to cardiac failure. It is one of the leading cause for people above 65 years of age to get hospitalized. Cardiac failure is a chronic condition which develops gradually over the time. After diagnosis, the treatment option to be opted depends on the congestive heart failure stages and prognosis.
Cardiac failure or heart failure does not indicate that the cardiac system has stopped working completely; however, it refers to the condition in which the heat muscles get damaged or weakened due to certain reason and become unable to pump enough blood to the body parts. Due to this medical condition, blood flow through the heart and body slows down, thus increasing the pressure in the cardiac system. As a result, the body is deprived of the essential nutrients and oxygen. The heart chambers may respond and stretch a little or get thickened or stiffed to hold more blood for supplying to other body parts; however, this may eventually weaken the heart muscles and make them disable to pump efficiently. In this condition, the kidneys may start responding by retaining salt and fluid (water) into the body. If the fluid accumulates into the ankles, legs, arms, lungs, feet or other organs, a person may start feeling congested and this condition is defined as congestive heart failure. Once the heart failure is diagnosed, its evaluation becomes crucial. Doctors may ask the patient for the accurate and complete history of the symptoms.
Although this medical emergency is chronic (long-term condition), it may sometimes develop all of a sudden and may become a core reason for various heart problems. Cardiac failure may affect only the left or right side of the cardiac system. These are called left sided or right sided heart failure. In most cases, both sides of the cardiac system are involved.
Conditions during Heart Failure
- Heart muscles are not able to pump enough blood to fulfill the requirement of the body. This condition is referred as systolic heart failure.
- Heart muscles get stiffed and hence it becomes difficult for them to fill up with blood. This condition is refered to as diastolic heart failure.
Any of these conditions make the heart unable to pump the essential amount of oxygenated blood to the body organs. As the pumping capacity of the heart weakens, blood may start backing up into other body parts and the parts such as the arms, gastrointestinal tract, legs, liver and lungs get filled with fluid.
Usually, patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) have greater chances of developing failure in the functioning of the heart. CAD is a condition which refers to narrowing of the arteries or small blood vessels that are responsible for supplying oxygen rich blood to the cardiac system. If high blood pressure is not controlled appropriately, it may also lead to cardiac failure.
Other major causes may be:
- Heart attack or myocardial infarction
- Certain type of infection that impairs the heart muscle
- Congenital heart disease
- Arrhythmias or irregular/abnormal heart beat
- Heart valve disorder (this may occur in valves that are narrowed or leaky)
Congestive Heart Failure Stages
The American Heart Association has categorized this medical emergency into stages by considering the progression of cardiac failure.
Stage A : At this stage, the patient is at high risk of developing this condition.
Stage B: This stage involves a condition in which the left ventricle of the heart is dysfunctional or enlarged due to certain reason, but the patient does not show any symptoms (asymptomatic).
Stage C: Patients may start experiencing inability to workout, severe fatigue, shortness of breath, etc. This is called symptomatic cardiac failure.
Stage D: This can be considered as the last stage. Patients may undergo the symptoms in spite of rest and medical treatment. Mechanical devices, cardiac transplantation, end-of-life care or more aggressive medical treatment may be required.
The patients can be classified on the basis of their physical restrictions.
Class I: No symptoms while performing routine activities, no restrictions of physical activity or workout.
Class II: Symptoms may develop while performing certain routine activities, slight restrictions.
Class III: Symptoms may develop even with less physical activities, marked restrictions.
Class IV: A person may undergo symptoms even while resting, severe restrictions.
Symptoms and Signs
In some cases, patient with heart failure may not experience any problem. Early signs of heart failure may include cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty in taking a deep breath, mostly when lying down. If the patient has usual breathing problems such as emphysema, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or asthma, they should get a clue that they are undergoing an attack or certain heart worsening condition.
Shortness of Breath: A person with congestive cardiac failure may experience dyspne (difficulty in breathing), particularly while being active. Ordinary activities for example, walking, sweeping, doing routine tasks, etc., may be impossible or problematic. Shortness of breath can be relieved by taking rest. When the fluid gets filled into the lungs and starts interfering with the oxygen during blood oxygenation, the patient may experience orthopnea and dysnea. As the fluid deposits in the lungs become very critical, a foamy pink liquid may come out with cough.
Workout Intolerance: It means that a person becomes unable to tolerate physical exertion and sometimes routine activities that he or she may have been performing without any difficulty. The body requires nutrients and oxygen for performing any physical activity and an impaired heart is not able to fulfill the requirements of the body. The ability to workout or even perform some activity at a normal pace may get restricted due to severe fatigue and difficulty in breathing.
Swelling and Fluid Retention: Edema (puffy swelling) in the ankles, feet and legs may occur, especially after prolonged sitting or end of the day after office. Usually, the swelling is more evident on the lower leg or in the ankles at the front, where the tibia (bone in the leg) is near to the skin. Some patients may undergo severe swelling which may spread up till the abdominal wall, scrotum, hips and ultimately, the ascites (abdominal cavity). Patients should keep the track of his/her body weight on a regular basis, as the retention of fluid is often reflected by the increasing difficulty in breathing and amount of weight gain. Heart failure patients should know their dry weight (weight when they do not have pitting edema).
Pitting edema is a condition in which if the puffy area is pressed with finger, it will make an visible indentation for few minutes. This condition is not synonymous with cardiac failure; it may develop due to some other reasons such as kidney or liver failure. Generally, no pitting edema is caused due to heart failure.
Cardiac failure is a serious health problem that usually develops with age. Today, several victims are surviving with various heart diseases and are living a normal life. Some of them are unaware that they are developing a condition like heart failure. Recently, more effective therapies and medications have been evolved that enhance the outlook of this medical condition.
Medications and drugs are the protagonist of therapy with congestive cardiac failure.
- Implantable defibrillators and pacemakers have been modified. They are helpful in controlling the less common, but life-threatening disruption in the heartbeats.
- Novel and sophisticated treatments have proved beneficial for the patients to improve their quality of life and help them to live longer. New clinical trials and therapies are performed on patients under strict scientific and ethical monitoring.
- Certain sophisticated treatments such as use of LVADs, new form of temporary mechanical heart and heart transplants have been proved beneficial for many patients.
Understanding the congestive heart failure stages and prognosis in early days can help the patients to enhance their scope of survival for a long term. The therapies and medications show better result when used in early stages of heart failure.
Congestive heart failure indicates that the power of the heart to pump blood throughout the body reduces drastically than normal and a person starts developing its symptoms. After observing any of the symptoms, the patient should immediately consult a doctor for further diagnosis, confirmation and treatment. During diagnosis, the doctor will carry out certain medical and physical examinations along with considering the risk factors and medical history of the patient. When treating this medical condition, the goals are to improve symptoms, treat the core causes of heart failure and increase the chances of prolonging the life of the patient. Certain changes in lifestyle (such as exercising, changing eating habits and quitting smoking) and medications (such as diuretics and beta-blockers) are initial forms of treatment. For patients with severe cardiac failure, cardiologists may suggest heart transplant or mechanical heart pump.
Congestive heart failure treatment proves significantly helpful to improve the symptoms and aid the weakened cardiac function as effectively as possible. Heart failure specialists treat some patients by correcting the inexplicit cause of their condition, for example, by controlling the fast or abnormal heart beats, repairing or opening clogged arteries or replacing diseased valves. Cardiologists also treat other medical conditions that may contribute in aggravating the underlying cardiac problems such as anemia, thyroid problems, sleep apnea and other blood related abnormalities.
Few health care centers have doctors or cardiologists that are well equipped with advanced training in cardiac failure to treat the congestive heart failure patients. They have vast experience in all types of surgery for treating various heart related diseases. Surgeons often perform heart transplants, implant ventricular assist devices and minimally invasive cardiac surgery.
Doctors have Certain Goals for Treating Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
While most victims with heart failure cannot be cured, changes in lifestyle and diet, medications and specialized treatment and care for those in advanced stages can often help to relieve symptoms and drastically enhance the quality of their lives. Specialized treatments can also prolong the life of a person by soothing the worsened condition to some extent. Since the causes of CHF vary for each person, the treatment options opted by the cardiologists may also differ.
The goals of CHF treatment are to:
- Improve the symptoms of a patient along with the quality of life
- Treat the core causes of heart failure
- Prolong the life of the victim
- Eliminate the causes and stop the condition from getting worse.
The doctor may also continue to treat other conditions or diseases that causes CHF (such as diabetes, high blood pressure or coronary artery disease).
What are the Options for Congestive Heart Failure Treatment?
Treatments for congestive cardiac failure may include medical devices, surgery, lifestyle changes and medications.
Biventricular Cardiac Heart Pacemaker: This can also be called cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) device. It sends electrical impulses to the lower chambers of the heart in a specific time. This device is used to treat the patients whose heart’s electrical conduction is abnormal or irregular and who have moderate to intense cardiac failure.
Ventricular Assist Device (VAD): This device is used for the patients whose weakened heart needs assistance in pumping blood. Surgeons implant VAD into the abdomen of the patient and connect it to the cardiac system. This can also be called mechanical cardiac pump that can be used as a bridge to cardiac transplant or as a permanent solution for patients who cannot undergo transplantation. VAD is suitable for most patients who are not left with any other treatment options.
Internal Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD): Surgeons implant internal cardiac defibrillator under the skin to monitor the abnormal or fast rhythms (arrhythmias) in patients undergoing heart failure. This device sends electrical signals to the cardiac system; if it detects abnormal or high rhythm, it will transform the beats into slow and more effective pumping.
Heart Transplant: Some patients with completely damaged cardiac system have to choose this treatment option.
Coronary Bypass Surgery: According to the diagnosis, if severly narrowed coronary arteries are found to be the reason for heart failure, most heart specialist may suggest coronary bypass surgery.
Heart Valve Replacement or Repair: Replacement or repair of heart valve is recommended to treat the underlying symptoms that have caused heart failure. This surgery will not only help to relieve the symptoms, but will also improve the quality of the patient’s life.
Myectomy: In this therapy, the overgrown septal muscle in the cardiac system is removed to eliminate the clogging that occurs in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Myectomy is usually performed when medications fail to relieve the symptoms.
Heart care specialists often use medications that are proven to increase the chances of survival and prolong life and relieve symptoms. The heart specialist may also prescribe certain medications that help to improve circulation, lower blood pressure and prevent clogging in the arteries or blood thinners to dissolve clots or prevent clotting.
A number of drugs may aid to treat the heart’s inability to pump enough blood through the respective chambers.
- Beta Blockers: These drugs help to lower blood pressure, slow the heart beat and reduce the risk of abnormal or irregular rhythms of heart.
- ACE (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme) Inhibitors: These inhibitors improve blood flow, reduce blood pressure and decrease the workload of the heart.
- Angiotensin II (A-II) Receptor Blockers (ARBs): A-II receptor blockers have several benefits as compared to the angiotensin converting enzyme without any potential side effects such as persistent cough. It is useful in lowering down the blood pressure and enhance the heart efficiency to pump blood. These drugs may also amend the survival chances of the pateint following a heart attack. Candesartian and valsartan are the common forms of ARBs.
- Diurectics: This drug is used to prevent the accumulation of fluid in the body and lessen the accumulated fluid in the lungs by making breathing easy.
- Inotropes: These medications are intravenous and are used for the patient with severe heart failure. Inotropes help to improve the pumping action of the heart and keep the blood pressure under control.
- Digoxin: This drug can also be called digitalis. It helps to elevate the heart’s contraction strength, tends to reduce the fast heartbeat and controls the irregular heartbeat.
- Aldosterone Antagonists: These drugs may help to repeal scarring of the heart, encourage the cardiac system to work better, and prolong the life of the patient even with severe condition.
- Nesiritide: This medication is intravenous (given through vein). Nesiritide is a synthetic form of BN (B-type natriuretic peptide), a hormone that is produced naturally in the human body.
In some cases, cardiac failure becomes so severe that the patient needs to be kept under observation in the hospital. During treatment, the patient may be given some medications that help the heart to relieve the symptoms and pump appropriately.
Doctors may also provide supplement oxygen. Patients with severe condition may require supplemental oxygen for a long time.
Doctors may ask the patient to make few changes in their lifestyle; this can help the patient in relieving symptoms and preventing the disease from worsening. The possible changes in the lifestyle may include:
- Cutting off the intake of excessive sodium and fat in diet
- Limiting or avoiding the intake of alcohol
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting or avoiding caffeine intake
- Losing extra pounds if the patient is overweight or maintaining the healthy weight
- Exercising according to the schedule structured by the cardiac rehabilitation program or by their own
- Reducing stress and thus the chances of high blood pressure.
A typical congestive heart failure treatment program may usually include all the above practices compositely. There may be a few changes in this program for each individual.
The fundamental purpose of the heart is to pump blood to various body parts. The right side of the heart impels blood to the lungs to receive oxygen. This blood becomes oxygenated and returns to the left side of the heart and then from the left side it moves into the blood vessels which forms a circulatory system from where the blood is carried into the various parts of the body. Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is the condition in which the heart becomes unable to pump and deliver oxygenated blood throughout the body.
The heart is divided into four chambers:
- There are two chambers at the upper side called atria and the two chambers at the lower side called ventricles.
- The body supplies blood through the veins to the right ventricle and right atrium, which is then pumped to the lungs.
- The left ventricle and left atrium collects blood from the lungs and then impels out into the arteries through the aorta. These arteries are mean to feed oxygenated blood to all the tissues and organs of the body.
- Since the function of the left ventricle is to supply blood to the whole body, it is stronger than the right ventricle.
Although the term heart failure sounds frightening, it does not mean that your heart stops working completely. It just indicates that the tissues of the body are unable to receive the required amount of oxygen and blood on a temporary basis. So, do not get discouraged if you came to know that you are undergoing heart failure. With the use of advance techniques for diagnosing and treating this medical condition, many patients are living longer and feeling better.
Overview of Congestive Heart Failure
In this type of medical emergency, the heart becomes weak and less powerful to supply oxygen rich blood to all the body parts. In this condition, the blood does not flow easily through the blood vessels and thus through circulatory system and starts developing pressure in the vessels due to build up fluid. Symptoms depend on which body part is deprived from the blood supply.
Symptoms also depend on which area of the body is most involved in the reduced pumping action.
- When the right ventricle (right side of the heart) stops functioning, a fluid builds up in the lower legs and feet. The prime indication of failure in the functioning of the right ventricle is puffy legs due to swelling (edema), especially pitting edema. In this condition, if a finger is pressed on the swollen part of the leg, it will leave an impression on it. Heart failure does not cause non-pitting edema.
- When the left ventricle (left side of the heart) stops working, fluid starts accumulating into the lungs and causes pulmonary edema or pulmonary congestion. This surplus fluid in the lungs creates difficulty in breathing (the airways do not expand properly when a person inhales), which may cause shortness in breathing even when a person is relaxing.
- As the condition with the right ventricle worsens, the abdomen eventually starts collecting fluid (ascites) and the upper legs start swelling. The fluid retention is accompanied with weight gain.
If this medical emergency is not treated early, it may worsen the condition of the patient over time. There are several causes of congestive heart failure and its outcome may differ for each individual. This emergency may develop step by step over many years or more speedily after a heart muscle disorder or a cardiac arrest. CHF is normally categorized into two types: systolic and diastolic heart failure. Possibilities of developing this CHF increases with age. In addition to this fact, it is observed that the patients who are at higher risk of developing heart disease are also at risk of developing CHF.
Systolic Heart Failure: When the heart fails to pump enough blood into the circulatory system due to the weakened muscles systolic, heart failure occurs.
Diastolic Heart Failure: When the heart is able to contract normally, but gets rigid or stiff during relaxing and refilling with blood, a person may tend to develop a diastolic heart failure. In this condition, the heart fails to fill with enough blood, which results into accumulation of fluid into the lungs and ultimately into symptoms of cardiac failure. This medical emergency is more common in women and patients above 75 years of age, particularly among those with high blood pressure.
Congestive Heart Failure Facts
- CHF is a medical emergency in which the heart is not able to pump adequate amount of blood to fulfill the requirements of the body.
- Symptoms of this disorder may vary for each person, but usually include diminished exercise capacity, severe fatigue, swelling on certain body parts and shortness of breath.
- Many processes accompanied with various diseases may damage the functioning of the heart as a pump and results into cardiac failure.
- This condition can be diagnosed appropriately by taking the medical history of the patient, performing certain laboratory tests and a careful physical analysis.
- The statistics of cardiac failure vary for people in different age groups. This condition affects around 25 percent of people at the age of 85 or above, 5 percent of people at the age of 75 percent or above and 1 percent of people at the age of 50 or above.
- The course of cardiac failure is extremely variable for each patient.
- The treatment options for this medical condition include medications, addressing potentially correctable factors, mechanical therapies, heart transplant, and lifestyle modifications.
- Most of the Medicare patients are hospitalized due to heart failure.
- The death rate from cardiac failure is nearly 10 percent after a year.
You can’t inverse many factors that lead to cardiac failure, but heart failure can usually treated with better outcomes. Medications can reduce the symptoms and signs of cardiac failure and thus help you live for more years. Certain changes in lifestyle such as reducing intake of fats, salt and cholesterol in your diet, exercising regularly, treating depression, managing stress, and especially shedding those extra pounds can actually enhance the quality of life. Controlling the risk factors and other disorders such as high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes can work best to prevent the congestive heart failure.
Nowadays, heart diseases (cardiovascular diseases) are getting more common all over the world. According to the study of the American Health Association, they are becoming the prime killer for both, men as well as women. Moreover, the main concern is that often people are not aware that they are at risk of getting heart related disorders. Cardiac disorders include several conditions that not only affect the heart, but also damage the blood vessels and arteries surrounding the heart. Some of the heart diseases include:
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart failure
- Vascular disease
- Pericardial disease
- Aorta disease and Marfan syndrome
Among all other types of heart diseases in men, coronary heart disease is more common and it is caused due to the blockage or narrowing of the arteries through which blood is supplied to the heart.
With an aim to prevent such medical condition, it is significant to understand the functioning of your heart. The intensity of cardiovascular diseases can be minimized by taking care of your health, diet and learning about the required care and treatment.
Heart Diseases in Men
When we think of cardiovascular diseases, generally heart attack or coronary heart disease comes to our mind. But unfortunately, this is just one type of cardiac disease, and there are several other such diseases that affect the functioning and structure of the heart. They are listed as below:
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): This is a form of atherosclerosis in which the arteries that supply oxygenated blood and nutrients to the heart get harden.
Heart Failure: This term is really frightening; however, heart failure does not mean that the heart stops working or fails to function completely. Failure of heart refers to the condition in which the heart is not able to pump adequate or required amount of blood. This is one of the major issues of concern that is affecting around five million people in the United States. Often, men above the age of 65 get more prone to this condition. Heart failure is diagnosed among 550,00 people every year.
Congenital Heart Disease (CHD): This type of disease refers to the defect in one or more blood vessels or structure of the heart and is often present since birth. There are several type of heart defects, most of which either cause blood to flow in an abnormal pattern or obstruct the blood supply in the heart or vessels surrounding it. As per the study of scientists, genetics and heredity may contribute to CHD as well as exposure to certain viral infection; drugs and use of alcohol during pregnancy may also play a vital role. Heart defects are the major cause of deaths due to birth related defects. Around 7 out of every 1000 children get affected due to congenital heart defects. Symptoms of this disorder may begin during childhood, at birth and in some conditions during adulthood.
Heart Valve Disease: The heart has four chambers and heart valves are located at the end of each heart chamber. They are responsible for maintaining the one way flow of blood through the heart. When these valves do not function in an appropriate manner or typical pattern, a person tends to develop a heart valve disease. Causes of this disease may be congenital valve disease, acquired valve disease, endocarditis, rheumatic fever or mitral valve prolapse (MVP). Examples of this disorder may include mitral valve insufficiency and aortic stenosis.
Enlarged Heart or Cardiomyopathy: Enlarged heart is a type of heart muscle disease. People with this medical condition have their hearts abnormally thickened, enlarged, or/and stiffened due to which the ability of the heart to pump blood gets affected or weakened. If cardiomyopathy is left untreated, it may worsen with time and may often lead to abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure.
Pericardial Disease: This is a disorder which affects the membranous sac in which the heart is enclosed. Pericardial disease is an inflammatory process that develops clinical syndrome due to the pericardial friction rub, alterations in the electrocardiogram (ECG) and chest pain.
Vascular Disease (Blood Vessel Disease): The heart pumps blood with each of its beat through the circulatory system (system of blood vessels). The circulatory system involves veins (that return blood back to the heart) and arteries (that carry blood from the heart to other body parts). Vascular disorder includes any medical condition such as peripheral artery disease that affects the circulatory system. This may involve various diseases related to blood disorders, veins, lymph vessels and arteries that affect blood circulation.
Arrythmias (Abnormal Heart Rhythm): In a normal state, the heart beats in a pattern; even rhythm and in a steady form. It beats around 60 to 100 times in one minute. But when the heart gets out of rhythm, it beats in an abnormal and irregular manner, and this condition is referred as arrhythmia. This condition can also be termed as dysrhythmia and can involve alteration in the rhythm which produces a change in the rate or uneven heartbeat, resulting into a very fast or very slow heartbeat.
What are the Risk Factors?
Risk factors of heart diseases in men can be controllable as well as uncontrollable.
The term controllable refers to the risk factors that can be controlled by making changes in your lifestyle and such risk factors involve:
- Activity level of a person
- Drinking and smoking habits
The term uncontrollable refers to the risk factors that cannot be controlled. This may include:
- Family history
- Body type
Other major risk factors may involve high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
How to Lower Your Risk of Developing a Heart Disease?
In most cases, a man’s risk of cardiovascular disease begins to rise gradually after the age of 45. Fortunately, you can minimize your risk by adopting certain steps. These may include:
- Avoid or quit smoking and using other tobacco products.
- Often check your triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
- Often check your blood pressure. If you are a high blood pressure victim, follow the precautions and medications given by the doctor.
- Start having a heart-healthy diet. Add plenty of fresh and green vegetables, fruits, and fiber rich foods in your diet. Restrict foods rich in cholesterol, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.
- Perform regular physical activity that will burn your extra calories and will keep you active.
- Know about your BMI (body mass index) and maintain your weight accordingly.
- If you are a diabetic patient, control your diabetes by following the instructions give by the doctor.
- Limit consumption of alcohol since excessive intake may cause high blood pressure.
After learning about the risk factors and types of heart diseases in men, you should be alert about your health. Consult your doctor and discuss about your risk factors and available preventive measures. It’s critically significant to get educated about your prospects of developing any of these fatal diseases. Eat healthy, stay active and protect your heart from developing any type of heart disease. Follow the above mentioned steps and don’t delay in getting prompt medical aid if you think you may develop any of these cardiovascular diseases.
As per research and study of the American Heart Association, nearly one among every four women in the United States has some sort of heart disease (cardiovascular disease). This number is greater than the number of women who die due to other medical conditions such as breast cancer, lung cancer, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The National Women’s Health Information Center states that although heart disease is fatal for both men and women, the rate of death is high in women. Types of heart diseases in women include stroke, heart failure, coronary heart disease (chest pain, heart attack) and high blood pressure, arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, angina and other diseases of the circulatory system.
Different Forms of Cardiovascular and Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular disease or heart disease arises due to several problems that create interruption in the normal functioning of the heart and the arteries in the heart. Symptoms of cardiovascular disorder in women are often subtle and hence get overlooked. Being acknowledged about the warning signs of this medical condition can help you to get the treatment at the right time and thus can save your life. Here are a few types of diseases related to the heart:
Coronary Artery Disease (Coronary Heart Disease)
This is the most common type of cardiac disorder. It affects the coronary arteries or vessels that supply blood to the heart. It often causes heart attacks and angina. Since heart related issues tend to develop with age, women above the age of 45 are at higher risk of getting them. As per studies, it is found that the death rate due this medical emergency is high in black women as compared to white women. Certain risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, being physically inactive, etc., increase the chances of a person to develop this heart problem. However, by making a few changes in your lifestyle, you can cope up with this condition.
This is a form of heart disease, which involves hardening and thickening of the arteries. As we get older, hardening of the arteries is natural. This medical condition causes narrowing of the inner walls of the arteries due to the deposition of plaque (cholesterol, fats and other substances). Formation of blood clots block the blood supply to the heart, which can to lead to strokes and heart attack. Hypertension, obesity, not being physically active, smoking, diabetes, high level of cholesterol, etc., contribute to increase the risk for atherosclerosis.
When some part of the heart fails to receive adequate amount of blood supply, a feeling of discomfort and pain develops in the chest. It feels like a squeezing or pressing pain, often under the breastbone, which may further move towards the shoulders, neck, arms, back or jaw. The prime trigger for angina is excessive physical workout while other triggers can be extreme heat or cold, smoking, emotional stress, and alcohol. Angina rarely develops a permanent harsh effect on the heart such as heart attack.
Lack of blood supply to the brain may cause a blood clot or excessive internal bleeding in the brain, when any of the blood vessel gets ruptured. This may give rise to stroke. Cells of the brain begin to die if they do no receive enough oxygen and blood. Few women may also have transient ischemic attacks or mini strokes, where no damage is caused to the brain. Although they do not harm, they are serious and can lead you at greater risk of developing a full stroke. Diabetes, smoking and uncontrolled blood pressure all contribute to increase your chances of stroke.
Congestive Heart Failure
When the heart stops pumping blood through the body, a person is said to have heart failure. However, it doesn’t mean that the heart stops working actually. This condition develops in small stages as with time and may cause a huge impact on the lifestyle and ability to carry out routine activities such as bathing, getting around and dressing.
Congestive heart failure occurs due to congestion and accumulation of fluid. But this is the only symptom that develops in few people who undergo failure of the heart. Heart failure can be categorized into two types: systolic heart failure and diastolic heart failure. Each person may experience various symptoms for each category.
Systolic heart failure is caused when the ability of the heart to pump blood reduces. In this condition, the heart is not able to push adequate amount of blood to the circulatory system, resulting into the accumulation of fluid into the lungs, as the blood supply from the lungs towards the heart works for backup. This condition is known pulmonary congestion. If this condition is not treated on time, it may worsen the condition of the patient.
Diastolic heart failure refers to the condition in which the heart experiences difficulty in resting or relaxing. In diastolic heart failure, the ventricles ( lower chambers) of the heart become too stiff to expand and relax. They become unable to pump adequate amount of blood to the heart.
Heart Disease due to Infections
This is an inflammatory disorder which may occur when the streptococcus bacterial infection (strep throat or scarlet fever) remains untreated. This may lead to further complications. Rheumatic fever may damage the heart valves and develop brain, joints and skin problems. Symptoms of this disorder may include abdominal pain, fever, cardiac problems (chest pain or shortness of breath), skin rash, joint swelling or bleeding in the nose. Antibiotics are available to treat this condition.
This refers to an inflammation of the endocardium (interior lining of the heart), which develops as a result of bacterial infection. Patients undergoing this medical condition may experience excessive sweating, fever and chills. It may also cause joint pain, weight loss, abnormal urine color, weakness and shortness of breath. Women with a history of using intravenous drug or presence of congenital heart disease are at higher risk of developing endocarditis. It may also develop in pateints who had recent dental work or rheumatic fever. This condition can be treated with antibiotics and hospitalization in initial stages, but if remained untreated, it may develop serious complications such as severe damage of heart and stroke.
This condition develops due to the swelling and irritation in the pericardium (thin layer or skin that surrounds the heart). It generally remains for a short period, but causes sharp chest pain, similar to heart attack or angina. This condition often develops at a younger age and is generally caused due to viral infection that initiates cold. It may also result due to the viruses that are responsible for causing chicken pox, influenza, hepatitis B, rubella and mumps.
If you discover any of the signs that indicate a heart disease, rush to your health care provider. There are certain drugs and medicines that can help you to find a way out to reduce the risk factors and treat various types of heart diseases in women. Having healthy food and being physically active can also help you to lower your prospects of various cardiac disorders.
As per studies, cardiovascular disease is one the prime causes of deaths in America. Over 62 million people have some type of cardiovascular disease. This disease can be categorized into several types – some are congenital (present in the genes and develop since birth), whereas most types of heart diseases develop over certain time period and affect the victims later in life.
Generally, blood and heart diseases are called “silent killers”, since they often develop eventually and can remain unnoticed for a long time. A majority of heart problems develop when the blood supply to the heart gets interrupted due to the build-up of cholesterol (plaque), fats and blood clots, which slowly clog the arteries and make them narrow. Narrowing of arteries result into the decrease or complete restriction of blood supply to the heart. This condition is referred as hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Lack of blood supply to any organ of the body may disturb the functioning of that organ. For example, lack of blood supply to the brain may cause stroke, while inadequate blood supply to the heart may result into heart attack.
Here are a few common types of heart diseases that may probably lead a person towards death.
Coronary Heart Disease/Coronary Artery Disease
Failure of coronary blood circulation is referred as coronary heart disease. This condition causes due to the inadequate supply of oxygenated blood to the heart, which may damage the cardiac muscles and the other tissues surrounding the heart. This condition may cause sudden death of the patient without any indication.
Hypertensive Heart Disease
This condition directly or indirectly is caused due to high blood pressure. In hypertensive heart disease, the cardiac muscle thickens since the heart functions hardly to manage the high blood pressure. This condition also gives rise to essential hypertension and is also responsible for the aortic failure, renal failure and heart failure.
This is a type of coronary artery disease. Ischemia is a condition when the blood supply to the heart muscles is restricted, but develops very little symptoms or pain. Severe discomfort can be experienced often during physical exertion.
This means pain and discomfort due to insufficient supply of nutrients and oxygen to the heart. Usually, coronary artery spasm or atherosclerosis causes angina. This condition is different for everyone. While it often arises when the heart is functioning harder than usual such as during an emotional or physical stress or after a meal, it can also arise when a person is resting. In most cases, angina develops initially in the chest and moves down towards the left arm. However, in some cases, it may be any discomfort that moves towards the chest, through the shoulders, towards the upper back, both right and left arms, throat, neck, or jaw. Its symptoms may include:
- Sweating or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Tingling or numbness
- Sensation of heart burn
If many of these conditions last for more than 15 minutes, call 911 to get immediate medical attention.
Cardiomyopathy is mainly a group of disorders that affects the muscle of the heart (myocardium). This condition can be categorized into three types depending on the kind of muscle problem.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: In such case, the heart muscle becomes thicker than the usual size.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy: In such condition, the heart chambers get enlarged and the heart muscles get weak.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy: In this condition, the heart becomes rigid and gets disable to efficiently fill the heart chambers with blood.
Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
In this condition, a part of the heart lacks blood supply which causes damage or destruction of the heart muscle. If the damage is minor and the heart suddenly receives adequate oxygen, nutrients, and blood, the damage is usually recoverable. Hence, it is significant for the heart attack victim to call for immediate medical help. Symptoms of myocardial infarction include:
- Intense pain in chest with a feeling of heavy pressure that continues for more than minutes
- Fainting or lightheadedness
- Pain in other body parts such as arms, upper abdomen, neck, back, jaw, etc.
- Shortness of breath and rapid heart beat
- Sensation of nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and cold sweating
If you observe any of these signs over 15 minutes and are certain that they are heart related, don’t delay. Immediately call for medical assistance.
Sometimes disturbance may occur in the electrical system of the heart and it stops working normally. It may slow down, become fast, skip beats, become irregular or sometimes do not receive the signals in right sequence. This makes the heart to beat slower or faster than erratically or normal. Such abnormal rhythms are known arrhythmias. They may give rise to various symptoms: fatigue, fainting, chest pain, pounding of the heart, shortness of breath, dizziness or rapid palpitations (flutters). If arrhythmia is left untreated, it may become life threatening. Arrhythmia is categorized into four major types:
- Ventricular Tachycardia (VT)
- Extra or irregular heartbeats
- Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
Inflammatory Heart Disease
In this condition, the heart muscle and the surrounding tissues get inflamed due to an infection that develops from virus or bacteria or due to an internal peculiarity.
Here are some types of inflammatory heart diseases:
- Inflammatory cardiomegaly
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Similar to the heart, all body tissues require nutrients and oxygen to survive and function. Atherosclerosis or fatty plaques can also affect arteries through which oxygen rich blood is supplied to the other body parts. For example, this disease occurs when the feet or legs lack oxygenated blood due to the blockage or interruption. This impasse in the blood vessels divests the legs and feet of the nutrients and oxygen and develops signs often in the calf muscle, thigh and feet. Here are some warning signs of PAD:
- Brown spots over the skin
- Numbness and tingling
- Loss of hair at the lower part of the leg
- Cramping and pain while walking
- Ulcers, swelling and decrease speed of healing wounds
- Changes in the skin color of the legs: foot colors turn to blue from pink
This may occur when the heart stops pumping adequate amount of blood. It doesn’t cause an immediate death or even stops the heart from functioning; moreover, it damages the heart muscles. It just indicates that your heart is not squeezing. Heart failure often occurs gradually and worsens the condition of the patient over the time. Here are the few causes of heart failure:
- Presence of heart defects since birth
- Coronary artery disease
- High blood pressure
- Lung disease (Emphysema)
- Disorder related to the heart valves
- Past heart attack
Warning signs of this medical condition involves:
- Pulmonary congestion due to the accumulation of certain fluids in the lungsSwelling in the legs, feet, or ankles known as edema.
- Other signs may involve sleep apnea, fatigue, wheezing and cough.
Heart valve problems or obstruction defects: A stumbling block is a narrowing that partially or entirely blocks the blood supply. Blockage called stenoses may occur in the heart veins, arteries or valves.
- Bicuspid aortic valve
- Pulmonary stenosis
- Mitral valve prolapse
- Aortic stenosis
- Subaortic stenosis
Valvular Heart Disease
This type of disease affects one or multiple heart valves. Valvular heart disease affects four major valve of heart including aortic and tricpusid valves that are located at the right side of the heart in addition to the aortic valves and mitral valves located at the left side of the heart. A person can acquire this disorder either at a later stage or it can develop before birth. Other disorders such as congenital heart disease, Rheumatic fever, cardiac dilation, etc., can also contribute to the development of this heart disease.
The different forms of valvular heart diseases are:
- Bicuspid aortic valve disease
- Congenital valve disease
- Mitral valve prolapse (MVP)
- Acquired valve disease
After learning about all the different types of heart diseases and their symptoms, one can get a guideline about when to rush to the doctor for taking the required medical treatment.