Heart attack (myocardial infarction) is sudden failure in the functioning of the heart due to the interruption in the oxygen-rich blood supply to any section of the heart. If a person experiences severe chest pain or any of the heart attack symptoms, he or she should immediately consult a doctor. Heart attack diagnosis and treatment are performed at the same time when a patient undergoes severe pain in the middle part of the chest. The risk factors and symptoms of cardiovascular diseases should not be ignored because if they remain untreated, it may lead to death of a person.
Heart Attack Diagnosis
First of all, doctors take the medical and physical history of the patient. Then they carry out certain tests and examinations for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. These tests can be:
Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
This is a simple, quick and painless test that analyzes and records the electrical activity of the heart. It measures the heart’s electrical activity and its conduction in the cardiac muscles. Electrocardiogram helps to direct what exactly happens in the ER. This test makes a graph that indicates how speedily the heart is beating along with its rhythm (abnormal or steady). It also records the timing and strength of electrical signals, as they move from every single part of the heart.
An ECG can show signs of a current and previous coronary heart disease along with the signs of damage to the heart because of the coronary heart disease. If the heart has undergone huge damage due to an attack, it can be seen in the EKG record, in case of damage to small portions of the heart muscle; the ECG may look comparatively normal.
If the ECG report does not find out the heart attack (an electrocardiogram can be normal even if the heart attack has occurred). In such case, the second step would be a blood test to indentify the level of heart damage. During myocardial infarction, cardiac muscle cells die and discharge chemicals into the blood vessels. These chemicals are proteins such as CPK, troponin and cardiac enzymes myoglobin, which are measured in combination or alone to detect whether the heart muscle is damaged. The most common type of blood tests to detect an attack include serum myoglobin tests, CK–MB or CK tests and troponin test. Blood test is helpful to measure how much proteins are present in the bloodstream and the higher level of protein in the blood indicates a heart attack.
Unfortunately, the chemicals take time for accumulating in the blood vessels after the muscles of the heart gets damaged. Samples of blood need to be taken after certain time so that the outcome can be interpreted. These tests are usually repeated to keep the track of changes with time.
This test may be carried out to find out various facts including the clarity of lung areas, width of the aorta and heart shape. If the X-rays fail to find out whether a heart attack has occurred, further tests such as CT scans, echocardiography, heart catheterization and stress test are taken. Doctors evaluate the overall condition of the patient and then decide the preferable diagnosis option. Diagnosis technique of cardiac attack may vary for each patient.
In this test, special x rays and dye are used to evaluate the coronary arteries from inside. Coronary angiography is often carried out during a heart attack; this helps to find the clogs in the arteries. The cardiac catheterization technique is used to insert the dye into the arteries.
A catheter (a thin elastic tube) is inserted into the blood vessel in your upper thigh (groin), neck or arm. The coronary artery is ribbed with this tube and a dye is injected into the bloodstream. The flow of the dye through the arteries and the heart is analyzed by the doctor with the help of special x rays. If your doctor finds any clogging, they recommended a technique called angioplasty. This technique helps to remove the blockage and restore blood supply through the artery. In some cases, a stent (a small mesh tube) is fixed in the artery to avoid further clogging after angioplasty.
Heart Attack Treatment
Understand your symptoms of cardiac arrest to take immediate medical assistance. Early treatment can help to limit or prevent impairment to the heart muscles. Taking quick action when you experience the first symptoms of cardiac failure can save your life. In some cases, doctors start diagnosing and treating the patient even before they reach the hospital.
Some treatments are initiated right away if a cardiac failure is suspected, even prior to the confirmation of the heart attack. These treatment options may include:
- Aspirin is given to the patient, as it helps to thin the blood and prevent it from further clotting.
- Oxygen therapy
- Chest pain treatment
- Nitroglycerin is used, as it helps to reduce the work burden on the heart and enhance the flow of blood through the arteries.
Once the cardiac arrest is strongly suspected or confirmed, more effective treatment options are adopted to promptly reinstate the flow of blood towards the heart. The two prime treatment options to open the clogged coronary arteries are angioplasty and clot busting.
This is a non surgical technique that clears up the narrowed and blocked arteries. This technique can also be referred as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). During angioplasty, a thin elastic tube with a balloon attached to its end is ribbed through a blood vessel to the clogged or narrowed coronary artery. In some cases, the balloon is replaced with some other device.
Once the tube is placed, the balloon is blown up to constrict the plaque against the artery wall. This helps to restart the blood supply through the artery. During angioplasty, the doctor may place a stent in the artery. This helps to prevent clogging in the artery for several months or year after angioplasty.
Clot Busting Medicines
These medicines are called clot busters (or Thrombolytic medicines), which are meant to dissolve the clots of blood that are clogging the arteries. Clot busters work best if given within few hours of the initiation of cardiac failure signs.
Other Treatment Options for Cardiovascular Diseases
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a surgical process that is used to treat this medical emergency. During this process, a healthy vein or artery from the patient’s body is taken off to graft or connect it to the blocked artery. This grafted vein or artery bypasses the clogged area of the artery and provides a new path for blood to move towards the heart muscle.
ACE Inhibitors: They help to lower the strain on the heart as well as reduce the blood pressure. ACE inhibitors also reduce further debilitation of the heart muscle.
Beat Blockers: This medicine decreases the rate of workload on the heart. Beta blockers are also used to get relief from the discomfort due to chest pain and also forbids repeat cardiac attack. They can also be used for treating arrhythmias.
Anti-clotting Medicines: These medicines prevent the formation of unwanted blood clots and clumping of platelets. Clopidogrel and aspirin are the anti clotting medicines.
Anticoagulants: These are blood thinners which prevent the formation of blood clot in the arteries. Anticoagulants also restrict the existing clots from getting huge.
Doctors may sometimes give medicine to relieve anxiety and pain, lower the cholesterol level and treat arrhythmias. The treatment for heart attack is long lasting because after getting discharged from the hospital, you may have to continue with the medicines on a regular basis along with visiting the cardiac rehabilitation often. You may have to take the pneumococcal vaccine and flu shot every year.
Conducting heart attack diagnosis and treatment once you experience the first symptom can save your life and help you recover quickly.
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.
Cardiovascular disease or heart disease can take different forms: coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart disease/rheumatic fever, valvular heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. As per the records of the World Health Organization, above 17 million people in the world die due to the cardiac disease. This disease is responsible for the death of around fifty percent of population in America and other developed as well as developing countries. All statistics and records state that it is one of the major causes of death among the adults. Risk factors of heart disease in men are quite similar to the risk factors in women; however, use of birth control pills is an additional risk factor for cardiac disease in women.
Cardiovascular disease occurs when arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart get clogged due to the deposition of fatty substance called ‘atheroma’ or ‘plaque’. This substance gradually builds up in the inner wall of the arteries over time, making them narrow. This procedure is called atherosclerosis. Narrowing of the arteries results into the reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle and may develop symptoms like angina. When the blood clot forms into the artery and reduces its diameter, the blood supply to the heart gets restricted, thus increasing the chances of getting a heart attack.
What are the Risk Factors?
The mortality rate due to heart disease is rising day by day and hence people need to become aware of the symptoms and risk factors of heart disease. After carrying out several studies and researches on thousands of people, it is found that there are certain factors that contribute a lot in increasing a person’s prospects of developing coronary artery disease. These are referred as risk factors.
Prospects or risk factors of an individual can be categorized into two types:
1.Controllable Risk Factors: Those that can be controlled by medication or making certain changes in lifestyle.
2.Uncontrollable Risk Factors: Those which cannot be change by making any modifications or changes.
Your prospects of developing heart disease increase along with your risk factors. Fortunately, you can control some of your risk factors through medicines and making certain changes in your lifestyle or both. However, few risk factors cannot be controlled at all.
Controllable Risk Factors and Non Controllable Risk Factors
There are multiple causes of heart disease; and risk factors increase your prospect of developing it. Risk factors that can be controlled are called controllable risk factors, while those that cannot be controlled are called uncontrollable risk factors.
Controllable risk factors involve:
- High level of total blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- Being physically inactive
- Stress, social isolation and depression.
Uncontrollable risk factors involve:
- Gender (men are more prone to heart disease as compared to women)
- Increasing age
- Family of cardiovascular disease
According to some research, Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people also have an elevated risk of coronary heart disease. Taking the prescribed medications and leading a healthy lifestyle can be helpful in reducing the overall risk of developing heart disease.
High Level of Total Blood Cholesterol
Cholesterol is naturally produced in the body. It can also be obtained from some foods. It is a fatty substance that is used for different functioning in the body, but excessive amount of cholesterol in blood may create various cardiac issues.
High level of cholesterol causes fatty substances to gradually accumulate in the coronary arteries, which make them harder, thus restricting the blood flow. This condition mainly occurs due to the intake of foods high in trans and saturated fats.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure mainly depends on two things: how effortlessly the blood runs through the blood vessels and how much blood is pumped by the heart. Pressure of blood in the arteries will decrease and increase throughout the day depending on the activity performed. However, when this pressure is constantly high, a person is said to have high blood pressure. This condition can overload the coronary arteries and heart and speed up the process of artery clogging, which may lead to stroke and heart attack. Along with the arteries, this condition may also affect the other body parts such as kidneys, eyes and legs.
Your eating habits, family history, weight, level of physical activity and alcohol intake have a strong impact on blood pressure. In some cases, medications and drugs, including the contraceptive depot injections, oral contraceptive, arthritis medicines, and steroids, can increase blood pressure. If this medical condition is not treated, it may weaken the heart due to the continuous extra demand and thus may cause heart failure and other serious conditions.
Smoking is not only responsible for causing cancer, but it may also create serious problems related to arteries and other body parts. It can damage the walls of the arteries by reducing the oxygen in the blood. Smoking makes the artery walls as well as the blood stickier, which results into the clumping of blood cells. This may create blockages, making the artery walls narrow, and thus obstructing the blood flow to the heart. Obstruction the blood flow may ultimately result into the various serious conditions such as stroke, heart attack, peripheral arterial disease, gangrene and angina.
- High blood cholesterol
- Coronary heart disease
- Gall bladder disease
- High blood pressure
- Sleeping problems (apnoea)
- Joint problems such as joint pain, arthritis and gout
- Certain forms of cancers
Being apple shaped or carrying extra fats around the middle portion of the body is a major risk for various health issues. So burning the extra fats and balancing the consumed calories by regular workout can help you stay fat free.
It is found that people with coronary artery disease often have type 2 diabetes and combination of both these diseases may make a person prone to stroke, angina and heart attack. It is reported that more people being overweight, with unfavorable eating habits and physically inactive are at greater risk of having diabetes. Diabetic patients may need to maintain their level of glucose in blood by taking medicines and making certain changes in lifestyle.
This condition may develop among the people who do not have social support and are socially isolated. Depression can be controlled with medical as well as non medical treatments.
Age and Gender
Often, men have higher prospects as compare to women for developing cardiovascular disease at middle age and this risk elevates along with the age. Many doctors still wonder why women develop heart disease at a later age; probably the hormonal changes post menopause, in addition with the changes in their risk factors contribute a lot.
Despite your age and gender, you can minimize your chances of getting coronary artery disease if you take the prescribed medicines and follow a healthy lifestyle.
An individual’s genes and family history can elevate their chances to develop:
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Though a family history of heart disease increases one’s prospects of developing it, luckily it does not mean even you will develop it for sure. However, a person with family history of such disease needs to take special care and cut off other risk factors (avoid smoking, stay active, lead a healthy lifestyle and restrict trans and saturated fats).
There are several risk factors of heart disease in men, from which some can be controlled or reduced. Taking medicines as per your doctor’s prescription and adopting certain modifications in your lifestyle can definitely help you to stay healthy.
People often tend to think that heart disease occurs only in men, but this is not true. The reality is that cardiovascular disease is one of the fatal diseases in women as well. Considering this fact, it is significant for women of all ages (particularly above 40 years) to understand the risk factors of heart disease in women and take the required steps and measures regrading it.
Unfortunately, the death ratio of women due to cardiovascular disease and stroke is more than men. To protect the health of your heart and keep your prospects of developing heart related diseases as low as possible, it is essentially significant for you to keep a track of the risk factors and try to control them. Women should be always be alert about the leading threats to their health care. Somethings you always need to keep in mind are that certain risk factors contribute highly for developing heart problems in women as compared to men. Although heart attack in women mostly occurs in early seventies, cardiac disorder is a threat at any age. The death rate of women due to cardiovascular disease is more prominent than breast cancer. All these facts and numbers point towards only one thing: you need to learn which stroke and heart disease risk factors should be your point of concern as a woman and which can be controlled? Let’s take an overall look.
Leading Risk Factors of Heart Disease in Women
These risk factors cause problems in both men and women; however, studies state that they may contribute to a large extent to develop cardiac problems in women.
Diabetes: Women with diabetes are 4 to 5 times more prone to heart disease than women without diabetes. Meanwhile, men with diabetes are two times more elevated to heart problem as compared to the men without diabetes.
Decrease in the Level of Estrogen: Diabetes and lower levels of estrogen in women are linked with each other. Younger women who have diabetes tend to have decreased estrogen level and an abnormal ovulation cycle. This is mostly due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); even older women who are diabetic have some history of a hormonal imbalance. As per studies, it is observed that women who have a history of PCOS are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Experts still completely don’t understand the link between heart health and estrogen level.
Depression: This is often linked with higher prospects. Doctors have still not confirmed if here is any biological basis for the connection or it’s because people under depression tend to skip workout, smoke often, miss appointments of doctors, and eat unhealthy foods, which as a result increase the risk of developing cardiac disease. More women undergo depression as compared to men, so it creates a huge impact on prospects of women.
Birth Control Pills: Use of birth control pills, especially if you smoke, will increase the level of C0 reactive protein (CRP).
Traditional Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease in Women
These factors equally contribute in increasing the risk of getting cardiovascular disease in both, men and women
Family History: If any your parents had or have heart related disorder, your prospects of getting it increases. Risk also tends to be greater for Mexican Americans, Native Hawaiians, Native Americans, African Americans and few Asian Americans.
Age: Above 83 percent of people who are prone to death due to cardiovascular disease are above the age of 55.
Obesity or Overweight: Even if you are away from other risk factors, being obese or overweight increases your chances of heart disease, especially if you have accumulated fats around the mid-section of your body.
High Cholesterol Level: As the level of the cholesterol in your body goes up, your prospects for cardiac disease also raises.
High Blood Pressure: When the blood pressure raises, the heart has to perform harder. This creates pressure on the heart and thus elevates your risk.
Metabolic Syndrome: According to the definition, a combination of two or more of these risk factors–insulin resistance, a large waistline, elevated triglyceride levels and low levels of required cholesterol–increase the risk for cardiac disorder, but the risk for men as well women is equal. Metabolic syndrome also elevates the chances for diabetes.
Although cardiovascular disease is often considered as a problem for men, a large number of women as compared to men die every year due to this medical condition. The warning signs of heart disease in women may be different from the signs in men. Luckily, women can take the required measures to understand their unique signs. Heart disease should not be treated as any other less threatening medical condition. Try to find your risks and take as much efforts you can to minimize your risk of developing this type of disease.
What are the Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease in Women ?
Pressure, pain and discomfort in the chest are some of the most common signs of heart disease. Moreover, in women, it’s not always extreme or the most prominent sign. Women often develop “atypical heart diseases symptoms” such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual fatigue
- Pain in throat or jaw
- Pain in upper abdomen, indigestion
- Feeling of nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Pain in shoulder, neck and upper back
- Arm pain (particularly in the left arm)
These signs are more elusive than the usual squeezing chest pain commonly associated with heart attack. Since women do not show severe symptoms, their heart problems remain unnoticed and thus untreated for a long time. Women often tend to have obstructions not only in the major arteries, but also in the minor arteries through which blood is supplied to the heart. This condition is referred as micro-vascular disease or small vessel heart disorder.
Many women visit their doctor after much damage to the heart. This is because their symptoms are subtle and do not typically indicate heart related diseases. If you undergo any of these signs or think you may be at risk of getting a heart attack, call 911 or emergency medical aid quickly. Call and try to go in an ambulance instead of driving yourself.
Does Heart Disease Occur Only in Older Women?
No. Women below the age of 60 who have diabetes or have family history of cardiovascular disease should be more concerned about their risk factors. Heart disease may occur at any age and thus women of all ages need to be alert about it.
What Measures Should be Taken to Lower the Risk ?
- Follow a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay active and perform regular workout
- Quit smoking
- Reduce or cut off the intake of foods rich in fats and cholesterol
Other than these measures, you may require to take prescribed drugs and medications regularly. This may include aspirin, blood thinners and blood pressure medications. Some women prefer to take supplements (omega-3 fatty acids) for reducing the risk.
So, in all it can be said that the risk factors of heart disease in women can be reduced by taking certain measures and maintaining conditions like high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure that increase your risk for cardiac disorders.
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.