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Types of Heart Disease

Updated on July 6, 2014

What is heart disease and which type do you have?

Heart disease is an ailment that involves the heart, arteries and veins. It is considered the world's number one killer, claiming 7.1 million lives every year. Find out in this lens the risk factors for heart disease.

Cardiovascular diseases can be treated by different specialized physicians depending on the cardiovascular organ system that is affected. These specialists are cardiologists, thoracic surgeons, vascular surgeons, neurologists, and interventional radiologists.

Could you be suffering from Heart Aneurysm?

If you experience severe headache, blurred and double vision, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, drooping eyelids, sensitivity to light, confusion and loss of consciousness, you might be having the symptoms of a type of heart disease called aortic aneurysm.

What is Heart Aneurysm?

Heart aneurysms, also called aortic aneurysms, are bulges found in the walls of the blood vessels of the heart. The bulges develop on the walls of the main artery that carries blood from the left ventricle of the heart and on the walls of arteries at the base of the brain. Severe hemorrhage occurs when the bulges increase in size and eventually rupture. Having aneurysm is hereditary or it can be caused by an ailment.

Causes of heart aneurysm:

Aneurysm of the heart occurs when there's a sudden blood rush against an injured or damaged portion of the arteries.

How to treat aortic aneurysm

Medicines used to treat hypertension are also used to treat heart aneurysms that measure 5 1/2 cms.or smaller and those that do not pose a danger of tearing. An example of medicines used are beta blockers which are known to inhibit the occurrence of aneuryms. Surgery is not recommended because minor aneurysms are less likely to rupture.

Your physician will advice you to stop smoking if you're currently a smoker, to stop drinking, to follow a low-sodium, low-fat diet and to engage in physical activity that will increase heart rate, also called pulse or the number of times the heart beats within one minute.

Or is it Angina Pectoris?

What is Angina?

Angina, short for angina pectoris, is acute pain that you feel on the chest due to lack of oxygen entering the muscles of the heart caused by obstruction of the coronary arteries.

This type of heart disease is not considered an illness but merely a manifestation of a more serious disease which is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). CHD which is the main cause of angina pectoris, is caused by atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries of the heart.

There are 2 types of Angina:

Stable and Unstable angina

Stable angina occurs when you are engaged in some form of physical exertion, where the heart has to pump faster to be able to catch enough oxygen. The symptom disappears when the physical activity is stopped.

Unstable angina is the kind that gets worse as the disease progresses and is caused by atherosclerosis or hardening of the arterial walls of the heart.

Angina Symptoms:

People suffering from angina do not experience actual chest pain, but they do feel some chest discomfort characterized by a heavy and tight feeling on the chest, a burning and squeezing sensation, and pressure. The patient also complains of pain on the shoulders, neck, back, jaw and the upper middle portion of the abdomen called the epigastrium.

How to treat angina pectoris

Nitrates, particularly nitroglycerin, are medicines used to treat angina due to their ability to dilate blood vessels and relax the muscles of the heart making blood to flow freely to the heart without overburdening it.

Nitroglycerins can be obtained in the form of pills or patches. Those that can be placed under the tongue or gums are most commonly given to those who suffer from angina attacks for their immediate effect. Patches are not usually given for sudden angina attacks because they are slow to provide relief to the patient.

If you are currently suffering from mild angina attacks and it is manageable, you probably don't need expensive medications to treat the symptoms. Doctors say you only need to undergo a change in your lifestyle. You need to avoid activities that would trigger angina attacks.

Could it be Arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia happens when a person's heart beat irregularly, too fast or too slow. This type of heart disease is characterized by the irregular beating of the heart due to abnormal electrical activity in the heart. Some people may experience symptoms of arrythmia but some may not.

When the heart beat is less than 60 per minute, which is abnormally slow, the condition is called bradycardia. When the heart beat is more than 100 per minute which is abnormally fast, the condition is called tachycardia.

Causes of arrhythmia:

This type of heart disease happens when the nerve cells responsible for producing electricity needed for a normal heartbeat are damaged, consequently blocking electrical signals that cause the heart to beat normally. It can also happen when other parts of the heart produces electricity which could disturb the normal beating of a person's heart.

For some people, excessive alcohol consumption, use of prohibited drugs, use of prescription drugs, smoking, too much caffeine and nicotine could be the cause of arrhythmia.

Symptoms of arrhythmia:

The most common symptoms of arrhythmia are palpitations or rapid beating of the heart. The patient also suffers from chest pain and shortness of breath and sometimes even loses consciousness.

How to treat arrhythmia:

Arrhythmia can be treated with medication, appropriate medical procedures and sometimes surgery.

Or maybe Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a term that is applicable to any disease that affects the heart. It is a condition where functions of the myocardium or heart muscles are affected by many factors.

Types of Cardiomyopathy:

Hypertropic cardiomyopathy

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia

The disease can be acquired or inherited.

Causes: Medical experts say that generally, the cause of cardiomyopathy is not known but the cause of this disease can be identified in some individuals based on the heart disease risk factors that contributed to their disease such as:

Accumulation of iron deposits in the heart muscles

Lack of vitamin B1, magnesium, calcium and selenium

Alcohol and substance abuse

Disease of the thyroid glands

Diabetes

Symptoms of Cardiomyopathy:

Shortness of breath

Difficulty breathing, chest pain and sometimes fainting especially during physical activity

Feeling of fatigue

Swelling in the legs, feet, ankles, abdomen and veins in the neck

Dizziness

Heart murmurs

Treatment:

Medications:

Cardiomyopathy can be treated with different kinds of medicines. Your doctor may give you medications to bring down an elevated blood pressure, to prevent inflammation, to prevent blood coagulation, to make your heart beat at a normal pace, to maintain your body's electrolyte level, to prevent the accumulation of body fluids and sodium, and to make your heart beat slower.

Surgery

Non-surgical procedure:

Do you have Congenital Heart Disease?

Congenital heart disease is a type of heart disease that is present the moment the child is born. It is a condition where the normal function of the heart is adversely affected to the disadvantage of the newborn baby.

Causes:

Gongenital heart disease is caused by genetic and environmental factors or it can be caused by both. If either of your parents have congenital heart disease, then you could have it, too.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of congenital heart disease should be detected early at birth but there are babies who do not show the symptoms until their old age. Generally, however CHD patients would manifest signs of heart murmur, cyanosis and fainting spells.

Heart murmurs are sounds produced inside the heart caused by abnormal blood circulation and can be heard best by using a stethoscope. These sounds can be caused by abnormal-functioning heart valves and blood vessels that allow blood to circulate near the heart area.

Cyanosis is characterized by the blue coloring of the skin caused by low oxygen content on the surface of the skin. When a patient's lips or fingers suddenly turn blue, he should be given first aid within 3 to 5 minutes to prevent the onset of hypoxia, a state where the body's blood circulation is in critical condition.

Fainting spells occur

Or maybe Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure occurs when the body fails to pump blood necessary for the proper functioning of the body. In this condition the heart no longer works efficiently making the person always feeling tired and short of breath.

Causes:

Cardiac arrest

Various forms of ischemic heart disease

Cardiomyopathy

Hypertension

Valvular heart disease

Symptoms:

Difficulty of breathing

Loss of appetite

Weight gain

Cough

Swelling of the feet

Swelling of the abdomen

Sleep disorder

How do you treat congestive heart failure?

Completely eliminating the symptoms and preventing further aggravation of the disease is the best way to manage this type of heart disease. Giving more attention to treating the common causes such as excessive alcohol consumption, certain infections, anemia, hypertension, and arrhythmia, can completely cure the disease.

Or Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease is a condition where the heart is not able to provide sufficient supply of blood to the heart muscles and the tissues surrounding them. It is the most common form of heart ailment and the leading cause of death in the US and Europe.

It is caused by atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries brought about by years of smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and high levels of lipoproteins in the blood.

Coronary heart disease, various types of cancer, major depression and aging are health issues characterized by the body's increased level of interleukin 1.

A high level of homocysteine content in the blood can lead to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease but this can be prevented by including the correct amount of folic acid in the diet.

Causes: Coronary heart disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque in the artery walls leading to the heart. This condition is called atherosclerosis. The accumulation of these harmful deposits cause the artery walls to narrow down making it difficult for blood to flow freely to the heart.

Periodontal disease and impotence are two disorders that are related to heart disease.

Symptoms:

- chest pain that occurs after eating or after physical exertion

- breathing problems

- heartburn

- swollen arms and legs

How do you treat Coronary Heart Disease?

Heart Attack

Heart attack, the number one killer in the United states today happens when the heart is deprived of oxygen. It happens when a person is already suffering from coronary artery disease a condition where plaque has accumulated on the walls of arteries.

Causes of heart attack:

The most common cause of a heart attack is a clogged artery. It happens when a blood clot, caused by plaque that has accumulated in the walls of the artery, prevents blood that carries life-giving oxygen from flowing to the heart.

Symptoms of heart attack:

The most common manifestation that you are having a heart attack is chest pain. The pain may be felt in just one area of the body or it could radiate from the chest area to other parts of the body near your heart such as the shoulders, arms, neck, it could extend to the stomach area and even your teeth could be affected.

Other symptoms are palpitations, shortness of breath, fainting spells, heavy sweating, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, cough and feelings of anxiety.

Irregular beating of the heart called arrhythmia is the most common cause of death in a heart attack.

There is a kind of heart attack that has no symptoms, appropriately called silent heart attack.

How do you treat heart attack?

Immediately following a heart attack, the patient will be given oxygen to support his heart. He will be given medications to ease the chest pain and intravenous therapy to allow medicines to pass though his veins.

Angioplasty is a medical intervention that declog the arteries of plaque and other debris that have accumulated in the arterial walls This will allow blood to flow to the heart freely and without obstruction.

The link below talks about the potential risks that a person with heart disease faces. The important information here might just save your life:

7 Risks for Stroke and Heart Attack

Do you have High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition where there is high pressure on the blood in the arteries. If you have a persistently high blood pressure, this can lead to heart failure, stroke, aneurysm, and myocardial infarction. It can also lead to kidney failure. HIgh blood pressure is classified into primary and secondary hypertension.

High blood pressure is related to obesity and diabetes two conditions characterized by insulin resistance.

Causes:

High blood pressure can be classified as primary and secondary hypertension based on what causes it.

Primary hypertension is caused by the natural process of aging. This is more prevalent among adolescents especially those whose parents have a history of high blood pressure and obesity.

Secondary hypertension occurs as an interplay of several environmental factors, and genetics. This is more prevalent among pre-adolescents or what we call tweens especially those suffering from some kind of kidney disease.

Symptoms:

The most common symptoms of hypertension are headaches which are felt at the back of the neck or nape, vertigo, fainting episodes, abnormal vision, and sometimes tinnitus.

How do you treat High Blood Pressure?

A person who is hypertensive is always advised to make a complete lifestyle change which could be initially difficult to do. This lifestyle change would include change in diet and food intake, embarking on an exercise program and losing weight.

Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Peripheral arterial disease, also called peripheral vascular disease is a condition where large arteries of the body are blocked with plaque that has accumulated on the artery walls. This plaque is made up of cholesterol, fibrous tissues, fats, calcium and other substances found in the blood and mostly concentrated in the legs and feet.

PAD, also called Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease has different stages:

Stage I - Incomplete blood vessel obstruction

Stage II - Mild claudification

Stage IIA - Distance of claudification is greater than 200 meters

Stage IIB - Distance of claudification is less than 200 meters

Stage III - There is rest pain felt mainly in the feet

Stage IV - Gangrene or necrosis of the limb

Causes of PAD:

1. Hypertension

2. High cholesterol and high triglyceride levels

3. Diabetes

4. Smoking

Symptoms of PAD:

1. Reduced growth of nails and hair in the feet

2. Ulcers and sores in the feet

3. Bluish or brownish color of skin in the legs

4. Numbing and pain caused by less blood flowing to the legs called claudification

How do you treat Peripheral Arterial Disease?

The first thing to do when PAD is detected is to stop smoking. If you have high blood pressure, diabetic or have a high cholesterol level, you need to treat these diseases to prevent PAD from getting worse.

Regular exercise is recommended to those experiencing claudification to ease the pain and numbness in the leg area.

Stroke

Stroke, which used to be called cerebrovascular accident is a condition where the brain suddenly loses its functions due to insufficient supply of blood to the brain. This leads to paralysis of one side or both sides of the body, slurred speech and visual problems.

There are two types of stroke, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Ischemic stroke occurs when there is insufficient supply of blood to the brain while hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. A large percentage of stroke cases are ischemic in nature and the rest is by hemorrhagic stroke

Causes of stroke:

In Ischemic stroke, the problem lies on the blood supply to the brain which is almost nil and could be due to:

1. a blood clot which obstructs the flow of blood in the blood vessels, called thrombosis

2. an embolous substance or waste material that prevents the flow of blood, called embolism

3. the body's sudden drop in the supply of blood, called systemic hypoperfusion

4. another type of blood clot that occurs in the passageways where blood from the brain is drained.

Symptoms:

How do you treat Stroke?

I want to hear from you. Thanks.

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    • rox19 profile image

      rox19 4 years ago

      @rox19: While some genetic and environmental factors are known to increase the risk of congenital heart disease, in most cases no obvious cause can be found.

    • rox19 profile image

      rox19 4 years ago

      Hi! Very interesting lense - thank you!

      Just one thing thought - Congenital heart disease (or defect) are NOT caused by enveromental or genetic factors. It caused by distruption when heart developing.

      http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Congenital-heart-dise...

      I have a child with CHD. She is 2.5 years old. of course i know a lot CHD children. Of course i spoke to specialist and i did ask question what every parent ask when they told about CHD - WHY?!?! The specialist doctors ALL saying that it nothing to do with genetic or anything else, its just the way she developed. Happy to discuss.

    • glenbrook profile image

      glenbrook 5 years ago

      Lots of good info here. My dad almost died from heart disease, fortunately it was caught in time and he had bypass surgery (24 years ago) and is still here.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      This is a excellent lens on all the different types of heart diseases, I never knew there were so many. Great reading for February american heart month. Thanks for sharing. Blessed

    • momscorner profile image
      Author

      momscorner 6 years ago

      @anonymous: thanks for visiting my lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Heart disease runs in my family. To have a concise yet articulate summary of a few of the kinds of heart problems makes me even more determined to fight them all. Thanks for sharing.

      Darvocet Lawsuit

    • retro-gamer profile image

      Howard 6 years ago from Michigan

      Very informative. I wish everyone would take their heart health seriously. Heart related issues run in my family so it has personal meaning to me. Eat right, exercise and quitting smoking will help you immensely. Hopefully it will help my quality/length of life in the future by doing preventitive care of my body and heart.

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      My mom and my dar have high blood pressure and my mom had two heart attacks, now she is fine.