7 Types of Heart Diseases

Besides the regular heart attack that most of us are aware of, there are other numerous problems that can go wrong with the heart.

Cardiovascular Disease

This is a condition where the arteries feeding the heart muscle, called coronary arteries, become damaged, leading to poor blood circulation, and many times causing a heart attack. For more information refer this post about the cardiovascular system and related diseases.

Angina

This is similar to cardiovascular disease. It is a condition where the coronaries arteries are partially blocked, but not completely. It is a condition that must be diagnosed by a cardiologists through a variety of tests. For more information refer to angina.

Arrhythmia

The heart rhythm is controlled by a bundle of cells on the heart muscle called the sino atrial (SA) node. Although everyone is a bit different, the normal resting heart rate is between 60-80 beats per minute. Malfunctioning of the SA node results in either bradycardia (lower than normal) or in tachycardia (faster than normal). Bradycardia can result in poor circulation, tiredness, dizziness, and fainting. Tachycardia can result in palpitations. Treatment of this condition is usually treated with medications, lifestyle alterations (e.g. less caffeine, less stress), and sometimes surgery.

Cardiomyopathy

This condition is defined as damaged heart muscle, which results in week muscle walls, and a decreased ability to function properly. It can be a thickening of the heart walls, or the walls become weak, or the walls become stiff. Regardless, it results in the heart not being able to pump as effectively. Some of the warning signs can include things like weakness, feeling tired, fast but weaker pulse, shortness of breath, etc. Treatment can include medication and surgery.

Congenital Heart Failure

When the heart is not strong enough to pump blood adequately it can result in blood pooling in areas that it shouldn't be, e.g. the lungs resulting i what's called pulmonary edema, which is life threatening. Congenital heart failure is the result of weak heart muscle. This can occur because of heart disease, high blood pressure, infection, malfunction of the valves, drugs, or diabetes. Treatment usually involves medications or surgery.

Malfunctioning Valves

Valves in the heart prevent blood from flowing the opposite direction. If these valves do not close properly then blood may 'back flow.' Although these valves are very strong and durable, they can be susceptible to damage. Back flow can cause poor circulation, characterized by things such as weakness, out of breath, dizziness, chest pain, etc. Stenosis is narrowing of the valves and blood flow is hampered. Prolapsed is where the valves do not close evenly, like a door not lining up with its frame.

Pericarditis

The heart is surrounded by a membrane. When this membrane becomes infected it is called pericarditis. Sometimes the condition goes away on its own, other times medication is required. The danger of pericarditis is that it may affect the proper functioning of the heart.

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