heart disease

What Is Heart Disease?

The human heart is built for amazing endurance, but like any other part of the body, it is vulnerable to breakdowns.

Heart problems vary widely in their nature and severity. They may be transient or chronic, slow-developing or sudden, merely inconvenient or fatal. Some types of heart disease, closely linked to diet and lifestyle choices, are preventable; others are due to heredity, infections, or other uncontrollable factors.

The following is a list of the most common types of heart disease:

  • Coronary Artery Disease - Coronary artery disease, the most common of all heart problems, is characterized by blockages in the coronary arteries the arteries that supply blood to the heart that result in a reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle, depriving it of vital oxygen. Usually, the disease stems from atherosclerosis, a condition sometimes called hardening of the arteries.
  • Heart Arrhythmias - Arrhythmias are disturbances in the heart's normal beating pattern. The irregularities occur in many forms, each with its own potential causes and treatments. Serious arrhythmias are a frequent consequence of other heart ailments, but may also occur independently.
  • Heart Failure - The term heart failure does not mean that the heart has "failed" or stopped working. Rather, it means that the heart does not pump blood as well as it should to meet the body's needs. Heart failure is usually caused by coronary artery disease, but it can also be caused by thyroid disease, high blood pressure, or heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), among other conditions.
  • Heart Valve Disease - The heart has four valves ( pulmonary, mitral, tricuspid, and aortic) that open and close to direct blood flow between the heart's four chambers, the lungs, and connected blood vessels. A defective valve may fail either to open properly, obstructing blood flow (stenosis or obstruction), or to close properly, allowing blood leakage. Congenital heart disease and various infections, including rheumatic fever, are among the causes of valve disorders.


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