Posted On : April 23, 2019
Heart disease is a term which encompasses all the issues, disorders and deformities in the heart. These include problems with the structure and functions of the heart.
The various types of heart diseases are:
• Arrhytmia: This is a condition characterized by an irregular heartbeat. This includes tachycardia (very fast heartbeats) and bradycardia (very slow heartbeats). This is caused due to electrolyte imbalance, improper electrical impulses in the heart, changes in the heart muscle or adter-effects of heart surgery or disease. Premature ventricular contractions, or skipped heartbeat, are the most common arrhythmias.
• Coronary Artery Disease: This is the most common type of heart disease in which the blood vessels that carry blood, oxygen and nutrients to and from the heart become damaged. This occurs due to the plaque deposits in the inner walls of the arteries, which in turn reduces the blood flow in them, gradually leading to the reduced blood supply to the heart. The most common cause of this condition is smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle.
• Congenital Heart Diseases: This is an umbrella term describing various deformities that are present in the heart since birth. These include obstruction of blood flow through the heart’s chambers, septal defect (hole between the two chambers of the heart). Although there are no known causes, some risk factors which make the occurrence of this condition likely include genetic defects such as Down Syndrome, alcoholism, drug abuse or other heart infections during pregnancy.
• Cardiomyopathy: In this, the heart muscle is damaged to an extent that the heart becomes incapable of pumping blood to all the parts of the body. Dilated cardiomyopathy is one in which the heart muscle becomes weak and the heart chambers become dilated, and usually affect the left ventricle. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the wall of the left ventricle thickens, making it hard to pump blood out of the heart.
• Pericardial Disease: This affects the sac that surrounds the heart, usually due to a viral infection, or inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
• Myocardial Infarction: Also known in common parlance as heart attack, this condition describes a partly damaged heart mucle due to an interrupted blood flow. This is usually caused due to a clot in any of the arteries.
• Heart Valve Disease: There are four valves located one in each chamber of rhe heart responsible for maintaining forward flow of the blood. There are many types of valve diseases, such as valvular stenosis(heart valve doesn’t open fully leading to heart failure), valvular Insufficiency(a valve doesn’t close tightly) etc.
Some of the common signs and indicators of heart disease are:
• Chest discomfort (Angina), such as pain, tightness and pressure
• Shortness of breath
• Indigestion and/or stomach pain
• Pain in the left side of the body, jaws, upper neck and throat
• Swelling and/or numbness in the limbs
• Dizziness and fainting
• Changes in the heart rhythm
Of course, some specific diseases might include select symptoms, but these symptoms are common for all kinds of heart diseases.
Although the likelohood of getting affected by any of the heart diseases can be reduced by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is no way of completely safeguarding oneself from them.
Here are some of the factors which bump up the chances of getting affected by any of the heart diseases:
• Age: One of the biggest and the most unavoidable risk factors, the likelihood of heart diseases increases proportionally with the age.
• Family history: This often has a bearing on the chances of developing any of the heart diseases.
• Gender: Numerous studies have shown that males are at a greater risk of developing heart diseases compared to women.
• Smoking: This habit is a welcome mat for all kinds of cardiac conditions, including heart attacks, stroke and coronary heart disease.
• Obesity: Along with smoking, this is one of the biggest aggravators for heart attacks and other serious cardiac conditions.
• Unhealthy dietary habits: Consuming processed foods, rich in refined carbohydrates, unhealthy oils and fats, and sodium are harmful for the heart. Instead, try to include lots of fruits, vegetables, fibre and roughage in your diet.
• Lack of exercise: A sedentary lifestyle weakens your heart muscles and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
The best safeguards against heart diseases are prophylactic measures such as not smoking, a healthy diet an exercise regimen and not indulging in alcoholism or intake of drugs. However, notwithstanding these, surgery and doctor-prescribed medications are one of the preferred ways to treat heart disease.
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