Heart disease

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Heart disease refers to a range of diseases affecting the heart. Different forms of heart diseases manifest through varying symptoms, causes, and treatment approaches.

Types of Heart Diseases[edit | edit source]

Heart disease encompasses several conditions:

Coronary heart disease: Occurs due to the accumulation of atheromatous plaques within the arteries supplying the myocardium. Ischaemic heart disease: Characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart. Cardiovascular disease: Encompasses conditions affecting the heart and/or blood vessels. Notable diseases under this umbrella include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Pulmonary heart disease: Involves failure of the heart's right side. Hereditary heart disease Hypertensive heart disease Inflammatory heart disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)[edit | edit source]

Coronary artery disease is a result of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries, primarily composed of cholesterol deposits. This buildup, also known as atherosclerosis, narrows the arteries over time.

This narrowing can reduce blood flow, leading to symptoms like angina, which is chest pain or discomfort. Angina is the most frequent manifestation of CAD. Progressed CAD can cause heart muscle weakening, potentially leading to heart failure or irregular heart rhythms, known as arrhythmias.

Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms[edit | edit source]

Notable symptoms of a heart attack include:

Jaw, neck, or back pain or discomfort. A sensation of weakness, light-headedness, or faintness. Chest pain. Arm or shoulder pain or discomfort. Breathing difficulties. Uncommon symptoms can involve unusual fatigue, nausea, or vomiting. Notably, these are more frequent in women.

Emergency Procedure: If these symptoms manifest, immediately call 9-1-1. Prompt emergency room visits can prevent or minimize heart muscle damage. CPR or defibrillation might be required in some instances, and early treatment increases survival chances.

Diagnosing CAD[edit | edit source]

For CAD risk assessment, health professionals might evaluate blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. Risk factors include being overweight, inactive lifestyle, poor diet, and smoking. Family history also plays a pivotal role.

Tests for CAD[edit | edit source]

Standard tests for diagnosing CAD are:

Test Function

ECD or EKG (electrocardiogram) Assesses the electrical activity and rhythm of the heart. Echocardiogram Uses ultrasound to visualize the heart. Exercise stress test Evaluates heart rate during treadmill walking, gauging heart performance under strain. Chest X-ray Provides imagery of the chest's organs. Cardiac catheterization Investigates artery blockages using a thin tube inserted through an artery. Also measures heart blood pressure and evaluates chamber blood flow. Coronary angiogram Checks coronary artery blood flow and blockages using X-rays after dye injection via cardiac catheterization. }

Heart Disease Facts[edit | edit source]

With heart disease, arterial plaque buildup narrows arteries, impeding or blocking blood flow. Plaques can rupture, causing blood clots, further obstructing blood flow.

Heart Disease in the United States[edit | edit source]

Statistical insights:

Heart disease accounts for about 610,000 deaths annually in the U.S., constituting 1 in every 4 deaths. Predominantly affecting both genders, heart disease led to over half of its 2009 casualties among men.1 Coronary heart disease (CHD) is predominant, causing over 370,000 deaths yearly. Approximately 735,000 Americans experience a heart attack annually, with 525,000 being their first and 210,000 being recurrent.

Reducing Your Risk for CAD[edit | edit source]

For those with CAD, the following risk reduction measures are advised:

Lifestyle modifications, encompassing a healthier diet, enhanced physical activity, and abstaining from smoking. Medications for addressing CAD risk factors like high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, arrhythmias, and low blood flow. Surgeries to restore heart blood flow.

See also[edit | edit source]

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD