Apr 4, 2017

What are the different types of heart diseases?

heart disease

Types of Heart Diseases

 “India is currently witnessing nearly two million heart attacks a year, and majority of the victims are youngsters,” said Dr. Ashwani Mehta, Senior Cardiologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. The situation is so severe and alarming that an individual dies every 33 seconds owing to a heart attack in India.

Heart disease is an umbrella term which addresses conditions and disorders that affect the structuring and functioning of the heart in some way or the other. Common known heart conditions include heart failure, heart valve diseases, congenital heart diseases, heart muscle diseases or irregular heart rhythms. Of these different types of heart diseases, some are a result of lifestyle disorder and are inherent in nature. While on the other hand, many others develop over a period and take a bigger shape in the later stages of life.

In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, where everyone is always on the go, individuals pay the least attention to their health, and hence, the chances of suffering from a cardiac problem are highly plausible. But there’s a silver lining in the dark sky. Most pathology labs offer the advantage of booking a heart disease test online. This means that all you need to do is provide a sample for diagnosis to a path technician at the comfort of your home or pay a visit to the pathology lab at an agreed time and steer away from long waiting hours.

Let’s understand different types of heart diseases – their symptoms, causes, and treatments that follow.

Angina: The primary cause of Angina is the accumulation of plaque in the walls of arteries which narrow down or restrict the flow of blood to the heart muscles. To make up for the limited supply of blood, the heart starts beating faster and harder. The symptoms of heart attack and that of Angina are more or less similar, making it difficult to detect the exact condition at the time of emergency. To diagnose Angina before it worsens, it’s best to get tested against it on a regular basis. Book a heart disease test online with a pathology lab and rest assured.

Arrhythmia: Primary causes of Arrhythmia typically include damage to the heart’s electrical conduction system, congenital heart defects, and other types of heart diseases. In this condition, the heart’s electrical impulses which coordinate heartbeats dysfunction, making it either beat too fast, too slow or erratically. The symptoms of Arrhythmia are usually not visible until a later stage. However, in some rare cases, patients experience dizziness, skipped heart beats, and irregular palpitations.

Atrial Fibrillation: Atrial Fibrillation is regarded as one of the main types of heart diseases and also a common type of Arrhythmia. In this case, the impure (deoxygenated) blood flows through the body due to mismatched electrical signals. This usually happens when the built-in pacemaker sends mismatched impulses.

High Blood Pressure: The blood pressure frequently changes according to the pace at which our heart relaxes and expands while pumping the blood. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a kind of cardiac condition. In this state, the blood flows through the blood vessels at a faster pace which leads to an increased pressure in the arteries. If this condition persists for a long period, then it might damage the arteries or other blood vessels and increase the risk of a stroke or a heart attack. At times the condition turns out to be so severe that it may even damage organs like the brain, eyes and the kidney. It is usually recommended to keep the blood pressure lower than 120/80. Main causes of high blood pressure are lifestyle changes such as excessive consumption of salt, alcohol, lack of physical activities, and being overweight.

Cardiomyopathy: It is a disease of the heart muscles wherein the muscles become rigid, enlarged, or thicker than normal. With time the heart of the cardiomyopathy patient weakens, and the risk of a heart failure increases. This is because the heart loses its ability to pump blood in an appropriate manner and quantity.

High Cholesterol: Cholesterol is nothing but a type of fat that circulates in the blood. To work properly, one should maintain a healthy level of cholesterol in the body. But increased levels lead to Atherosclerosis. In this condition, the plaque gets accumulated in the walls of the arteries narrowing the path for blood flow. Over a period, the plaque hardens to the extent that it cracks and forms a clot. This clot blocks the artery leading to a heart stroke or a heart attack.

Heart Valve Problem: This condition arises when the heart valves don’t work the way they have to. They ensure that the blood flows unidirectionally. The heart valve problem can be congenital in nature, i.e., it might have developed before birth or one might have obtained it in due course of time. In some cases, the cause of heart valve disease remains unknown for a long period or maybe a lifetime. While, in some cases, the symptoms are clearly visible at an early stage itself. Of all the different types of heart diseases, the most common congenital heart disease is a bicuspid aortic valve disease and acquired heart valve disease includes rheumatic fever or endocarditis.

Myocardial Infarction: Also known as a heart attack, it is one of the most common types of heart diseases known. In the case of Myocardial Infarction, the heart muscles either get damaged or stop functioning because of lack of proper supply of oxygen or blood. If the blockage is for a brief period, the damage is reversible in nature. On the other hand, if it persists, the damage cannot be reversed. Timely medical treatment is imperative. Failure to do so can lead to the death of the sufferer.

Most common warning signs of a heart attack include intense pain or pressure, squeezing in the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, nausea, fainting, excessive sweating, uncontrolled heartbeat and shortness of breath.

Heart Failure (Congestive heart failure or CHF): The main function of the heart is to pump blood, and supply oxygen and vital nutrients to the different parts of the body. When the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the requirement of the body, the condition of a heart failure arises. Heart failure is not something that occurs abruptly. Instead, it gradually worsens over a period. It’s just that we fail to observe the symptoms beforehand. It is highly advised to get a checkup done once in every two months. Opt for a heart disease test online service and rest assured. Causes of a heart failure can be many – Cardiomyopathies (diseases that damage the heart muscles), diabetes, congenital heart diseases, coronary arteries and even high blood pressure.

Symptoms of Heart Diseases

Heart diseases are termed as “silent killers” because their symptoms are not easy to detect. Some common heart disease symptoms are as follows:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest pain lasting more than few minutes
  • Uncontrolled/ irregular heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath

In the case of congenital heart disease symptoms such as skin discoloration, swelling in legs, and shortness of breath just at the start of any physical activity can be experienced or witnessed.

Causes of Heart Diseases

Different types of heart diseases are a result of various types of causes – congenital, valvular or maybe just a cardiovascular disease. However, there’s something common that flows through all – smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, drug abuse, diabetes, stress, coronary arteries, high blood pressure and heart infections caused by bacteria, virus or parasite. In the case of Cardiomyopathy, the primary cause is thickening or enlargement of heart muscles.

Treatment of Heart Diseases

Treatment of a heart disease primarily includes a change in one’s lifestyle and regular intake of prescribed medications. Some recommended lifestyle changes as listed below:

  • A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Opt for foods with low fat, cholesterol, and sodium content in order to keep a check on the blood pressure level.
  • Physical activities must make for an essential part of one’s daily routine to maintain a healthy weight, decrease cholesterol levels and also the risk of diabetes.
  • Reduce consumption of alcohol.
  • One must quit smoking as well as drug abuse.
  • Stress levels must be managed through meditation, exercises or stress management therapy.
Prevention of Heart Diseases

Prevention is better than cure. The best way to steer away from heart diseases is to take necessary measures and inculcate certain lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, avoiding trans-fat or bad cholesterol, reducing the intake of salt, sugar and saturated fats in food. The larger portion of one’s daily food intake must contain vegetables, fruits, and fibre. Any fluctuations in weight should be considered as a warning sign, especially in the case of an obese person. Thus, a regular health checkup is recommended. Nowadays one can book a heart disease test online and also avail home collection facility provided by the pathology labs.

Diagnosing Heart Diseases

Different types of heart diseases can be diagnosed in different ways. The best way to detect a problem is to opt for a cardiovascular disease test online. Based on the symptoms and a doctor’s recommendation, one must get the prescribed tests done for the diagnosis of the problem. Commonly recommended tests include the following:

  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan: With the help of an X-ray cross-sectional views of the heart is captured.
  • Echocardiogram: In this test, ultrasound waves are used to monitor the flow of blood through the heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): It is used to diagnose the problem associated with the heart’s rhythm.
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): In this test, powerful magnets and radio waves are used to create an image of the heart and tissues surrounding it.
  • Holter Monitoring: For 24 to 72 hours a portable device is worn by an individual to record the continuous ECG.

Different types of heart diseases pose different impacts on the heart. But there’s one thing that remains constant. All these forms of heart ailments disrupt the proper functionality of this vital body organ. It is highly recommended by doctors all across the globe that people must stay aware of different types of heart diseases and in case they experience any plausible symptoms of above-listed heart illnesses, must get a health checkup done immediately. For any delay can cost a life.

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