Heart disease is a spectrum of diseases that can have an impact on your heart. Heart conditions comprise:
- Blood vessel diseases, such as coronary arterial disease
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
- Heart defects that are genetically inherited (congenital heart imperfections)
- Heart valve disease
- Heart disease is a condition that affects the muscle
- Heart disease
A variety of forms of heart disease can be avoided or treated through healthier lifestyle decisions.
The symptoms of heart disease depend on the type of heart disease are suffering from.
Heart disease symptoms in the blood vessels in your body
Atherosclerosis (ath-urah-skluh-ROE-sis) is the buildup of fat in the arteries that can damage blood vessels and the heart. Plaque buildup leads to narrowed and blocked blood vessels which can cause heart attacks or heart attack, chest pain (angina), or stroke.
The symptoms of coronary artery disease may differ for females and males. For example, males tend to be more likely to experience chest discomfort. Women tend to be more likely to experience other symptoms and signs that go as well as chest pain, for instance, breathing problems, nausea, and extreme fatigue.
The symptoms and signs can be:
- Chest discomfort, chest tightness as well as chest pressure and discomfort (angina)
- Breathing shortness
- The feeling of numbness, pain, or the sensation of coldness in your legs and arms, if the blood vessels that supply these areas of the body have constricting.
- Neck pain or jaw, throat lower abdomen, or back
It is possible that you won’t diagnose coronary artery disease until you suffer angina, a heart attack or stroke, or heart failure. It is important to be aware of signs of cardiovascular disease and talk about the issues with your doctor. Heart disease is often detected early through regular examinations.
Heart disease symptoms can be caused by irregular beats (heart arrhythmias)
The heart might beat too fast, too slow, or even irregularly. Heart arrhythmia symptoms may be:
- The sound of your chest fluttering
- A heartbeat that is racing (tachycardia)
- A slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
- The chest may be painful or uncomfortable.
- Breathing shortness
- Affliction (syncope) or fainting
Heart disease symptoms are caused by heart defects
Heart defects that are serious and are born with (congenital heart defect) typically are discovered shortly after the birth. Signs and symptoms of heart defect in children can include:
- Blue or pale gray skin color (cyanosis)
- The legs are swelling, the abdominal region, or near the eyes.
- Infants may experience the infant may experience breathlessness during meals which can result in an insufficient weight growth
Heart defects that aren’t so serious tend to be discovered later in childhood or adulthood. The signs and signs of congenital heart problems that generally don’t pose a risk immediately are:
- It is easy to become short of breath when you exercise or do any activity
- It is easy to get tired during exercise or sport
- The hands and feet are swelling the ankles, feet, or hands
Heart disease symptoms are caused by the heart muscle that is diseased (cardiomyopathy)
In the beginning stages of cardiomyopathy, you may not experience any symptoms. As the condition gets worse symptoms can include:
- Breathlessness while doing something or when you are at rest
- The legs are swelling, ankles, and feet
- Uneven heartbeats, which feel rapid, beating or flapping
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and dizziness
Heart disease symptoms are caused by heart infections
Endocarditis is a condition that can affect the inner lining of your heart chambers and valves (endocardium). The signs and symptoms of heart infection could be:
- Breathing shortness
- Fatigue or weakness
- The swelling in your legs or in your abdomen
- Heart rhythm changes
- Cough that is persistent or dry
- Unusual spots or skin rashes
Heart disease symptoms are caused by problems with the heart valve (valvular heart condition)
Hearts have four valves mitral, aortic, and tricuspid valves that can be closed and opened to control the flow of blood through your heart. Numerous things can cause damage to the heart valves, which can lead to closing (stenosis) leakage (regurgitation or insufficiency) or inadvertent closure (prolapse).
Based on the valve that isn’t functioning correctly the symptoms and signs typically comprise:
- Breathing shortness
- Heartbeat irregularity
- A swollen ankle or foot
- Chest pain
- Fainting (syncope)
When should you see a doctor?
Get medical attention immediately If you suffer from the following heart disease signs and symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Breathing shortness
Always call 911 or get emergency medical assistance if you suspect you are experiencing heart attacks.
Heart disease is much easier to treat if it is diagnosed early, so speak to your doctor about any concerns about the health of your heart. If you’re worried about the possibility of developing heart disease, consult your physician about ways to lower the risk of heart disease. This is particularly important in the case of the family medical history with heart diseases.
If you suspect you be suffering from heart disease, due to the new symptoms or signs you’re experiencing, make an appointment to visit your physician.
The causes of heart disease depend on your particular kind of heart condition. There are a variety of kinds of heart diseases. To better understand the cause of heart diseases, it’s helpful to know how the heart functions.
The heart’s work
Your heart functions as an organ that pumps blood. It’s a muscular organ that’s about the diameter of your thumb situated just a little left of center within your chest. The heart is divided into the left and right sides.
- The right side of the heart is comprised of the right ventricle and atrium. It is responsible for collecting blood and pumping it to the lungs via the pulmonary blood vessels.
- The lungs provide the blood with an oxygen supply. The lungs also exhale carbon dioxide, which is a non-biodegradable product.
- The oxygen-rich blood flows into the left of the heart which includes the ventricle and left atrium.
- The heart’s left side pumps blood through the largest arterial system within our human body (aorta) to provide organs throughout our body with nutrients and oxygen.
Four heart valves help keep your blood flowing the right way, by opening just one way , and only when they’re required to. For them to function correctly, the valves have to be properly formed, fully open, and close securely to ensure there is no leakage. These four valves include:
A heart beating is squeezed (contracts) and then relaxes throughout a continuous cycle.
- When you contract (systole) the ventricles contract, pushing blood into the vessels of your organs and lungs.
- When you relax (diastole) the ventricles are filled up with blood that comes through the chambers of the top (left as well as right atria).
The electrical circuit in your heart keeps it going. The heartbeat is the control for the continual exchange of oxygen-rich blood. This exchange is what keeps you alive.
- Electrical signals start from the lower right chamber (right atrium) and are carried through special pathways that connect to the ventricles transmitting the signal to the heart’s pumps to go on.
- The system helps keep your heartbeat in a normal and coordinated rhythm, which helps keep blood flow.
The causes of coronary arterial disease
The accumulation of plaques of fatty material within your blood vessels (atherosclerosis) is one of the most frequent causes of coronary heart disease. Poor lifestyle choices including an unhealthy diet, inactivity, being obese, and smoking, may result in atherosclerosis.
The causes of heart arrhythmias
The most common causes of arrhythmias and conditions that could cause arrhythmias to comprise:
- Coronary arterial artery disease
- Addiction to drugs
- Alcohol abuse or caffeine
- Heart defects that you’re are born with (congenital heart problems)
- High blood pressure
- Certain over-the-counter medicines, prescription drugs, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies
- Valvular heart disease
If you’re a healthy individual with a healthy, normal heart it is extremely likely for an arrhythmia to be fatal to develop without an external trigger, like an electric shock, or usage of illegal drugs. In an unhealthily or damaged or damaged, the heart’s electrical signals might not be properly initiated or flow throughout the body, causing arrhythmias more likely.
Congenital heart defects are the main cause of heart problems
Congenital heart defects are usually discovered when a baby is still in the womb. Heart defects may develop during the time that the heart grows approximately one month following conception affecting how blood flows through the heart. Certain medical conditions, medications and genetics may contribute to the development of heart defects.
Heart defects are also common in adulthood. As you get older the structure of your heart can change, leading to an abnormal heart.
The causes of cardiomyopathy
The reason for cardiomyopathy, an enlarging or thickening of heart muscles can be based on the kind:
- Dilated cardiomyopathy. The reason for this most frequent type of cardiomyopathy is not known. The condition generally leads the ventricle of the left of the heart to grow. Dilated cardiomyopathy can result from a decrease in cardiovascular blood flow (ischemic heart diseases) caused by damage following an attack on the heart, infection or toxins, as well as certain medications that are that treat cancer. It could also be passed on from the parents.
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is a condition that is typically handed via family members (inherited). It can also occur over time as a result of an increase in blood pressure or the aging process.
- Restrictive cardiomyopathy. This is the least well-known kind of cardiomyopathy that makes the cardiac muscle stiff and less flexible, may be caused by no reason. The cause could be diseased, like connective tissue diseases or the growth in abnormal protein (amyloidosis).
Heart infection causes
Heart infections like endocarditis can be caused by germs that infiltrate the heart muscle. The most prevalent causes of heart infections are:
The causes of valvular heart disease
There are many things that can cause problems with the heart valves. It is possible that you are born with valvular diseases or your valves may be damaged due to factors like:
- Rheumatic fever
- Infections (infectious endocarditis)
- Connective tissue disorders
Risk factors for developing heart disease include:
- Age. As you age, you are more at chances of narrowed and damaged arterial arteries, as well as a weak or overly enlarged heart muscle.
- Sex. Men are typically at greater risk of suffering from heart disease. The risk for women is higher following menopausal changes.
- Family background. The presence of a family member with a history of heart problems may increase the risk of developing coronary artery disease, particularly when a parent was diagnosed in the early years (before the age of 55 for male relative like your father or brother and before age 65 for female family member, such as mom or your sibling).
- Smoking. Nicotine tightens blood vessels and carbon monoxide is known to harm their inner linings and make them more vulnerable to atherosclerosis. Heart attacks tend to be more frequent for smokers than non-smokers.
- Poor diet. A diet rich in salt, fat sugar and cholesterol may lead to the development of heart disease.
- High Blood pressure. High blood pressure that is uncontrolled could cause thickening and hardening of your arteries, which can narrow the blood vessels through which blood circulates.
- The levels of blood cholesterol are elevated. A high level of cholesterol in the blood can increase the chance of developing plaque and atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes. It increases the chances of suffering from heart disease. Both diseases have similar risk factors, including the presence of obesity and high blood pressure.
- Obesity. Excess weight can exacerbate other risk factors for heart disease.
- Physical inactivity. Exercise inactivity is associated with various types of heart disease as well as many of its risk factors too.
- Stress. Uncontrolled stress can cause damage to your arteries and increase cardiovascular risk factors.
- Poor dental health. It is important to clean and floss your gums and teeth frequently and to have regular dental examinations. If your gums or teeth aren’t in good condition, bacteria can get into your bloodstream and then travel to your heart, which can cause endocarditis.
Heart disease complications are:
- Heart failure. The most frequent complications of heart illness, heart failure can occur when the heart cannot provide enough blood flow to satisfy your body’s demands. Heart failure may result from numerous types of heart disease including heart problems and cardiovascular diseases as well as valvular heart diseases, cardiomyopathy or heart infections.
- Heart attack. A blood clot that blocks the flow of blood through a vessel that supplies the heart can trigger an attack in the heart, possibly damage or destruction of a section that is part of the muscle in your heart. Atherosclerosis could trigger an attack on the heart.
- Stroke. Risk factors that contribute to heart disease may also result in an ischemic stroke. It occurs when the arteries leading to your brain become blocked or narrowed to ensure that not enough blood can reach the brain. A stroke can be a serious medical issue the brain tissue starts to die within an hour after an attack.
- Aneurysm. A serious problem that can be found anywhere in the body. An aneurysm can be an artery bulge that is located inside the wall surrounding your blood vessel. If an aneurysm explodes and ruptures, you could suffer serious internal bleeding that could be life-threatening.
- Peripheral arterial disease. If you suffer from peripheral arterial diseases, your extremities typically your legs do not receive sufficient blood flow. This can cause signs, including pain in your legs when moving (claudication). The condition can also lead to peripheral arterial disease.
- Sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest refers to sudden, sudden loss of breathing, heart function, and consciousness, usually resulting from an arrhythmia. A sudden cardiac event is an emergency medical situation. If it is not treated promptly it can lead to sudden cardiac death.
Certain kinds of heart diseases like heart problems, can’t be avoided. However, the same lifestyle modifications that enhance your heart health can assist in preventing it such as:
- Don’t smoke.
- Manage other health issues like hypertension, cholesterol levels, and diabetes.
- Do at least 30 minutes of physical exercise every day, the majority of times of the week.
- Choose a diet that is low in saturated and salt fat.
- Maintain an appropriate weight.
- Manage stress and reduce it.
- Maintain good hygiene.
Your doctor will carry out a physical examination and inquire questions about your personal and family medical background. The tests needed to identify your heart condition are based on the type of medical condition you think that you may be suffering from. In addition to tests for blood and an X-ray test, tests to determine heart disease may be:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). An ECG is a simple and painless test that captures the electrical signals that are generated in your heart. It is able to detect abnormal heart rhythms. You might be able to detect an ECG when you’re sitting down or when you’re doing exercises (stress electrocardiogram).
- Holter monitoring. Holter monitoring. A Holter monitor is a handheld ECG device that you wear to record your heart’s rhythm for between 24 and 72 hours. Holter monitoring is utilized to spot heart rhythm issues that can’t be detected during the regular ECG examination.
- Echocardiogram. This noninvasive test makes use of sound waves to provide precise images of the heart’s structure. It will show the way your heart works, and how it pumps blood.
- Test for stress. This test involves increasing the heart rate using exercise or medicines while doing cardiovascular tests, and capture tests to determine the response of your heart.
- Cardiac catheterization. In this procedure, a small tubing (sheath) is placed into a vein or an artery located inside the lower leg (groin) or the arm. A longer, flexible, and hollow tubing (guide catheter) is later inserted inside the sheath. Utilizing X-ray images displayed on a monitor to serve as for a guide the doctor will carefully thread the catheter into an artery till it gets to the heart.
During a cardiac catheterization during the procedure, the pressures within the chambers of your heart can be determined, and dye may be injectable. The dye will be visible in an X-ray scan, which allows your doctor to observe the flow of blood in your heart blood vessels, valves and blood vessels to look for any issues.
- The cardiac computerized (CT) scan. When you undergo a cardiac CT scan it is a position where you sit on a table within the shape of a doughnut. A X-ray tube in the machine revolves around your body and captures images of your chest and heart.
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A cardiac MRI makes use of an electric field and computer-generated radio waves to produce high-quality images of the heart.
The kind of treatment you get depends on the kind of heart disease you suffer from. The general treatment for heart diseases typically comprises:
- Lifestyle shifts. You can reduce your risk of suffering from heart disease by following a low-fat and low-sodium diet. You should also get at minimum thirty minutes of moderate physical activity every day of the week, giving up smoking and limiting your consumption of alcohol.
- Medications. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, your physician may prescribe medication to manage your heart condition. The kind of medicine you’re prescribed will depend on the kind of heart disease you suffer from.
- Procedures or surgeries that require medical attention. If your medications aren’t working to treat your condition, it’s likely that your physician may recommend specific procedures or procedures. The kind of procedure or procedure will be determined by the type of heart disease and degree of damage to the heart.
Lifestyle and home solutions to home
The risk of developing heart disease can be decreased or even avoided by making certain lifestyle adjustments. The following lifestyle changes can benefit anyone seeking to improve the health of their heart:
- Stop smoking. Smoking cigarettes is a major risk cause of heart disease, specifical atherosclerosis. Stopping smoking is the most effective way to decrease the risk of developing heart condition and complications.
- Manage the blood pressure. Consult your physician for an annual blood pressure test at minimum once every 2 years. They may suggest regular blood pressure tests if your blood pressure is greater than normal or if you have an underlying heart condition. Healthy blood pressure is below 120 diastolic and systolic, as measured in millimeters mercury (mm Hg).
- Take a look at your cholesterol. Consult your physician for an initial cholesterol test once you’re 20 years old. You should test after that, at minimum once every 5 years. It’s possible to start testing earlier if you have high cholesterol that is prevalent in your family. If the test results aren’t in the desired ranges the doctor might recommend frequent measurements.
The majority of people should strive at a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) limit of less than 130 mg/deciliter (mg/dL) which is 3.4 millimoles per Liter (mmol/L). If you’re at risk for having other elements for cardiovascular disease it is recommended to strive for an LDL reading less than 100 mg/dL (2.6 mg/L). If you’re at a very high risk of suffering from heart disease — such as if you’ve had an attack on your heart or diabetes for instance you should aim for an LDL count less than 70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L).
- Control your diabetes. If you suffer from diabetes and you want to control your blood sugar, a strict regimen can decrease the risk of developing heart disease.
- Exercise. Physical activity can help you reach and keep a healthy weight, and manage high cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure which are risks that can lead to the development of heart problems. If you suffer from arrhythmia, or heart defect there could be restrictions on what you can perform, so speak to your physician. With the approval of your physician, you should aim for 30-60 minutes of vigorous exercise every time of the week.
- Choose healthy and nutritious foods. A heart-healthy diet consisting of vegetables, fruits along with whole grains as well as free of saturated fats as well sodium, cholesterol, and sugar added can help you manage your blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol.
- Maintain your weight in a healthy range. Being overweight increases the chance of developing heart disease. The body mass index (BMI) that is less than 25 and the waist circumference is 35 inches (88.9 centimeters) or less is the aim to prevent and treat heart disease.
- Manage stress. Making stress less is possible. Develop strategies for managing stress, including breathing deeply and releasing your muscles.
- Get treatment for depression. Being depressed increases the risk of developing heart disease by a significant amount. Consult your physician when you are feeling depressed or bored with your life.
- Keep your hygiene in check. Make sure you wash your hands regularly as well as floss and brush your teeth in order to keep in good health.
Also, be sure to get regular check-ups with your doctor. A timely diagnosis and intervention could create the foundation for the future of better heart health.
Support and Coping
You might feel angry or even overwhelmed after discovering that you or a loved one is suffering from heart disease. Here are some suggestions to manage heart disease or improve your situation:
- Rehabilitation of the heart. If you suffer from heart disease that has caused an attack on the heart or had to undergo surgery in order to treat the issue, cardio rehabilitation is usually suggested as a method to speed up the treatment process and speed up recovery. The process of rehabilitation for cardiac conditions involves closely monitored exercise and nutritional counseling, as well as emotional support, and education on lifestyle changes to lower your risk of having heart issues.
- Support groups. The ability to turn to family and friends to provide support is important and if you’re in need of assistance, speak to your physician about joining the support group. It is possibly helpful to discuss your concerns with people who are in similar situations can be helpful.
- Medical check-ups on a regular basis. If you suffer from a frequent or longer-lasting (chronic) heart disease frequently check in with your physician to make sure you’re managing the heart condition.
You are preparing for your appointment
Certain types of heart diseases are detected without an appointment, for instance when a child is born with a severe heart defect, it’s likely to be discovered shortly after the birth. In other situations, the heart condition could be discovered in an urgent circumstance, like the occurrence of a heart attack.
If you think you’re suffering from heart disease, or are concerned about the risk of heart disease due to the history of your family, consult your family physician. You could be referred to an expert in heart disease (cardiologist).
Here’s some helpful information to aid you in planning your appointment.
What you can do
- Be aware of the restrictions before your appointment. If you schedule an appointment, make sure you ask what you’ll need to be aware of ahead of time, like restricting your diet. It is possible that you should not eat or drink (fast) prior to your cholesterol test for example.
- Record any of the symptoms you’re experiencing, and include ones that aren’t related to heart disease.
- Note important personal details such as an ancestor’s history of stroke, heart disease high blood pressure, diabetes, as well as any important life events or modifications.
- Write down the supplements, vitamins, or medications you’re taking.
- Consider bringing a companion as much as you can. A person who is along with you can assist you to recall information that you’ve been given.
- Prepare to talk about your eating habits, exercising and smoking habits. If you’re not already following your exercise or diet consult your physician about how to get started.
- Note down any questions you want you’d like to inquire with your doctor.
For those suffering from heart disease, a few essential questions you can ask your physician are:
- What might be the cause of my symptoms or conditions?
- What other causes could be the reason for my symptoms or conditions?
- What tests will I require?
- What’s the most effective treatment?
- Do you know of a generic alternative to the medication you’re prescribing?
- What are the alternatives to the main method you’re suggesting?
- What are the best foods to be eating or avoiding?
- What’s the ideal level of physical exercise?
- When should I get screened in the event of heart problems? For instance how often do I require to have a cholesterol test?
- I also have other health issues. What can I do to deal with them all?
- Are there rules I should adhere to?
- Do I need to see a doctor?
- Are any brochures or other publications I could get? Which websites would you recommend?
Don’t be afraid to ask additional questions.
What should you expect from your doctor?
Your doctor will likely inquire about your health like:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Are your symptoms ongoing or do they appear and disappear?
- How serious are your symptoms?
- What do you think, if anything, is doing to be helping you?
- What is it that appears to be causing your condition to get worse?
- Do you have an ancestral medical history that includes heart diseases or high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other serious illness?
What can you do to help in the meantime?
It’s never too late to start making healthy lifestyle changes including stopping smoking, eating healthier food choices, and being healthier and more active. An active lifestyle is the best defense against heart diseases and their complications.