Everything you need to know about heart disease
Heart disease is a term covering any disorder of the heart.
Unlike cardiovascular disease, which describes problems with the blood vessels and circulatory system as well as the heart, heart disease refers to issues and deformities in the heart itself.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia. One in every four deaths in the U.S. occurs as a result of heart disease.
Fast facts on heart disease
- One in every four deaths in the U.S. is related to heart disease.
- Coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, and myocardial infarction are some examples of heart disease.
- Heart disease might be treated with medication or surgery.
- Quitting smoking and exercising regularly can help prevent heart disease.
There are many types of heart disease that affect different parts of the organ and occur in different ways.
Congenital heart disease
This is a general term for some deformities of the heart that have been present since birth. Examples include:
Septal defects: There is a hole between the two chambers of the heart.
Obstruction defects: The flow of blood through various chambers of the heart is partially or totally blocked.
Cyanotic heart disease: A defect in the heart causes a shortage of oxygen around the body.
Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat.
There are several ways in which a heartbeat can lose its regular rhythm. These include:
tachycardia, when the heart beats too fast
bradycardia, when the heart beats too slowly
premature ventricular contractions, or additional, abnormal beats
fibrillation, when the heartbeat is irregular
Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses in the heart that coordinate the heartbeat do not work properly. These make the heart beat in a way it should not, whether that be too fast, too slowly, or too erratically.
Irregular heartbeats are common, and all people experience them. They feel like a fluttering or a racing heart. However, when they change too much or occur because of a damaged or weak heart, they need to be taken more seriously and treated.