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Cardiac Diseases

Rheumatic Heart Diseases

Medical doctor holding heart isolated on whiteRheumatic heart disease is damage caused to the heart’s valves by rheumatic fever, which is caused by streptococcal bacteria.

 Valvular heart disease

The heart’s valves keep blood flowing through the heart in the right direction.  But a variety of conditions can lead to valvular damage.  Valves may narrow (stenosis), leak (regurgitation or insufficiency) or not close properly (prolapse). You may be born with valvular disease, or the valves may be damaged by such conditions as rheumatic fever, infections connective tissue disorders, and certain medications or radiation treatments for cancer.

Hypertensive Heart Diseases

 Aneurysm

An aneurysm is a bulge or weakness in the wall of a blood vessel.  Aneurysms can enlarge over time and may be life threatening if they rupture. They can occur because of high blood pressure or a weak spot in a blood vessel wall. Aneurysms can occur in arteries in any location in your body. The most common sites include the abdominal aorta and the arteries at the base of the brain.

 Atherosclerosis

In atherosclerosis the walls of your arteries become thick and stiff because of the buildup fatty deposits. The fatty deposits are called plaques.  When this happens, the flow of blood is restricted. Atherosclerosis can happen throughout the body.  In the arteries of the heart it is known as coronary artery disease, in the legs, peripheral arterial disease. Atherosclerosis happens over a period of time and its consequences can be grave and include heart attack and stroke.

 High blood pressure (hypertension)

High blood pressure is the excessive force of blood pumping through your blood vessels. High blood pressure causes many types of cardiovascular disease, such as stroke and heart failure, and renal disease.

 Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing and / or blockage of the blood vessels in the legs.  PAD manifests as pain in the legs when walking, which is relieved by rest. If you have PAD you are at greater risk of developing gangrene in your legs.

Ischemic Heart Diseases

 Angina

Angina manifests as pain in the chest that results from reduced blood supply to the heart (ischemia). Blood carries oxygen around your body and depriving the heart of oxygen has serious consequences.

Angina is caused by atherosclerosis, that is the narrowing and / or blockage of the blood vessels that supply the heart.

The typical pain of angina is in the chest but it can often radiate to the left arm, shoulder or jaw. If you have angina you will have noticed that the pain is related to exertion and is relieved by rest.

An angina attack is also associated with shortness of breath and sweating. If you are a woman you may experience angina slightly differently. Women appear to have more pain in their shoulder and middle back area, and more throat, neck, and jaw pain than men.

If your angina symptoms rapidly worsen and occur at rest this may presage an impending heart attack (myocardial infarction) and you should seek medical help immediately.

 Atherosclerosis

In atherosclerosis the walls of your arteries become thick and stiff because of the buildup fatty deposits. The fatty deposits are called plaques.  When this happens, the flow of blood is restricted. Atherosclerosis can happen throughout the body.  In the arteries of the heart it is known as coronary artery disease, in the legs, peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Atherosclerosis happens over a period of time and its consequences can be grave and include heart attack and stroke.

 Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease is also known as ischemic heart disease. It is caused by atherosclerosis, that is the narrowing and / or blockage of the blood vessels that supply the heart. It is one of the most common forms of heart disease and the leading cause of heart attacks and angina.

Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease refers to the disease of the arteries to the heart and their resulting complications, such as angina, heart attacks and heart failure.

Heart attack

A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when the heart’s supply of blood is stopped.  A heart attack need not be fatal, especially if you receive medical attention and treatment to deal with the blockage soon after you have your heart attack.  But you are likely to be left with a damaged heart post heart attack.

A heart attack manifests as severe central chest pain, which may also radiate to the left arm, shoulder or jaw. Severe shortness of breath, sweating and feeling faint are common additional symptoms.

If you are a woman, however, your experience of heart attack may differ. Rather than acute chest pain you may have difficulty breathing, be very, very tired and have pain in your shoulder, jaw, or upper back pain.

 Sudden death

Sudden death occurs when there is an abrupt loss of the heart’s ability to pump blood. This may be because of heart attack or serious abnormality of the heart’s rhythm.

 Cerebrovascular Heart Disease

 Atherosclerosis

In atherosclerosis the walls of your arteries become thick and stiff because of the buildup fatty deposits. The fatty deposits are called plaques.  When this happens, the flow of blood is restricted. Atherosclerosis can happen throughout the body.  In the arteries of the heart it is known as coronary artery disease, in the legs, peripheral arterial disease. Atherosclerosis happens over a period of time and its consequences can be grave and include heart attack and stroke.

 Cerebral Vascular Disease

Cerebral vascular disease is caused by atherosclerosis, that is the narrowing and / or blockage of the blood vessels that flow to the brain.  If the flow of blood is cut off this can lead to strokes and transient ischemic attacks.

 Stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. This can happen either when a blood vessel in the brain or neck is blocked or bursts. If this happens, your brain is deprived of oxygen and parts of your brain may be permanently damaged.

The consequences of a stroke can include problems with speech or vision, weakness or paralysis.

 Transient ischemic attacks

Just as stroke occurs when the flow of blood is blocked, TIAs happen when there is a brief blockage. The temporary loss of blood to the brain causes a brief, sudden change in brain function.  This may manifest as temporary numbness or weakness on one side of the body, loss of balance, confusion, blindness in one or both eyes, double vision, difficulty speaking, or a severe headache. But these will disappear quickly and permanent damage is unlikely.

If you have ever experienced symptoms like this, you should seek medical advice.  A TIA can be a warning that you are at risk of stroke sometime in the future.

 Inflammatory Heart Disease

 Atherosclerosis

In atherosclerosis the walls of your arteries become thick and stiff because of the buildup of fatty deposits. The fatty deposits are called plaques.  When this happens, the flow of blood is restricted. Atherosclerosis can happen throughout the body.  In the arteries of the heart it is known as coronary artery disease, in the legs, peripheral arterial disease. Atherosclerosis happens over a period of time and its consequences can be grave and include heart attack and stroke.

 Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases of the heart muscle. Some types of cardiomyopathy are genetic, while others occur because of infection or other reasons that are less well understood. One of the most common types of cardiomyopathy is idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, where the heart is enlarged. Other types include ischemic, loss of heart muscle; dilated, heart enlarged; hypertrophic, heart muscle is thickened.

 Pericardial Disease

The sac that encases the heart is called the pericardium and it can be affected by a variety of conditions such as inflammation (pericarditis), fluid accumulation (pericardial effusion) and stiffness (constrictive pericarditis). The etiology of these conditions varies.

 Valvular Heart Disease

The heart’s valves keep blood flowing through the heart in the right direction.  But a variety of conditions can lead to valvular damage.  Valves may narrow (stenosis), leak (regurgitation or insufficiency) or not close properly (prolapse). You may be born with valvular disease, or the valves may be damaged by such conditions as rheumatic fever, infections connective tissue disorders, and certain medications or radiation treatments for cancer.

Other

 Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is when you are born with malformations of the heart’s structures.  This may be the result of the genes you inherited from your parents or adverse exposure to certain elements while still in the womb, such as some medicines or too much alcohol.  Congenital heart disease is a broad term and examples are holes in the heart, abnormal valves, and abnormal heart chambers.

 Heart Failure

Heart failure is a chronic condition that happens when the heart’s muscle becomes too damaged to adequately pump the blood around your body. If you have heart failure your heart still works but because it is less effective your organs do not get enough blood and oxygen. Heart failure tends to affect older people more often and manifests as shortness of breath, reduced exercise tolerance and swelling of the ankles. It results if the heart is damaged and weakened