Nihal U. Siddiqui, MD, PA

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Overview:

Heart disease is also known as cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and coronary artery disease. Heart disease refers to any kind of disorder of cardiovascular system which constraints the heart and blood vessel to function normally. Heart disease indulges in heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, angina pectoris and ischemia. Other conditions like heart muscle problem, valves or rhythm are also consider as heart disease. The heart is the muscular organ that maintains the circulation of blood throughout the body and returns to the heart and pump into lungs where it absorbs oxygen. The arteries supply oxygen rich blood to the organs and tissues, which requires oxygen to function.

Symptoms:

Heart disease symptoms vary from mild to severe. Symptoms of cardiovascular disease include chest pain, shortness of breath, and in some cases heart attack. Typical chest pain occurs in the center of the chest, is often described heavy or tight condolences and often occurs from excessive stress. This type of pain reduced by rest and proper medication. A typical chest pain can occur in the left or right side of the chest, in the abdomen, in the back, in the arm or in the jaw. This type of pain is usually sharp and not related to stress and is more common in women. Shortness of breath occur as a result of congestive heart failure due to reduced blood and oxygen flow to the heart over time.

Shortness of breath, congestive heart failure also may cause abnormal fluid keeping that results in swelling in the feet and legs. Research shows in some cases heart attack is the foremost symptom of cardiovascular disease. Heart attack occurs when one of the coronary arteries block blood supply to the heart causes the death of heart tissue. In most cases arterial blockage results from accumulated plaques in the arteries. Dizziness, fainting, weakness or fatigue, fever, dry or persistent cough is also most important symptoms or signs of heart disease.

Causes & Risk factors:

The causes of heart disease vary by type of heart disease. Atherosclerosis is the common cause of cardiovascular disease. It can be caused by unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking.

Common causes of arrhythmias include:

  • By birth congenital heart defects
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
  • Drug abuse
  • Stress
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Over the counter medicine, prescription medicine, dietary supplements and herbal remedies

Congenital heart disease seen specially to the pregnant women. Heart defects can develop as the heart develops, about a month after conceiving, change the flow of the blood in the heart. Some medical conditions, medications and genes plays role for causing heart diseases.

There are some reasons behind valvular heart disease.

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Infections
  • Connective tissue disorder

Risk factors which develops heart disease includes:

  • Family history: family history increase risk of coronary artery disease specially when parents develop it at an early age in their body
  • Age: aging increase risk of damage and narrow arteries which make heart muscle weak and thick.
  • Sex: men are at greater risk for heart disease and women’s risk increase after menopause. Smoking: heart attack are more seen in chain smokers than non smokers. Nicotine constraints blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage inner lining.
  • Poor diet: a diet which includes high protein, fat, salt, sugar and high cholesterol contributes heart disease
  • High blood pressure: uncontrolled high blood pressure make arteries hard and thick which constraints blood to flow.
  • Diabetes: diabetes increase risk of heart disease Stress: Immense stress can damage the arteries as well other organ function which causes heart disease.
  • Poor hygiene: poor hygiene can contribute lots of infections which can cause heart disease. Poor dental health can also cause heart disease

Types:

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease. Some other most common heart disease are abnormal heart rhythm, heart failure, heart valve disease and congenital heart disease.

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD): it is the most common type of heart disease. The arteries carrying blood to the heart muscle become lined with plaque, which contains cholesterol and fat. Narrow arteries allowing less oxygen to reach the heart muscle. When the muscle don’t get enough oxygen chest pain or heart attack occurs.
  • Arrhythmia: It is an abnormal heart disease like slow, fast or irregular heartbeat. It includes atrial fibrillation, premature ventricular contractions and bradyarrhythmias.
  • Heart failure: it occurs when the heart unable to pump sufficient oxygen rich blood to meet the needs to the rest of the body.
  • Heart valve disease: it occurs when one or more of the four valves in the heart don’t work properly
  • Heart muscle disease: when the walls of the heart enlarge or thick which causes less ability to pump blood to the heart often results heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease: is a type of birth defects that causes problems with the heart by birth and it happens every one out of every 100 live birth. There are two types of congenital heart disease.
    • Atrial septal defects(ASD) & ventricular septal defects(VSD): it occur when the walls that separated to right and left chambers of the hearts are not completely closed
    • Patent ductus arteriosus(PDA): it occurs when the ductus arteriosis doesn’t close properly after birth.

Diagnosis:

Doctors will check properly which kind of heart disease patient have. Doctor will give some test like EKG (Electrocardiogram), stress testing, Echocardiography, Chest X-Ray, Blood tests, Coronary angiography and Cardiac catheterization etc. if doctor thinks patient have CHD then doctor may recommend one or two more doctor for second opinion.

Treatments:

Heart disease treatment includes lifestyle change and proper medications.

  • Regular exercise at least 30 minutes per day to maintain a heavyweight, reduce diabetes, and maintain cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid trans fatty foods often found in packed foods and labeled as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.
  • Watch over salt intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Drink alcohol in moderation which can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease

Always be careful and visit doctor about steps which can prevent the chances of heart disease.