Understanding the Different Types of Heart Disease

Heart Disease: Heart disease is a broad term for different conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. It can be caused by many factors, such as aging, family history, poor diet, smoking, and lack of exercise.

According to the Heart hospital in Delhi The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which causes blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Other types of heart disease include arrhythmia, heart valve damage and congenital heart disease.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

One of the most common types of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD). This condition causes reduced blood flow to the heart. It’s the most common cause of heart attack and can also lead to other complications, such as a blood clot, irregular heartbeat, or heart failure.

Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of CAD. This is when a build-up of cholesterol plaque narrows or blocks the arteries that supply oxygen and nutrients to your heart. The most common symptom of CAD is chest pain, called angina. This pain is usually a squeezing or pressure feeling that can spread to the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. It can be sharp or dull and lasts up to five minutes. It may also be accompanied by fatigue or nausea.

Your doctor can diagnose CAD with several tests, including an electrocardiogram and echocardiogram. The EKG test measures the strength and rhythm of your heartbeat, while the echocardiogram uses ultrasound waves to create a picture of your heart.

There are many ways you can lessen your risk for CAD. Talk to your healthcare provider about a plan to manage your risk factors, such as eating well, exercising regularly, not smoking, and taking medicine for high blood pressure or cholesterol. Depending on your risk, you might need to have heart surgery to open up blocked arteries or bypass a diseased artery.


Arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart’s electrical system misbehaves, creating an irregular heartbeat. Normally, electricity from special heart cells travels through the heart to coordinate the heartbeat. During a normal beat, the heart pushes oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Occasionally, abnormal electricity can disrupt the rhythm, causing it to speed up too much (tachycardia) or skip beats and cause the heart to beat early (premature ventricular contraction or PVC).

A slowing of the heartbeat may feel like fluttering or pounding in the chest, which are called “heart palpitations.” More serious symptoms include weakness, shortness of breath, fainting, a sensation of a racing heart (palpitations), fatigue, inability to exercise, or limited exercise tolerance. When left untreated, arrhythmias can lead to heart failure, blood clots in the lungs, stroke, or even cardiac arrest.

Depending on the type and severity of the arrhythmia, treatment options can include medication, specialized procedures, or devices that are surgically implanted in the body. Some medications suppress abnormal heart rhythms, while others slow the heart rate and reduce risks. Managing lifestyle habits, such as exercising regularly, eating healthy, losing weight, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and treating underlying conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, can also help prevent arrhythmias. In some cases, a doctor will prescribe anticoagulant medicines to lower the risk of blood clots.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) refers to a problem with the structure or function of the heart that is present at birth. It can be caused by something that goes wrong during heart development early in pregnancy or by problems with blood vessels near the heart. Some types of CHD don’t cause any symptoms and may be discovered only during a routine medical exam or with a special test like an echocardiogram. Others can lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, or a murmur heard by the doctor when they listen to the heart. Some people with CHD may need multiple surgeries and other treatments, while others will have a single surgery and only take medicine.

Scientists aren’t sure what causes most kinds of congenital heart disease. But there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a CHD. If you’re planning to have children, talk to your cardiologist and obstetrician about your health history well before you get pregnant. They can help you understand the risks and decide how to manage them throughout your pregnancy.

Some kinds of CHD are treated with medicines or surgery to fix a problem, open up blood flow, or redirect it. Others are treated with a pacemaker or (in children) an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, which sends an electric shock to correct arrhythmias.

Heart Valve Damage

Heart valve diseases cause one or more of your four heart valves to not open and close properly. They can cause blood to leak backward into the heart chambers (regurgitation), not open completely (valve stenosis) or make it hard for your heart to pump blood. These conditions may be present at birth (congenital) or develop later in life. They can be caused by infections, calcium deposits on the valves, aging and other factors.

The valves have flaps of tissue called leaflets that open to let blood flow forward during half a heartbeat, and then close to prevent backflow of blood into the heart chambers. They’re held together by tough strands of tissue, called chordae tendineae and papillary muscles. If a heart valve doesn’t function as it should, the symptoms include feeling tired and short of breath.

If the heart valves aren’t working correctly, your doctor will evaluate you to determine how serious your condition is and what treatment is right for you. Medications are often used to help reduce symptoms, prevent blood clots and slow the progression of heart disease. The heart valves can also be repaired or replaced surgically. When repair isn’t possible, surgeons can replace a damaged valve with a mechanical valve made of plastic or metal, or a biological valve (made from a human, cow, or pig) if it can be found that the patient is a good candidate for this procedure.

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