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Understanding Heart Disease


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Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, refers to a group of diseases that affect the heart. Heart diseases include:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart rhythm problems-Arrhythmias
  • Congenital heart defects-Heart problems that are present at birth

Not all but many forms of heart disease can be treated or even prevented with a healthy lifestyle.

Coronary Artery Disease

The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. Coronary arteries are responsible for supplying the heart muscle with blood. Coronary artery disease occurs when cholesterol builds-up within the artery walls. This buildup of plaque prevents the arteries from pumping blood as they are blocked. When the plaque ruptures, it causes a clot in the artery and results in a complete blockage which then leads to a heart attack. The heart muscle then begins to die as it is denied blood due to the blockage.

What Are the Signs of Coronary Artery Disease?

  • Chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea

How Can I Reduce My Risk for Coronary Artery Disease?

You can reduce your risk for coronary artery disease by making lifestyle changes. In some cases, medications may be necessary to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.

Congestive Heart Failure

WebMD reports that heart failure affects almost 6 million people in the United States. More than a half of a million people are diagnosed with heart failure each year. Heart failure remains the top cause of hospitalization in adults 65 years and older.

Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped working. It is a disease that causes the heart to not pump blood effectively. If you have heart failure, then blood moves through the body and heart at a slower rate. This increases pressure in the heart and makes it to where the heart cannot pump enough nutrients to meet the body’s needs. The chambers of the heart stretch to hold more blood. They also might become thick and stiff. Although this keeps the blood moving, the heart muscle will eventually weaken. This causes the heart to not pump blood effectively. When the body does not pump blood effectively, it causes the body to retain salt and fluid. The fluid builds up in the ankles, feet, lungs and other organs causing the body to become congested. Congestive heart failure is caused by:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Damage to the heart muscle
  • What Are the Symptoms of Heart Failure?
  • Fluid and water retention
  • Congested lungs
  • Fatigue, weakness or dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • What Are the Treatments for Heart Failure?

Although congestive heart failure is typically progressive, there are new treatments and medications that can slow the progression of the disease. It is always a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider about which treatments are right for you.


An arrhythmia is an abnormal rhythm of the heart. There are many types of arrhythmias. Some arrhythmias cause the heart to beat too slow, while others cause it to beat too fast. An arrhythmia can interfere with the functioning of the heart in some cases. It may cause the heart to not be able to pump enough blood for your body’s needs. Some arrhythmias are harmless and others are life-threatening. It depends upon what type of arrhythmia that you have.

What Are the Symptoms of an Arrhythmia?

  • Fluttering or racing heart
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath

What Treatments are Available for Arrhythmias?

The treatment depends on the type of arrhythmia that you have. Talk to your doctor about different treatment options available for you.

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