Sydney is a contributing health writer and editor who enjoys shedding light on health topics, making information available to anyone who wants it, and ending stigmas or lack of access to care and treatment.
Po-Chang Hsu, M.D.
Dr. Hsu received his medical degree from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Master’s of Science degree from both Harvard University and Tufts University. Outside of the medical profession, Dr. Hsu loves to write, learn new languages, and travel.
June 18, 2021
Heart diseases, or cardiovascular diseases, are conditions that involve diseased heart vessels, structural problems, and blood clots.
As the leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease affected over 30.3 million adults in the United States. One out of four deaths in the United States is caused by heart disease.
“Heart disease costs the United States about $219 billion each year,” warns the CDC. “This includes the cost of healthcare services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.”
There are 5 major kinds of heart disease, each with its causes, symptoms, and treatments, “heart disease” is the simple term used to encompass these different conditions. The heart diseases include:
Symptoms of heart disease will vary greatly depending on which heart disease you have, as will causes and treatments.
Let’s dive into the different heart diseases to understand how each works, its symptoms, cause, and the methods used to treat it.
The first type of heart disease is related to the buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries, also known as coronary heart disease. These fatty plaques can build up in your bloodstream and eventually reach the heart.
Once the heart is filled with fatty plaque-filled blood, the heart will begin to fail. Chest pain, heart attacks, and strokes are highly likely for those whose hearts are full of fatty plaques.
Men and women experience slightly different symptoms throughout the course of their coronary heart disease. While men will feel chest pain often, women will suffer from nausea, difficulty breathing, and fatigue.
The symptoms of coronary heart disease include:
The dangerous part of dealing with coronary heart disease is that the early symptoms can be explained by other factors. Many people do not associate their symptoms with heart disease when they experience them.
Arrhythmia is caused by the deviation of the normal heartbeat cycle. Heart arrhythmia patients have hearts that intermittently beat too slow, too fast, or at irregular rhythms.
The symptoms of arrhythmia include:
Congenital disabilities of the heart can cause some irregularities in heart function. These congenital heart defects can be noticed soon after birth, but also they can be hard to diagnose immediately.
In children, you can observe the following symptoms of heart defects:
As those with congenital heart defects age, they will experience symptoms throughout their life. Most of the time, these symptoms are not life-threatening, but they are noticeable. The symptoms include:
Diseased heart muscles, or cardiomyopathy, affect your heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. Cardiomyopathy interferes with blood flow and can cause arrhythmia or heart failure.
The symptoms of cardiomyopathy include:
Also known as endocarditis, this heart disease is an infection of the inner lining of your heart’s valves and chambers.
This heart disease usually begins with early symptoms before the disease progresses. You might notice that activities are harder to do, your circulation seems off, and you become dizzy or lightheaded very easily.
The signs of endocarditis include:
Serious complications of endocarditis can include:
This heart disease on this list includes all problems with the heart’s valves. Valvular disease involves any problem with the four valves that direct blood flow through your heart.
These four valves open and close repeatedly to move blood throughout the heart, so their optimal function is vital.
The main problems you can experience concerning your heart valves are:
If you have any of these problems, you can expect the following symptoms:
Severe complications of valvular disease can include:
If you read carefully, you will notice that while these different heart diseases have a wide range of causes and origins, the symptoms are similar. Ultimately, all heart diseases’ main symptom is that they interfere with the function of your heart.
No matter what type of heart disease you’re suffering, the symptoms you experience are the result of an improperly functioning heart.
Studies repeatedly show that lifestyle choices are the primary cause of all heart disease except for congenital disabilities. Using drugs, drinking too much, being overweight, and eating poorly greatly increase your chances of contracting heart disease.
Since heart disease is so common, it should be no surprise that there is a wide variety of heart disease treatments. If your heart disease is severe enough, heart surgery may be the only way to return your heart to a normal state.
There are many medications available for heart disease patients. These include:
Prevention is the best treatment for heart disease. By leading a healthy lifestyle, your chances of contracting heart disease are minimized. You can speak to a doctor through our sister site PlushCare about treatment for heart disease of any origin.
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