Heart disease or cardiopathy is any diseases of the heart that affects the proper functioning of the heart. Heart diseases are some of the most dreaded diseases known today due to their seriousness and threat to life when they occur. In recent times, much progress has been made in the discovery of effective treatment techniques for combating heart diseases.
Having established that there are different kinds of heart diseases, the best way to know which type you are suffering from is to go for proper medical diagnosis. Heart diseases can come in various forms with various levels of seriousness. Let us look at the major types of heart diseases among others:
Types of Heart Diseases
- Hypertensive heart disease: This is a heart disease that is caused by high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure may overburden the heart and blood vessels, resulting into heart diseases.
- Rheumatic heart disease: This can be as a result of one or more attacks of rheumatic fever which do damage to the heart valves. Rheumatic fever occurs in children and may follow a streptococcal infection which affects the heart and thereby weakens the heart muscles and encloses the sac enclosing the heart.
- Congenital heart disease:This is when one is born with distortions of the heart’s structures. This may be as a result of the genes that is inherited from parents or when one is adversely exposed to certain elements while still in the womb, such as some medications or too much alcohol. Examples of congenital heart diseases are holes in the heart, abnormal valves, and abnormal heart chambers.
Symptoms of Heart Diseases
- Heart attack: The main signs of an impending heart attack are chest discomforts, chest pressure, heaviness or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone, choking or a feeling of heartburn, indigestion, back or neck pain especially among women.
- Heart failure: This is characterized by swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen and veins.
- Arrhythmia: This is an abnormal rate of muscle contractions in the heart; and this can lead to cardiogenic shocks or cause the heart to suddenly stop beating.
Hearth Diseases and Family History
Heart disease may be genetic, and it may not. There are certain features of a family history that may be signs of a genetic heart disorder, some of which are:
- Heart failure at a young age
- Sudden cardiac death or unexplained death at a very young age
- Abnormal heart rhythm at a young age
- Several relatives with the same type of heart disease.
Factors That Contribute to Heart Diseases
- High levels of bad cholesterol
- Lack of physical exercises and an active life
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- Depression, social isolation, and lack of quality support
There are ways in which heart disease can be handled and treated:
- Follow a healthy diet
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress properly so as to avoid heart disease
- Consult a medical specialist for attention