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Heart Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Types And Treatment

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Heart diseases can be of different types and can mean various conditions affecting the heart. Heart disease symptoms can affect the blood vessels, give rise to irregular heartbeats, or affect the heart muscles and valves. Many heart disease types can be prevented and treated through simple lifestyle changes. If you think you are showing any heart disease symptoms, then book a heart failure profile test at Metropolis to be sure. 

The following sections discuss the four main types of heart diseases.

Congenital Heart Disease

A congenital heart defect is a condition that some people are born with. It mainly affects the heart walls, blood vessels, and heart valves. 

Congenital Heart Disease Symptoms 

Newborns with congenital heart disease may show the following symptoms -

  • Bluish lips and skin.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Difficulty eating.
  • Abnormally low birth weight.
  • Chest pain.
  • Delayed growth.

At a later stage, additional symptoms may appear, such as:

Ischemic Heart Disease

When the coronary artery is occluded, it cannot supply adequate blood to the heart, resulting in a heart attack. This is what is medically called an ischemic heart. This disease is asymptomatic and can be prevented.

Ischemic Heart Disease Symptoms

The following symptoms characterize ischemic heart disease -

  • Chest pain: This translates to tightness in the chest which may also radiate to the base of your neck or arms. It may or may not be accompanied by shortness of breath, cold sweats, and nausea.
  • Shortness of breath: Also known as dyspnoea, it weakens the heart, which can no longer pump blood to the rest of the body. This results in stagnation of blood in the heart, making breathing difficult.
  • Palpitations: If you are suffering from ischemic heart disease, you will likely experience a rapid pulse and a thumping feeling in the chest.
  • Cold sweats and nausea: Both can occur simultaneously or individually. It is how your nervous system tries to respond to ischemia. 
  • Unconsciousness: Because the heart loses its ability to pump blood to the rest of the body, you may also experience a loss of consciousness.

Coronary Heart Disease

A prevalent heart condition, this disease is caused when the blood vessels that transport blood to the heart are not functioning properly. As a result, the supply of oxygen, blood, and other essential nutrients is cut off. This happens because of cholesterol deposition on the walls of the arteries.

Coronary Heart Disease Symptoms

The primary coronary heart disease symptoms are,

  • Angina or Chest Pain: It may indicate coronary heart disease if you feel a tightness in the chest or pressure. The pain usually occurs in the middle of the chest or to the left. 
  • Shortness of breath: When you feel like you can't catch your breath.
  • Fatigue: When the heart cannot pump adequate blood, you will feel tired.
  • Heart attack: When the coronary artery is completely blocked, it will result in a heart attack.

Rheumatic Heart Disease

This is a condition where the heart valves are permanently damaged by rheumatic fever.

Rheumatic Heart Disease Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the disease, the symptoms may include one or more of the following -

  • Fever.
  • Swollen joints.
  • Lumps under the skin.
  • Rashes that appear on the chest, abdomen, and back.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Involuntary arm movement.
  • Involuntary facial movement.
  • Chest pain. 
  • Fatigue.

The Causes of Heart Disease

Depending on the type of heart disease, the causes can vary.

  • Coronary heart disease is caused by a build-up of fatty plaques in the arteries.
  • Irregular heartbeats can be caused by drug interactions, diabetes, cardiomyopathy, emotional stress, alcohol abuse, or smoking.
  • Congenital heart defects usually develop in the womb one month after conception.
  • Cardiomyopathy or an enlarged heart muscle may be inherited or caused by the build-up of a protein called amyloid in the heart.
  • Heart infections can be caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses.
  • Heart valve disease is caused by rheumatic fever or connective tissue disorders.

Risk Factors

Many factors in your lifestyle and surroundings can put you at risk of health diseases. The following factors are potent contributors -

  1. Age.
  2. Family history.
  3. Smoking.
  4. Your sex (men are at higher risk).
  5. Unhealthy diet.
  6. Uncontrolled blood pressure.
  7. High cholesterol.
  8. Diabetes.
  9. Obesity. 
  10. Sedentary lifestyle. 
  11. Stress.
  12. Poor dental health.

Treatment of Heart Disease

A treatment course is planned depending on the cause and type of heart disease and the heart disease symptoms.

Medications

Medications like painkillers, beta-blockers, anticoagulants, and aspirin are usually prescribed. They stop the progress and prevent complications. 

Surgical Procedures

Open-heart surgery or implantations may be the only way to fix a heart condition. In rare cases, a heart transplant may also be an option. 

Lifestyle Changes

A healthy lifestyle can also check and even prevent heart diseases. A few simple steps can go a long way in helping with this.

  • Quit smoking.
  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Keep your blood pressure in check.
  • Moderate your cholesterol levels.
  • Manage diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Follow an active lifestyle.
  • Avoid putting on excessive weight.
  • Sleep well.
  • Maintain good hygiene habits.

Heart diseases can be painful and even fatal. But with slight modifications to your lifestyle, they can be easily prevented. 

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