Cardiovascular disease and heart disease are often used interchangeably. However, each one has its subtle differences. Cardiovascular disease encompasses the blood vessels and circulatory system as well as the heart. Meanwhile, heart disease refers to abnormalities found in the heart itself.
According to the CDC, heart disease accounts for one in four deaths in the United States. The chances of survival are much greater when treatment begins quicker. Today, we’ll discuss the five types of heart disease physicians are watching for and how they affect different areas of the organ.
(Download our free ebook, Tackling Heart Disease With Your Doctor.)
1. Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital Heart Disease is a term used to describe deformities in the heart that are present since birth. Some examples include septal defects, obstruction defects and cyanotic heart disease.
A septal defect is when there’s a hole between the two chambers of the heart while an obstruction defect is when the flow of blood through the various chambers is partially or completely blocked. Cyanotic heart disease is a defect that causes a shortage of oxygen flow throughout the body.
In simple terms, an arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. There are various ways a heart can lose is rhythm. The most common instance is fibrillation, but some others include tachycardia, bradycardia and premature ventricular contractions.
An arrhythmia occurs when the electrical impulses in your heart that create the heartbeat aren’t working properly. In other words, it makes your heart beat in a way it shouldn’t. Irregular heartbeats are fairly common, though. Many report feelings that their heart is racing or fluttering.
However, if you’re experiencing this on a regular basis, it could be due to a weak or damaged heart. If this is the case, we recommend discussing these symptoms with your doctor.
3. Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary arteries circulate blood throughout the body, feeding nutrients and oxygen to your heart muscle. When these arteries become diseased or damaged due to plaque deposits, the build-up will form within the walls of the arteries. (Read more about the effects of cholesterol on plaque.)
This can obstruct or completely block oxygen flow to the heart and other vital organs, resulting in a heart attack, stroke or aneurysm.
4. Pulmonary Stenosis
Pulmonary stenosis occurs when the heart is having difficulty pumping blood from the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery because the pulmonary valve is too tight. In other words, the right ventricle is working harder to overcome the obstruction – putting further strain on the heart.
Older children generally don’t experience symptoms of pulmonary stenosis. However, in severe cases, infants will develop a blue-like tint in their complexion. If the pressure in the right ventricle is too high, treatment will be needed. In most cases, balloon valvuloplasty or open-heart surgery will be deployed to clear the obstruction.
5. Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart isn’t pumping blood throughout the body efficiently. Typically the left or the right side of the heart is affected, but rarely both. Coronary artery disease and high blood pressure leave the heart too weak to fill and pump blood properly, leading to heart failure. For some information on managing blood pressure, click here.
While some types of heart disease are present from birth, others can be prevented through nutrition, physical activity as well as balanced cholesterol and blood pressure. While some of these habits don’t completely eliminate the risk of heart disease, they can work together to improve your overall health and reduce the chances of heart failure.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a heart, we invite you to reach out to us at (918) 879-6161. We’d love to help you uncover the state of your health and begin treatment sooner.
How to Tackle Heart Disease With Your Doctor
You can't take care of others unless you take care of yourself. Bring this worksheet with you to your appointment and discuss the following questions with your doctor. Click below to download it free!