One of the leading causes of death worldwide, heart disease refers to issues and deformities in the heart. It is an umbrella term used to describe a wide range of conditions affecting the heart, heart’s muscle, blood vessels, heart rhythm as well as congenital heart defects. Depending on the part of the organ that is affected, heart disease can be of the following kinds:
- Congenital Heart Disease: This includes deformities of the heart that are present since birth such as septal defects which refer to a hole between the two chambers of the heart, obstruction defects which lead to partial or complete blockage in the flow of blood through the various chambers of the heart. Cyanotic heart disease occurs when a defect in the heart creates a shortage of oxygen in the body.
- Myocardial Infarction: Also known as heart attack or coronary thrombosis, it takes place when an interrupted flow of blood damages or destroys a part of the heart muscle. Usually, a blood clot formed in one of the coronary arteries is responsible for heart attack. If an artery suddenly becomes too narrow or the patient experiences spasms, such a condition can also lead to a heart attack.
- Heart Failure: This medical condition is also known as congestive heart failure and it occurs when the heart fails to pump blood around the body efficiently. When the heart becomes too stiff or weak either due to high blood pressure or coronary heart disease, then blood cannot be pumped properly. In some rare cases, both sides of the heart can be affected, causing a lot of damage to the organ.
- Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia is a heart condition in which the heartbeat loses its regular rhythm. It occurs when the electric impulses in the heart responsible for the coordination of heartbeat do not function properly. The heartbeats in a way it should not, either too fast, too slow or erratically. The condition can be fatal if it is not treated properly.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A genetic heart disorder, it takes place when the wall of the left ventricle thickens, making it more difficult for the heart to pump out blood. One of the most common causes of death in athletes, a person suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has a 50 percent chance of passing it onto his/her children.
Some other heart diseases include coronary artery disease, dilated cardiomyopathy, mitral regurgitation, mitral valve prolapsed and pulmonary stenosis among others. While some forms of heart disease cannot be prevented such as those defects that are present from birth, other types can be by taking a few precautions. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintain healthy body weight and reducing the intake of alcohol are some preventive measures that ensure that your heart remains healthy and disease-free. As smoking is a risk factor for several heart and cardiovascular conditions, quitting the habit can reduce the chances of heart complications. Certain health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes can harm the heart, so keeping these conditions in control can also come a long way in eliminating the risk of heart disease.