Heart diseases which are also known as cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death around the world. Such diseases can lead to artery disease, heart attacks, arrhythmia, etc. While it is a deadly disease, it can also be prevented and managed. However, most people ignore the symptoms and signs of heart problems and seek professional help only when the situation becomes worse. Hence, it is important to understand and know about the symptoms, types, diagnosis, prevention methods, etc. in order to take necessary steps in case you or anyone else in your family develops heart disease.
Types of heart diseases
- Coronary artery disease: It is the most common heart disease and develops when plaque gets formed in the artery that supplies blood to the heart. Due to the formation of plaque, the proper supply of blood is reduced and the heart gets less oxygen and less nutrients. After some time, the muscles of the heart get weak and you may suffer heart failure.
- Arrhythmia: Here, your heart begins to beat too slowly or too quickly. It is further classified as tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), bradycardia (slow heartbeat) and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).
- Heart failure: In this case, your heart doesn’t pump blood properly as per the requirement of the body.
- Valvular Heart Diseases: Your heart has four valves that shrink and relax to supply blood to different parts of your heart. If some issue occurs in these valves, the flow of blood gets blocked and causes heart disease.
- Cardiomyopathy: This disease occurs in the muscles of your heart.
- Congenital Heart Disease: Defects in the heart right from the birth of a person.
Symptoms of heart diseases
The symptoms of heart disease depend on the problem you have. In case of abnormal heart rhythms, you may experience:
- Heart palpitations
- Pain in the chest
- Frequent sweating
- Unable to breathe properly
- Feeling dizzy and tired
Some people may have blockages in their heart’s blood vessels and may show the following symptoms:
- Pain or heaviness in the chest region
- Pain in the neck
- Frequent indigestion or heartburn
- Shortness of breath
Many people with heart valve disease have reported the following symptoms:
- Pain in the chest
- Not able to breathe properly
Causes of Heart Disease
The causes of heart diseases vary from person to person and depend on various factors such as lifestyle, genes, environment, etc. However, some common causes for various heart issues are:
- Coronary artery disease that forms due to plaque buildup
- Genetic factors
- Medications that put pressure on the heart
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet that is rich in cholesterol
- Too much use of tobacco products
- Not participating in physical activities
- Type 2 diabetes
Diagnosis of Heart Diseases
When you visit a cardiologist for the examination of your heart, he will first of all take a physical look at your body for any signs and symptoms. He will patiently listen to all your concerns. He may also enquire about your family history and finally, conduct some diagnostic tests such as ECG or EKG, blood test, stress tests, etc.
Treatment of Heart Diseases
The treatment of heart disease may depend on the specific condition of the person but more or else below are some of the commonly used treatment options:
Lifestyle changes: Your doctor may advise you to cut down on processed foods that have saturated fats in your diet. He may even recommend stopping the use of tobacco and ask you to participate in physical activities.
Take certain medications: If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, take the necessary medicines to keep them under control.
Surgery: You might have to undergo open-heart surgery or other forms of surgery to get rid of the problem.
Prevention of Heart Diseases
It is said that prevention is always better than cure and therefore, you should do your best not to put yourself in a position where your condition gets out of hand and you land yourself in a hospital. By following the below-given points, you can lower your risk of heart disease:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, make sure you take the prescribed medicines.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, etc.
- Engage in at least 30 to 40 minutes of physical exercise every day
- Work on your stress levels by doing yoga, pranayama, etc.
- Eat food that is low in salt and saturated fat
- Limit the intake of alcohol and tobacco products
Keep in mind that there are millions of people around the world who are suffering from one or the other heart-related problems. However, these people are easily able to manage their symptoms by following the advice of their doctors and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, you should not be alarmed if you have developed any issue with your heart and try to work on things that you can control.
This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise.