There are different types of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and abroad. It is interesting to note that 40% of deaths in the U.S are caused by heart disease, which is more than all of the different types of cancer combined.
Heart disease is when your circulatory system and the heart, suffers from one or more conditions which could cause heart attacks and strokes when left untreated. When you hear about heart disease, it may be referring to the muscles, valves and arteries of the heart or the “electrical system”.
Sometimes, a person has a condition that they are born with, that may or may not develop into something more severe. Other times, heart disease refers to arterial blockage. Some things can control your heart disease of any kind, including exercise, diet and smoking.
The truth is that a better understanding of heart disease, your risks and how to prevent heart disease can help you escape this alarming statistic. Your heart can be helped if you maintain healthy blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels, however it helps to know the different types of cardiovascular diseases too.
Types of Heart Disease
There are different types of heart disease which you should know about, because not all of them are something which you have control over. When you know about heart disease however, you can prevent your heart from suffering from this condition and learn how to keep it healthy and strong for years to come.
- Coronary Artery Disease or CAD
This is probably one of the more common forms of heart disease that we bring on ourselves and it’s due to factors such as diet, exercise, weight, smoking and stress in our daily lives. This is the preventable type of heart disease, so no matter how young you are, you should be working to avoid suffering from this condition.
Coronary Artery Disease includes angina, or a heavy or squeezing feeling in the chest. Often, people think they have heartburn when they experience these symptoms. You might also experience shortness of breath, sweating and a racing heart.
By identifying your risk factors and working to change them and offset them, you can possibly avoid this form of heart disease.
- Ischemic Heart Disease
Heart disease or cardiovascular disease covers a broad scope of tissues and organs. Anything having to do with the heart, heart valves, arteries, veins or the smaller capillaries and venules that provide blood to your tissues and organs is considered part of the cardiovascular system.
Ischemic heart disease is the most common type of heart disease. It occurs when there is a blockage of one or more of the coronary arteries that reduces the blood to the heart. This type of blockage, partial or full, can result in a lack of oxygen which causes shortness of breath and chest pain. A complete blockage generally results in a heart attack, aka myocardial infarction.
- Myocardial Infarction
This is the common heart attack. If you suffer from a heart attack, you can find that the symptoms are similar to angina, except they are much worse and can last for up to a half hour and do not get better with rest or medication. When you think you’re having a heart attack, you should call for medical assistance immediately.
- Heart Valve Disease
Symptoms include shortness of breath, weakness, pain in the chest and heart palpitations. People with this type of heart disease may also experience dizziness. This condition can lead to heart failure which can result in swelling in the feet, ankles and abdomen and rapid weight gain.
- Heart Failure
Heart Failure is another form of heart disease which is usually caused from a more congenital heart problem. Most of these problems occur to people who have a defect which they were born with or develop problems such as an enlarged heart. When a person is diagnosed with heart failure, it means that the heart is not effectively pumping blood throughout the body and needs help to do so. In many cases, the cure for this is a heart transplant.
The heart is a muscle. Over time this muscle can develop scar tissue either from infection or heart attacks. If your heart is denied oxygen due to a blockage some of the heart tissue can die as well. These factors can lead to your heart swelling as well as cause your heart to stop working.
This is also called an enlarged heart or Cardiomegaly and can be caused by high blood pressure which requires your heart to work harder to pump sufficient blood to your tissues.
- Vascular Disease
There are two types of vascular disease, peripheral vascular disease and cerebrovascular disease. Both are the result of a blockage in your arteries. In Cerebrovascular disease the blockage would be in your brain. Blockages can cause clots and strokes.
Peripheral vascular disease affects the circulation of your extremities and generally occurs in the legs. It’s often caused by an increase in a person’s clotting factors which can be caused by sitting for a long time, hormones, and a genetic predisposition.
Other Less Common Types of Heart Disease
There are other types of heart disease that are much less common. They include congenital heart disease, which occurs when a person is born with a malfunctioning heart. For example, they may have a heart valve that doesn’t close completely. Rheumatic heart disease is caused by a childhood infection in the heart.
The different types of heart disease can cause a whole host of problems including angina, atrial fibrillation, strokes, clots, high blood pressure and death. Taking good care of your heart health is the best prevention for the vast majority of heart related diseases and complications.
You need to know that most of the time, if you have heart disease, it is likely that you have CAD and can usually treat it with medications and a change to the diet and lifestyle. You should also know that much of what you do can affect whether or not you wind up with this type of heart disease.
The bottom line on heart disease, however, is that most of it is treatable and preventable.
So, you need to know your risk factors and work to decrease the factors which you can change. For instance, make sure to eat healthy! If you are one of those people who eat fast food frequently or often indulge in fried foods, you can make simple changes such as taking your lunch to work with you that will decrease your chances of suffering from heart disease dramatically.
You will also find that if you don’t exercise, a daily walk 45 minute brisk walk can help you to reduce your chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease.
Quitting smoking is another way that you can work to prevent heart disease.
If you are diagnosed with one of the types of heart disease, you should make sure that you know what type of condition you are suffering from so that you can better explore your treatment options for your heart condition.
However, you should know that many of these conditions can go unnoticed for years, so it’s not safe to assume that being diagnosed with one of these types of heart disease is a death sentence. In fact, many people who have heart problems live long, healthy lives when treated properly.