Common Types of Heart Diseases

Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of deaths in India. According to the largest-ever study conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), about 25% of the deaths in the age group of 25-69 years occur because of heart diseases. In Urban India, 32.8% deaths occur because of heart ailments, while in rural India it is 22.9%.

Different factors like unhealthy food habits, sedentary lifestyles, increased stress and pressure are some of the main causes of these deadly diseases. Lack of awareness among the people is making the situation even more perilous.

Hence, a basic idea about the common types and causes of heart diseases, their resulting conditions and warning signs helps us to do a conscious effort to prevent the risk of heart diseases. In this article, we will discuss about heart diseases and their causes and symptoms.

Heart diseases

Heart diseases, also called as cardiovascular diseases, are a group of acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) medical conditions that may affect any of the components of heart.

There are around 50 different types of heart diseases among which coronary artery diseases are the most common. Except for congenital diseases, which are hereditary the rest develop over time. Following are the major kinds of heart diseases.

Four common types of heart diseases

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Coronary artery disease is one of the most common types of heart diseases. In this condition, the heart lacks the supply of sufficient amounts of blood and oxygen. Due to the high deposits of cholesterol or other fatty substances in the walls of arteries (blood vessels that carry blood to heart), they become narrow making it harder for the blood to flow through. If the condition persists, blood clots form and stop the blood flow resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

  • Causes: Risk factors or the main causes of CAD are high LDL cholesterol, low HDL, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, high saturated fatty diet, physical inactivity, etc.
  • Symptoms: Though the symptoms of CAD vary depending on the severity of the disease some common symptoms that can be considered are, mild to severe chest pain; heaviness, tightness and pressure in the chest behind the breastbone; pain passing to the arms, shoulders, jaw, neck, and back, shortness of breath, etc.

Heart failure: Heart failure is a serious condition that happens when the heart is not able to supply required amount of oxygenated blood to different parts of the body. This doesn’t mean that the heart stops functioning. It works but not as effectively as a healthy heart. It does not occur all of a sudden, but when left undiagnosed it gradually worsens over time.

  • Causes: Uncontrolled high blood pressure, CAD, excessive sodium intake, diabetes, heart valve disease, infections in different parts of the heart, previous heart attacks, chronic lung diseases, etc.
  • Symptoms: Shortness of breath during rest, exercise or while lying flat; visible swelling of the legs and ankles, fatigue; weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, reduced urination, etc.

Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia refers to an abnormal rhythm of the heart, which makes the heart to pump less effectively. Either the heart beats too fast or too slow, or irregularly and as a result the body may not receive enough blood.

  • Causes: Any interruptions in the heart’s electrical impulses can result in Arrhythmia. Coronary heart diseases, etc.
  • Symptoms: Weakness, fatigue, palpitations, low blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, etc.

Heart valve disease: The malfunctioning of the heart valves either make the blood to flow backward or make it difficult for the blood to flow by becoming narrow. This affects the ability of the heart to pump adequate amounts of the blood to the body, which leads to heart failure.

  • Causes: History of rheumatic fever, damage caused due to previous heart attacks and infection, changes in the heart valve structure due to aging, etc.
  • Symptoms: Chest pain, palpitations caused by irregular heartbeats, low or high blood pressure, shortness of breath, abdominal pain due to an enlarged liver, etc.

Learn about the resulting conditions, warning signs and how to prevent heart diseases in our next articles.

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