What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease (or cardiovascular disease) includes a variety of problems related to the blood flow to the heart muscle, a problem with the electrical system (Arrhythmia) or a problem with a valve in the heart.  The most common is the process of plaque building up in the walls of the arteries. This plaque build up is called atherosclerosis, which narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Heart Attack

When the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked by a blood clot, a heart attack occurs. If the clot cuts the blood flow off completely, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die. Most people survive their first heart attack and return to their normal lives. But having a heart attack does mean you have to make some lifestyle changes and your doctor may prescribe medications you will need to take. Learn more...

Stroke

The most common type of stroke (ischemic stroke) happens when a blood vessel that feeds the brain gets blocked, usually from a blood clot. When the blood supply to a part of the brain is shut off, brain cells will die. The result will be the inability to carry out some of the previous functions as before like walking or talking. A hemorrhagic stock occurs when a blood vessel within the brain bursts. The most likely cause is uncontrolled hypertension.

Some effects of stroke are permanent if too many brain cells die after a stroke due to lack of blood and oxygen to the brain. The good news is that some brain cells don't die — they're only temporarily out of order. Injured cells can repair themselves and as the repair takes place, some body functioning improves. Also, other brain cells may take control of those areas that were injured. In this way, strength may improve, speech may get better and memory may improve. This recovery process is what rehabilitation is all about. Learn more...

Heart Failure

Heart failure, sometimes called congestive heart failure, means the heart isn't pumping blood as well as it should. The heart keeps working, but the body's need for blood and oxygen isn't being met. Heart failure can get worse if it's not treated.

Arrhythmia

This is an abnormal rhythm of the heart. The heart can beat too slow, too fast or irregularly. Bradycardia is when the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. Tachycardia is when the heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute. An arrhythmia can affect how well the heart works. Learn more...

Heart Valve Problems

When heart valves don't open enough to allow the blood to flow through as it should, it's called stenosis. When the heart valves don't close properly and allow blood to leak through, it's called regurgitation. When the valve leaflets bulge or prolapse back into the upper chamber, it’s a condition called mitral valve prolapse. This allows blood to flow backward through them.

Cardiovascular Disease

Treatment

Heart Valve Problems

Medications
Heart Valve Surgery
Repair or Replacement of a valve through a catheter

Arrhythmia

Medications
Pacemaker
Cardiac Defibrillation
Cardiac Ablation

Heart Attack

Medications — clotbusters (should be administered as soon as possible for certain types of heart attacks)
Coronary Angioplasty/Stent
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery

Stroke

Medications — clotbusters (must be administered within 3 hours from onset of stroke symptoms for certain types of strokes)
Carotid Endarterectomy
Mechanical removal of blood clot through a catheter

Source: www.heart.org

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