Doctor's Notes on Heart Disease
Heart disease (cardiac disease) describes any disorder that affects the heart. It is not the same as cardiovascular disease, which is any disease of the heart blood vessels.
Some people with heart disease may have no apparent symptoms. Arteries may be blocked 50% or more without causing any symptoms. When symptoms of heart disease do occur, they may include
- palpitations (a sensation of rapid or very strong heartbeats in your chest),
- weakness on exertion or at rest,
- irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), and
- chest pain on exertion (angina pectoris).
Sudden cardiac arrest can occur when the heart suddenly stops beating effectively. This condition can be fatal. Cardiac arrest typically occurs in people who have had previous heart attacks, but it may occur as the first symptom of heart disease.
What is the Treatment for Heart Disease?
Treatment for heart disease depends on the specific condition and may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Calcium channel blockers
- Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
- Statins to lower cholesterol
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
- Anti-arrhythmic medications
- Aspirin or other medications to help prevent blood clots
- Medicines to treat diabetes
Heart Disease : Test Your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.See Answer
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Angina (Ischemic Chest Pain)Angina is a term to describe chest pain that occurs when the heart is not getting enough blood. There are two types of angina, stable (the most common) and unstable. Stable angina generally lasts less than 5 minutes and is relieved by nitroglycerin tablets. Angina may be caused by heart disease, coronary artery spasm, or other causes. Risk factors for angina include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, family history, aging, and stimulant use. Treatment depends upon the cause of angina.
Automated External Defibrillators (AED)Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are used when a person has had a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest. It is a machine that instructs the user through the steps to defibrillate the victim. As more and more AEDs are placed in public places, more lives are saved from sudden cardiac arrest.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a procedure a person can use to assist a person who is in cardiac arrest. Providing CPR to a person who is in cardiac arrest can save their life.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition in which a person's heart is failing and it can't pump enough blood and oxygen to the body's tissues. Sometimes people with CHF don't know they have it. Early signs and symptoms symptoms are cough, shortness of breath, and having problems breathing; especially when lying down. And, if you have breathing problems like asthma, COPD, or emphysema and you think your condition is worsening. There are four stages of CHF. There's no cure for CHF, but treatments include drug therapy, diet, and lifestyle changes to relive symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Life expectancy depends on existing medical problems, age, and overall health.
Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)An electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) is a tool used to assist in diagnosing heart diseases and conditions, for example, atrial and ventricular fibrillation, heart attacks, and heart failure.
Hardening of the Arteries (Atherosclerosis)Atherosclerosis is the term referring to a hardening of the arteries caused by buildup of fat and cholesterol on the artery walls. The deposits, called plaque, can eventually block blood flow. Obesity, high cholesterol, age and a number of other factors put people at risk for atherosclerosis. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, surgery, and medication.
Heart AttackA heart attack is an interruption in blood flow to the heart muscle. Arterial plaque rupture is often the cause of a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack may include chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, and nausea. Emergency heart catheterization and thrombolytic therapy may be used to treat a heart attack.
What Are Four Common Types of Heart Disease?Coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, heart valve disease and heart failure are the four most common types of heart disease.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.