What Are Four Common Types of Heart Disease?

Reviewed on 11/12/2020

What Is Heart Disease?

Coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, heart valve disease and heart failure are the four most common types of heart disease.
Coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, heart valve disease and heart failure are the four most common types of heart disease.
Heart disease refers to several types of conditions that affect the heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., causing about 1 in 4 deaths.

What Are 4 Common Types of Heart Disease?

Common types of heart disease include: 

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease
    • The most common type of heart disease in the U.S. 
    • Affects the blood flow to the heart and can lead to a heart attack
  • Arrhythmia 
    • A change in the heart’s sequence of electrical impulses 
    • Can result in heartbeats that are too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or irregular (palpitations)
  • Heart valve disease 
    • Occurs when a valve in the heart is damaged or diseased
  • Heart failure 
    • A condition in which the heart does not work as well as it should, resulting in fluid buildup
    • Heart failure does not mean the heart has stopped beating

What Are Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Coronary artery disease may not cause any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they often happen with exercise and may include:

  • Pain, pressure, or discomfort in chest
  • Pain, tingling, or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart attack (may be the first symptom of coronary artery disease)
    • Heart attack is a medical emergency. If you experience any symptoms listed below call 911 and get to a hospital’s emergency department immediately. 
    • Pain, pressure, or discomfort in the center of the chest
    • Pain, tingling, or discomfort the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Belching 
    • Indigestion/heartburn
    • Sweating or cold, clammy skin
    • Fast or uneven heartbeat
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Arrhythmia may not cause any symptoms or only minor symptoms such as the feeling of a skipped heartbeat or fluttering in the chest or neck. When symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Fatigue 
  • Weakness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Lightheadedness, fainting, or near-fainting spells 
  • Rapid heartbeat or pounding in the chest 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Anxiety 
  • Chest pain or pressure 
  • In severe cases, collapse and sudden cardiac arrest 
    • Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency and can be fatal. If someone you know is experience any symptoms listed below call 911 and get to a hospital’s emergency department immediately. 
      • Sudden loss of responsiveness 
      • No normal breathing (not breathing at all or gasping for air)

Symptoms of heart valve disease include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, or legs
  • Elevated neck veins
  • Heart murmur 
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fever
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Irregular heartbeat

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Racing heartbeat, even at rest
  • Elevated neck veins
  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, and abdomen

SLIDESHOW

Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack See Slideshow

How Is Heart Disease Diagnosed?

Tests to diagnose heart disease include: 

  • Electrocardiogram (“ECG”) 
  • Stress test 
  • Echocardiogram (“echo”)
  • Cardiac catheterization (“cardiac cath”) 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the heart 
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart
  • Tilt table test
  • Electrophysiology study (EP)
  • Diagnostic monitors
  • Blood tests: brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) or N-terminal pro-BNP (NT-proBNP)

What Is the Treatment for Heart Disease?

Treatment for coronary artery disease includes: 

  • Lifestyle changes 
    • Don’t smoke
    • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods with a lot of fiber
    • Avoid foods high in sugar
    • Exercise regularly
    • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Medications  
  • Surgery
    • Stenting
    • Bypass surgery (also called coronary artery bypass grafting or CABG) 

Treatment for arrhythmia includes:

  • Medications  
    • Calcium channel blockers
    • Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
  • Ablation
  • Cardioversion
  • Implantable devices

Treatment for heart valve disease includes:

  • Medications  
  • Surgery
    • Heart valve repair
    • Valve replacement

Treatment for heart failure includes:

  • Lifestyle changes
    • Don’t smoke
    • Maintain a healthy weight 
    • Track daily fluid intake
    • Limit or avoid alcohol 
    • Limit or avoid caffeine
    • Eat a heart-healthy diet
    • Exercise regularly 
    • Manage stress
    • Keep blood pressure in check
    • Get vaccinated for flu and pneumonia
  • Medications
    • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
    • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (or inhibitors)
    • Angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitors (ARNIs)
    • If channel blocker (or inhibitor)
    • Beta-blockers 
    • Aldosterone antagonists
    • Hydralazine and isosorbide dinitrate (specifically benefits African-Americans with heart failure)
    • Diuretics 
    • Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
    • Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins)    
    • Digoxin 
  • Devices 
    • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
    • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)
    • Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)
  • Surgery

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Reviewed on 11/12/2020
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