Dr Vinay Borwal explains common heart problems that one should know
What are the most common heart problems?
Types of heart problems one should be aware of
There are many different heart conditions and problems which are collectively called heart disease. Here are a few common heart problems/conditions
Coronary heart disease
A very common heart condition is coronary heart disease. This is caused when the heart’s blood vessels - the coronary arteries - become narrowed or blocked and can’t supply enough blood to the heart. It can lead to angina and/or a heart attack.
Angina is a pain or discomfort in your chest, arm, neck, stomach, or jaw that happens when the blood supply to your heart becomes restricted because your arteries become narrowed. Angina is a symptom of coronary heart disease, not an illness in itself. Angina is your heart’s way of telling you it’s not getting enough oxygen when you’re doing something strenuous or you’re feeling under stress. Many people learn to recognize how much activity will bring on an angina attack - this is called stable angina.
Unstable angina can be undiagnosed chest pain or a sudden worsening of existing angina. It happens when the blood supply to the heart is severely restricted and angina attacks occur more frequently, with less and less activity.
Heart attack - also known as myocardial infarction or MI - happens when the blood supply to part of your heart muscle becomes completely blocked. This is most commonly caused by a piece of fatty material breaking off and a blood clot forms within a coronary artery. This can cause damage to the part of your heart muscle which that particular coronary artery was supplying.
If the heart’s pumping action can’t work effectively, your heart muscle can’t meet your body’s demand for blood and oxygen, and your body develops various different symptoms, like fatigue and shortness of breath. This is called heart failure because of the failure of your heart to work efficiently.
The heart muscle has its own electrical system which helps to stimulate the heartbeat. If the electrical signals within your heart are interrupted or disturbed, your heart can beat too quickly (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia) and/or in an irregular way. This is called an arrhythmia.
Valves open and close to regulate the flow of blood through the heart. Problems with the valves can increase the workload of your heart and can put a strain on your heart muscle, leading to various symptoms
Congenital heart conditions
Congenital heart conditions occur when there’s an abnormality or defect in the structure of the heart of a developing fetus while inside the mother’s womb. A baby may be born with only one defect or with several defects. Some types of congenital heart defects are life-threatening
Inherited heart conditions
Inherited conditions can be passed on through families. They are sometimes called familial or genetic heart conditions. They can affect people of any age and can be life-threatening.
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