Common Heart Diseases: Overview and Facts
The heart is basically a pump about the size of a fist; it is a muscular organ situated slightly left of center in your chest. The heart is a fragile organ and we should have a heart-healthy lifestyle to prevent the following diseases:
A heart attack (also called myocardial infarction) is usually triggered when the heart’s blood supply is blocked by a blood clot. A heart attack may not be fatal; most people survive their first heart attack but will likely suffer from a damaged heart. Medications and lifestyle changes are necessary according to how badly the heart was damaged. A person experiencing heart attack suffers from severe central chest pain, which may even spread to the left arm, jaw, or shoulder. However, the heart attack experience of a man may differ from that of a woman. Instead of an acute pain in the chest, women may have difficulty in breathing and pain in the shoulders, jaw, and/or upper back.
The term “heart failure” can be frightening but that doesn’t mean that a person’s heart stop beating; it only means that the heart is not pumping blood as much as it should, and the amount of blood and oxygen needed by the body is not being met. It manifests as shortness of breath, reduced exercise tolerance, and swelling of the ankles. Just like any other diseases, heart failure can get worse if not treated by a professional–in this case, a cardiologist.
Arrhythmias (Abnormal heart rhythms)
A normal, healthy heart beats in a steady, even rhythm (about 100,000 beats each day) but when a person is suffering from arrhythmia, it is a different story. In this case, the heart beats irregularly–for some it may be too slow and for others, too fast. The condition is called Bradycardia when the person’s heart rate is less than 60 beats every minute. On the other hand, Tachycardia is the condition when the heart rate goes over 100 beats per minute.
Congenital heart disease
You have a congenital heart disease if you are born with malformations of your heart’s structures. Doctors say that this disease may be the effect of the genes you inherited or adverse exposure to certain elements (unsafe medicines for pregnant women, too much alcohol, etc.) while you are still in your mother’s womb. Patients with congenital heart disease may have abnormal valves and heart chambers, and holes in the heart.
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