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What is Heart Disease?


What is Heart Disease?

Part muscle and part organ, the job of the heart is of the utmost importance. Because the heart is so important, heart disease, also known as cardiac disease, is always a very serious situation. It’s impossible to understand the importance of taking care of your heart and body to prevent heart disease as well as having any irregularities and symptoms checked immediately with your doctor.

The term heart disease refers to a number of serious heart conditions, some of which are avoidable and some of which that are not. Accounting for roughly a quarter of all deaths in the United States, it’s important to be aware of heart disease. Here are the most serious types of heart disease.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is to a large extent avoidable. High blood pressure, smoking and obesity are just a few avoidable factors that lead to the disease. Essentially, coronary artery disease is the buildup of plaque in the arteries. To a certain extent, the heart can manage the situation although it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

Overexertion during exercise or stress can prohibit sufficient oxygen from getting to the heart eventually leading to a heart attack. The blockage could also lead to a stroke which is the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain.

Cardiomyopathy

There are three types of cardiomyopathy, which is a swollen and hardened heart resulting in an inability to pump blood around the body. It can lead to heart failure, as mentioned below, and it can also lead to a “backup” of blood through the body.

There are three types of cardiomyopathy and each can be caused by unavoidable circumstances, specifically hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which may be genetic, and restrictive cardiomyopathy, which can be caused by chemotherapy as well as a few heart abnormalities.

Dilated cardiomyopathy can also be caused by abnormalities but other causes include alcoholism and drugs, which are of course completely and tragically avoidable.

Symptoms of cardiomyopathy can be difficult to recognize and include fatigue, weight gain, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest pain. Dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy can lead to sudden death, though it is a rare occurrence.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure is a heart that is too weak to sufficiently pump blood throughout the body. It is often thought that heart failure occurs when the heart has completely stopped working but that is not the case. Instead, everything slows down, including the rate at which the blood travels through the body.

The result is heart that stretches to hold more blood and therefore can temporarily pump more throughout the body but it takes a significant toll on the heart to the point that it can no longer do the task. As a result, several of organs and bodily functions can also begin to fail.

As you might expect, many of the problems of the heart are interrelated and both coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy can lead to congestive heart failure. Other causes can be kidney disease, diabetes or birth defects.


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