What Is Heart Disease?
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Heart disease affects more than 20 million Americans. Let's explore the various forms that heart disease can take.
Transcript: Heart Disease affects more than 20 million Americans, and is one of the leading causes of death in this...
Heart Disease affects more than 20 million Americans, and is one of the leading causes of death in this country. But what exactly does the term heart disease mean? When most people talk about heart disease, they usually mean coronary artery disease, the illness which causes both angina and heart attacks. However, there are also other conditions that can affect our cardiovascular system, such as congestive heart failure and aneurysms. To better understand each of these diseases, it helps to review how the heart works. Basically the heart is a pump. Its purpose is to circulate blood to all of the organs of the body. The heart is made up of four chambers, two ventricles that pump blood out of the heart, and two atria, which hold the blood returning to the heart. The heart receives its entire supply of blood through the three coronary arteries. Coronary artery disease occurs when there is a buildup of fatty plaque known as atherosclerosis inside the coronary arteries. When the buildup is sufficient to restrict, but not stop, blood flow into the heart, the result is angina, a discomfort or pain in the chest. Angina isn't actually a disease, but rather is a symptom of coronary artery disease. When the buildup of atherosclerosis is sufficient to interrupt blood flow to the heart, the result is the death of heart muscle cells, commonly known as a heart attack. So, both angina and heart attacks are really caused by the buildup here, in the coronary arteries. Congestive Heart Failure, on the other hand occurs when the heart is pumping inefficiently and can no longer meet the body's need for blood. The ventricles, which are the main pumps within the heart, often are to blame for the insufficient blood flow. The "congestive" part of Congestive Heart Failure comes from the backup of blood in the veins leading into the heart. This backup causes the kidney to retain fluids. Other, less common diseases affect other parts of the heart. For example, when a patient is suffering from an aneurysm, that means that their aorta has swollen, creating a bulge in the artery. Understanding heart disease is an important first step towards prevention. It may also be worthwhile to learn how high blood pressure and cholesterol can impact your heart health, and to incorporate some of the lifestyle tips on preventing heart disease available in other videos in this library. Remember, heart disease is both complex and serious, and you should always consult a physician if you are concerned about your cardio health. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
Last Modified: 2013-09-27 | Tags »
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You know you're in pain, but is it a heart attack? Learn about heart attacks symptoms, and what to do in an emergency in this video.
Transcript: When someone has a heart attack, they need to receive medical attention as soon as possible. How can...
When someone has a heart attack, they need to receive medical attention as soon as possible. How can you tell when what you are experiencing is a heart attack? How should you respond? It can sometimes be hard to differentiate between the symptoms of a heart attack and more common occurrences like chest pain or severe heartburn. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help tell the difference. While all three conditions are characterized by intense pain in and around the chest, there are several distinctive symptoms associated with a heart attack. Often, people suffering from a heart attack describe the pain they feel as radiating outward and leading to intense pain in the back, throat, or jaw. There can also be pain running down the left arm. Many heart attack sufferers also feel weakness and a distinct shortness of breath because the heart is no longer effectively circulating blood. Nausea, vomiting, a feeling of dizziness, and profuse sweating are also common symptoms of heart attack. All of these symptoms can be better understood in the context of what happens during a heart attack. The heart itself is a muscle, and its job is to circulate blood throughout the body. Oxygen-rich blood comes into the heart through two passages, known as the coronary arteries. Heart attacks occur when the fatty deposits or plaque build up in these arteries rupture and cause a clot in the artery. Without this oxygen-rich blood, the heart muscle begins to die, which is the source of the pain during a heart attack. Given this, it is not surprising that one other common symptom of heart attack is a rapid or an irregular heartbeat. The right response to a heart attack is simple. First, call 911 immediately, and ask for emergency help. Second, while you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive, take one regular strength aspirin tablet. This will prevent blood clotting that can worsen a heart attack. Being able to quickly recognize a heart attack will help you to respond fast, and the sooner you get proper treatment, the better your chances are of avoiding permanent damage to the heart. Remember, heart disease is both complex and serious, and you should always consult a physician if you have concerns. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-21 | Tags »
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Angina is not the same as a heart attack. Learn how to spot the symptoms of angina, and how you can treat it.
Transcript: Over 6 Million Americans suffer from Angina. But what exactly is Angina? Angina is chest pain or discomfort...
Over 6 Million Americans suffer from Angina. But what exactly is Angina? Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen. Angina is not the same thing as a heart attack, although its symptoms can sometimes appear similar. Angina occurs when the coronary arteries, the primary source of blood for the heart, become partially blocked by a build up of fatty deposits called plaque. This build up reduces the flow of blood to the heart, decreasing the supply of oxygen and causing the pain we experience as Angina.There are three different types of Angina. Unstable angina is a serious condition that requires emergency treatment, and sometimes signals an impending heart attack. Unstable angina is different from stable angina in that it can occur more frequently, can feel more severe, and can continue while at rest. Prinzmetals Angina is an unusual kind of Angina that occurs only when the patient is at rest, is exposed to cold temperatures, or is sleeping. Diagnosing angina requires a physical exam, a comprehensive medical history, and possibly a series of diagnostic tests. It is complex condition that can only be diagnosed by your doctor. While it may be possible for a physician to determine if you have Angina just from the physical exam and history, tests will often need to be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include an EKG, which measures the regularity of your heartbeat, stress tests to see how your heart responds to exercise, and diagnostic blood tests. For patients suffering from Angina, there are several effective treatment options available. The first and simplest option is a lifestyle change. Your doctor can advise you on how to make dietary changes, lose weight, and change your physical activities to avoid angina episodes. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe medications that can help with your angina. For example, nitrates can be used both to relieve pain during the onset of an episode and to actually prevent an episode. When other methods do not work, Angioplasty or Surgery may be necessary to treat Angina. It is important to understand that not all chest pain or discomfort is Angina. Chest pain can be caused by any number of factors including heart attack, lung problems, heartburn, or a panic attack. If you are experiencing chest pain, whether you believe it is Angina or something different, please see a physician as soon as possible. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
Last Modified: 2013-09-27 | Tags »
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It all boils down to blood flow, when it comes to a heart attack.But do you know what interferes with that blood flow? Watch this to learn the basics.
Transcript: A heart attack occurs when blood flow to your heart is REDUCED OR INTERRUPTED. Sure, there's a lot more...
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to your heart is REDUCED OR INTERRUPTED. Sure, there's a lot more that goes into it than that, but it all boils down to blood flow.There are two things that can interfere with blood flow:First--disease in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This is known as CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE. And SECOND, a severe arterial spasm. Coronary artery disease is the MOST common cause of a heart attack. The coronary arteries bring blood and oxygen TO the heart, and if you have coronary disease, this means those arteries are narrowed by a waxy plaque buildup. Blood platelets can stick to this plaque, which is made up of cholesterol and other cells, causing clots to form-or chunks of the plaque itself can be become dislodged and form a FULL arterial blockage. But in other cases -- for instance, when you're stressed or in the midst of strenuous activity - REDUCED blood flow due to plaque buildup can also cause a heart attack. Risk factors for developing coronary artery disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, depression and chronic stress....and fortunately you can control MANY of these risk factors.Coronary artery SPASMS, although rare, CAN happen in people who have heart disease AND in people with healthy hearts. In those cases, the spasms may be triggered by tobacco use, exposure to cold, emotional stress or drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine.If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 RIGHT AWAY. This will allow for possible life-saving emergency treatments, such as drugs that'll break down the clot, or angioplasty, a procedure that opens narrowed arteries. In severe cases, heart bypass surgery may be performed. After a heart attack, your chance of having another one is higher, and your doctor will fill you in on lifestyle changes and possible medications.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Do you know the difference between a heart attack and angina? Learn more about the three types of angina and their connection to heart attacks in this video.
Transcript: "'Angina: when it feels like a heart attack, but it's not--yet.' If angina had a slogan THAT could be...
"'Angina: when it feels like a heart attack, but it's not--yet.' If angina had a slogan THAT could be it.Angina is generally a symptom of coronary artery disease, causing chest pain or discomfort that is triggered when the heart muscle isn't getting enough blood. It is sometimes accompanied by indigestion, heartburn, weakness, sweating, nausea, cramping and shortness of breath. There are three types of angina related to blocked coronary arteries: unstable, stable and variant, as noted by the National Institutes of Health. Unstable angina is the most dangerous form because: *it is unpredictable, * it can happen even without any exertion, * it DOESN'T go away with rest or medication * and it's a sign that you may have a heart attack soon. Unstable angina is usually triggered by the formation of blood clots that partially block blood flow, partially dissolve, and then later form again. It's this seemingly random pattern that makes this form of angina so UNstable. Every time a clot blocks an artery, the pain of angina can occur.Stable angina, also known as effort angina, typically appears during periods of physical activity such as walking, heavy lifting or running. Emotional stress, exposure to very hot or cold temperatures, heavy meals and smoking can also trigger episodes. Symptoms such as chest pain can last for several minutes after activity is stopped. Variant angina is RARE and is caused by muscle spasms in the lining of coronary blood vessel walls. It usually happens while a person is at rest, typically sometime between midnight and early morning. It happens most often in people who have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, but it can also be triggered by alcohol withdrawal, emotional stress, cold weather, certain medications that constrict blood vessels, and certain stimulant drugs such as tobacco, amphetamines or cocaine. While angina is often a sign that the BIG arteries that feed blood to your heart are narrowed by plaque, sometimes it can be a sign of MICROvascular disease-also called cardiac syndrome X and non-obstructive CHD coronary heart disease. Reduced blood flow through the TINY blood vessels that supply the heart muscle can be caused by plaque in the arteries, artery spasms, or a damaged or diseased artery. Microvascular angina can be more severe and last longer than other types of angina.Studies have shown that coronary microvascular disease is more likely to affect women than men. And medicine may not relieve this type of angina. To find out how angina is diagnosed and treated, check out other videos on this site." "More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-02 | Tags »
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When a heart attack occurs in a young person, it's especially tragic. Learn more about heart attacks before middle age in this video.
Transcript: When you're young, you're invincible. Or so you think. But sudden cardiac death and heart attacks DO...
When you're young, you're invincible. Or so you think. But sudden cardiac death and heart attacks DO occasionally happen to certain people in their 20s or 30s.There are two main causes: a genetic predisposition to heart disease or an unhealthy lifestyle.The American Heart Association says that heart attacks that happen to people 40 or younger are often related to a genetic defect. One type of defect causes the liver to over-produce cholesterol. This can lead to blood vessel damage and blood clots. Other defects may cause inflammation, which also promotes blood vessel damage or uncontrollable irregular heartbeats. There's no way to know exactly WHO might be vulnerable or how vulnerable they are, but genetic testing to look for two newly-identified genes that play a role in premature heart disease may change that. For now, the best way to know if you are at risk is to look at your family history. If any close male relatives had a heart attack before age 55, or any women before age 65, you may be at risk for an early heart attack.Certain heart disease risk factors aren't easily controlled, such as age, gender and race. However, for those with a genetic predisposition, there ARE ways to dodge heart problems. Researchers at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have found that 95 per cent of us can override our genes by following a healthy lifestyle. And that's where the second strongest risk factor for early heart disease comes in: Our lifestyle is a powerful force for good heart health ... or bad. Studies have shown that teens, 20 something's and people in their early 30s are more inactive and eat more fatty processed foods than any previous generations. For instance, an NIH-funded survey sampling 1,700 eighth-grade kids found that 48 percent of them had pre-diabetes. About 14 percent had metabolic syndrome, a combination of abnormal fat and cholesterol levels in the blood and high blood pressure - most likely due to lack of exercise and a poor diet. Meaning these kids are already at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and heart attack.Dr. David S. Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital Boston has said that ''Obesity is such that this generation of children could be the first in the history of the United States to live less healthful and shorter lives than their parents.'' Also lifestyle changes can make a difference. For example: *Commit to a healthy diet*Start exercising regularly* Stop smoking*Drink alcohol only in moderation *And don't take dangerous drugs, such as cocaine, speed or heroin. All of these can greatly REDUCE the risk of a heart attack - even in those with a strong family history of heart disease. For more information on how to keep your heart health in shape, check out other videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Certain symptoms leave people wondering whether they've experienced a heart attack or heart burn. Learn more about the symptoms for each by watching this video.
Transcript: "While they BOTH can bring on a burning sensation or intense pain in your chest that radiates into the...
"While they BOTH can bring on a burning sensation or intense pain in your chest that radiates into the upper abdomen, neck and throat, there are ways you can tell the difference. Heartburn is caused by gastric reflux, the regurgitation of stomach acid. When it is severe, it can produce a stinging, chest-tightening, stabbing pain that radiates throughout your torso. And although it is not immediately life-threatening, it CAN cause serious health problems. When heartburn is chronic, it's a risk factor for esophageal cancer. So it does merit medical treatment. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is STOPPED, often by a blood clot, and the affected muscles either suffer damage or die. This is what sparks the oppressive, fiery pain that may spread through the chest and other parts of the upper body. Weakness and shortness of breath may also happen, because the heart is no longer effectively circulating blood. Sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness and nausea are also common during a heart attack, but NOT during episodes of heartburn. If you even WONDER if you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 right away. It's always best to over-react; under-reacting could have serious consequences. And emergency responders don't mind, if it turns out you're only dealing with severe indigestion. For more information on heart health, check out other videos on this site"More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-11 | Tags »
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Did you know that around 7 million Americans are living with angina? Find out how it's diagnosed and treated in this video.
Transcript: "Almost 7 million Americans are dealing with angina. When their angina attacks, they suddenly feel like...
"Almost 7 million Americans are dealing with angina. When their angina attacks, they suddenly feel like a 10-ton weight has been dropped on their chest, with sharp stabbing pains radiating inside. This pain and pressure is the result of an imbalance between the supply of and demand for oxygen within the heart muscles. It may be caused by coronary artery spasms and/or obstructions in the main blood vessels.If you experience this kind of chest pain, get to the doctor IMMEDIATELY. To diagnose angina, your doctor will consider risk factors such as age - the typical age of onset is 62-- weight, physical activity, and smoking and drinking patterns. When talking to your doctor, you'll want to be detailed about your symptoms. Make sure to mention any pain that shoots into the back, neck and arms; breathlessness; weakness; nausea; indigestion; and sweating.If the doctor suspects that angina IS the cause of your discomfort, an electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG, will be administered. This detects changes in heart muscle due to lack of oxygen. If the EKG comes out "normal," an exercise stress test will then be given. Or, additionally, diagnosis can be done with a stress ECHOcardiograph that combines the exercise test and ultrasound imaging, a cardiac catheterization that takes X-rays of the coronary arteries, or a CT coronary angiogram that uses an intravenous dye and CT scanning to inspect the coronary arteries for blockages or weakness.If ANY of these tests confirm you have angina, the treatment may include rest, and medications such as nitroglycerin, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. Sometimes angioplasty or a coronary artery bypass surgery is required. In general, the main goals of angina treatment are to relieve symptoms, slow progression of the coronary artery disease that's causing your pain, and to help you AVOID a heart attack. " "More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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There is no doubt that heart disease and smoking are directly related to each other. Find out more about this connection by watching this video.
Transcript: With all the talk of how cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and other respiratory problems, it's easy...
With all the talk of how cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and other respiratory problems, it's easy to overlook the impact it can have on your heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system. In the United States, about 20 percent of deaths from heart disease are directly related to cigarette smoking.The heart is damaged by smoking because the chemicals in cigarette smoke encourage the buildup of plaque - a fatty substance-- along artery walls. Over time, the plaque thickens and hardens, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the heart. This sets the stage for angina, stroke and heart attack. The nicotine in cigarettes is another heart attacker. It increases blood pressure, heart rate and blood clotting, while it decreases levels of available oxygen. The result is damage to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels. If you happen to be a smoker who also has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or are overweight, well, your chances of developing heart disease are even greater. The MORE you smoke, the greater your risk for developing heart disease, period. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as nonsmokers. But your risk of heart disease is cut IN HALF just ONE YEAR after quitting. For more information on preventing heart disease, watch the other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-09 | Tags »
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If bedroom walls could talk, they'd answer your question if sex can cause a heart attack. As well as who's more likely to experience one during the throws of passion. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: "If Rose Nylund's bedroom walls could talk, they'd make it clear that sex can cause a heart attack. That...
"If Rose Nylund's bedroom walls could talk, they'd make it clear that sex can cause a heart attack. That IS how her husband Charlie died after all. True, the Golden Girl, played by Betty White, indulged in fictional nights of passion, but medical research HAS shown that sex can-on rare occasions-- trigger a heart attack. According to a 1996 study by Harvard Medical School researchers, sexual activity is a contributing factor in less than 1 percent of heart attacks. And having had a heart attack should NOT prevent you from having a satisfying sex life. Doctors DO ADVISE that if you've had a heart attack, to avoid unhealthy stress on the heart you SHOULD wait three to four weeks before resuming sexual activity. So who are the one percent of people at risk for a heart attack during sex? MEN are most at risk, particularly those in their late 50s to early 60s, rarely exercise, and have pre-existing heart problems. They also tend to be men who have not had an active sex life in recent years. A 2011 study published in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, confirmed these findings WHY MEN? Is there an actual gender distinction here? During moments of INTENSE physical activity, stress is placed on the heart and blood vessels as your heart rate increases. Chest pain can start as the heart becomes deprived of the oxygen it needs to function. And in a few minutes or a few hours a heart attack can hit. The best way for anyone at risk to avoid a heart attack during passion is to start exercising more regularly. Start with short brisk walks a few times a week, and you'll strengthen the heart's muscles and blood vessels. Research has shown that the risk of heart attack drops by about 45 percent as a result of regular exercise. You may also want to stay on top during sex, because if you lie on your back fluid is more likely to pool in your lungs, reducing the supply of oxygen to the heart muscle. To learn about other heart attack causes and prevention measures, check out more videos on this site." "More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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Broken Heart Syndrome typically occurs after a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, break up, or even moments of sudden fear, extreme anger, and surprise.
Transcript: The medical examiner said Johnny Cash died of complications related to diabetes. And while strictly speaking...
The medical examiner said Johnny Cash died of complications related to diabetes. And while strictly speaking that may be the case, many fans believe it was broken heart syndrome that actually caused his death. After all, the iconic musician died less than four months after his wife -- and soul mate -- June Carter passed away in 2003. Broken heart syndrome, also called stress cardiomyopathy, can aggravate a person's existing health problems. This happens because the syndrome puts stress on the heart, which eventually affects the health of the whole body. This stress often feels like a mild, continuous heart attack and can cause heavy pains in the chest that last a few days-or in some cases a few months. The feeling of a heavy heart is caused by the body's overproduction of various chemicals and hormones, including the stress hormones, adrenaline and noradrenaline. When these hormones flood the heart muscles, they can become temporarily enlarged. This can make the heart unable to pump correctly. In addition, the stress hormones may cause the arteries to narrow, causing restricted blood flow. Adrenaline can also bind to the heart tissue, causing calcium to enter the cells, which stiffens the heart muscle. Broken Heart Syndrome typically occurs after a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, break up, or even moments of sudden fear, extreme anger, and surprise. In one study published in the journal of Circulation, researchers looked at almost 2,000 people hospitalized for a heart attack and found that in the week after a loved one dies the risk of heart attack skyrockets 21 percent. But it can also occur after experiencing stroke, seizure, difficulty breathing or significant bleeding. Since the symptoms of broken heart syndrome are sometimes similar to a heart attack - sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heart beat - it can be mistaken for one. However, heart attacks are typically caused by blockages in the arteries, whereas with broken heart syndrome there are no actual blockages, just reduced blood flow due to the stress. It is often diagnosed with use of an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG), a blood test and an overall physical. A broken heart may have hastened Johnny Cash's death, but research shows that more than 90 percent of cases reported have been in women, particularly those older than 60. Still, the syndrome CAN occur in younger women and men; after all, they too can have their hearts broken. Luckily, broken heart syndrome does not always lead to a heart attack or worse. In fact it has been known to clear up anywhere from a few days to within a few months. But when you're hit with a situation like Cash's, and you lose the 'rose of your heart,' it may not have a reason to beat.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-03 | Tags »
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You've heard about this celebrity and that celebrity dying of congestive heart failure. Hey, one of your grandparents may've even been hit by it. But do you really know what it is? or if it's any different from a heart attack? Watch this to find out.
Transcript: Congestive heart failure happens when coronary artery disease or some other trigger, such as valve disease...
Congestive heart failure happens when coronary artery disease or some other trigger, such as valve disease or damage to the heart from drug or alcohol abuse, causes the heart muscles to become too weak to pump blood throughout the body. As the heart TRIES to work harder and harder to pump the blood, the muscles stretch or thicken, and eventually they lose their elasticity. The heart becomes increasingly LESS EFFICIENT at pumping the blood to vital organs and tissue and this starts a cascade of OTHER health problems. For example, without a sufficient blood supply, the body's organs become damaged. And organ damage can challenge the body even further. For example, let's look at the kidneys. Without enough blood flow, the kidneys may stop properly filtering liquid from the body, causing the limbs, lungs, and other organs, such as the heart, to swell and become CONGESTED. Excess fluid buildup can cause frequent urination, and a lack of appetite due to abdominal swelling. If fluid builds up in the lungs you may have difficulty breathing, or even wheeze and cough, especially when lying on your back.Dizziness, fatigue, weakness, and rapid or irregular heartbeats are additional side effects of fluid buildup.About 550,000 people are diagnosed with congestive heart failure each year and nearly 5 million Americans are living with the condition. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise, and smoking or drinking cessation can significantly reduce your chances of heart disease and congestive heart failure.If you find that you're experiencing ANY of these symptoms, contact your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-11 | Tags »
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Wondering if you have a heart disease? Heart disease includes a number of conditions. Watch this video to learn in detail about what qualifies as heart disease.
Transcript: Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a diverse group of disorders. Heart disease can include:*...
Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a diverse group of disorders. Heart disease can include:* conditions that affect the blood vessels,* heart arrhythmia-which is an irregular heartbeat, * cardiomyopathy-the diseased and sick heart muscle, * diseases of the heart valves, * and heart defects. Let's take a look at each of these forms of heart disease.Conditions that happen because of damage to the heart's blood vessels are a form of CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE. They include: * atherosclerosis-that's the narrowing and stiffening of the blood vessels, caused by fatty deposits, called PLAQUE, along the walls of the vessels* angina-chest pain or discomfort that occurs when heart muscle is deprived of oxygen because of narrowed blood vessels* ischemic stroke-this happens when blood flow to the brain is blocked by plaque that breaks off from the blood vessel walls, creating an obstruction * and even heart attack, which happens when blood flow to the heart is severely reduced. Another form of heart disease, HEART ARRHYTHMIA, is abnormal heart rhythm, and may be triggered by high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, excessive use of drugs, alcohol and caffeine, stress, and problems with the heart VALVES, which control blood flow into and out of the heart. Sometimes, a diseased or congenitally deformed heart can cause the heart's electrical impulses to travel erratically through the heart muscle, leading to arrhythmia. CARDIOMYOPATHY, a thickening or enlarging of the heart muscle, affects the heart's ability to pump blood.DISEASE OF THE HEART VALVES can cause the blood to stop flowing in the right direction. This causes irregular heartbeat, fatigue and breathlessness. Valve problems can arise because of congenital defects, rheumatic fever, infections, connective tissue disorders, and as a result of taking certain medications or receiving radiation treatments.HEART DEFECTS most often are congenital - meaning you're born with them -- and develop because of genetics. They could also be because the mother has health problems or was taking certain medications. But heart defects can also develop later in life, as the heart's structure changes with age, or defects can even be triggered by bacteria, viruses, parasites, medications and other diseases.Heart disease is often VERY preventable based on lifestyle choices, and can usually be controlled through a treatment plan outlined by your doctor. Your annual physical will tell you if you're at risk, and you and your doctor can decide on a course of action.For more information on each type of heart disease and their treatments, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-29 | Tags »
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