The heart works in order to keep the body supplied with blood and oxygen. Some conditions do occur in younger people, but more often, conditions tend to develop as we become older. Although not all the listed heart conditions are initially life-threatening, they all have the potential to be. Those listed are considered as heart diseases.
Cardiovascular disease may refer to a number of different types of heart or blood vessel concerns, but normally it's used to describe heart or blood vessel damage caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a build-up of fatty cells within the arteries. The arteries carry oxygen and nutrients
away from the heart to other parts of the body, so they need to be healthy.
Through time, too much pressure may cause the walls to become thickened and stiff, which can lead to a restriction of blood flow, known as arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is the most common form of this particular disorder and is likewise the most common cause of cardiovascular disease. It's brought on by an unhealthy diet, not enough exercise, obesity, and smoking.
The reasons for arrhythmia, which means abnormal heart rhythms, can be any of the following:
For a healthy individual, it's unlikely that arrhythmia will lead to death, unless there's a trigger such as illegal drugs. Nevertheless, where a heart is deformed or diseased, the heart's electrical impulses may be disrupted, which can then induce arrhythmias.
Heart defects normally ensue when the child is still held within the womb. Around one month after conception, the heart starts to develop at which time defects can occur. Nevertheless, heart defects can also happen in later life because as we age, the structure of the heart can change, thus giving rise to a defect.
Exact causes of cardiomyopathy, which is a thickening and enlarging of the heart, are unknown. In all, there are three different types of cardiomyopathy:
Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type. The left ventricle, which is the main pumping chamber, enlarges which thus causes a loss of strength in the muscle tissues, which in turn means that less blood flows through the heart.
As the name suggests, restrictive cardiomyopathy is a condition whereby the heart becomes restricted, stiff, and less elastic, and the heart is then unable to expand and thus unable to fill with blood. This is the least common type of cardiomyopathy.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy involves thickening of the heart muscle, particularly the left ventricle. Due to the thickening, the heart then stiffens and the pumping action is curtailed whilst the chamber shrinks, which in turn means there's less blood delivered to the body's tissues.
There are a variety of reasons for heart valve disease, including congenital (born with the problem) or the valves may be damaged due to conditions such as rheumatic fever, connective tissue disorders, or infections (infectious endocarditis). Further, certain medicines can cause valvular heart disease as can radioactive treatments for cancer.