What are the heart diseases or cardiac diseases?

Cardiac abnormalities or diseases

What are the heart diseases or cardiac diseases?

Heart diseases or disorders (cardiac diseases) are the conditions that affect heart. Most common heart diseases are:
• Heart defects present since birth (congenital heart diseases/defects): PDA (patent ductus arteiosus)
• Diseases of blood vessels: coronary artery disease (CAD)/ Ischemic heart diseases(IHD )
• Disorders of heart rhythm: Arrhythmias
• Disorders of heart valves: Rhuematic heart disease
• Disorders of the heart muscle: Cardiomyopathy
• Infections: Carditis
Most of the heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle modifications.

Understanding how heart works:

Heart is a muscular organ functioning as a pump. It is located in the center in chest slightly extends towards left. Heart is divided into four chambers.
• The right side of the heart includes the right atrium and right ventricle. It collects deoxygenated blood from whole body and pumps to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries.
• The lungs blood is oxygenated mixed with oxygen. The lungs also take out carbon dioxide from the blood.
• Oxygenated blood then enters into the left side left atrium and then left ventricle.
• The left ventricle of the heart pumps oxygenated blood to whole body through aorta and its branches.
• Rhythm of heart is controlled by SA and AV node through bundle of His and purkinje fibers. Normal rhythm is alternate contraction and relaxations of heart muscles.
• Contraction of ventricles is called systole which pumps the blood to pulmonary arteries and aorta.
• Relaxation of heart muscles is called diastole which fills the heart chambers with blood.
• There are four heart valves controls the unidirectional blood flow. These four valves of heart are:
o Tricuspid valve
o Mitral valve
o Pulmonary valve
o Aortic valve

What are the causes of heart disease?

Causes of heart disease depend on specific type of heart disease.

The causes of congenital heart disease/ defects are:
• Congenital heart defects usually develop during development of fetus. Some medical conditions, medications and genetic abnormalities may play a role in causing Congenital heart diseases.

Causes of coronary artery disease (CAD)/ Ischemic heart diseases (IHD):
Deposition of fatty plaques arteries is called atherosclerosis is the most common cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). Deposition of plaques in coronary arteries blocks blood flow to coronary (heart) muscles causing ischemic injury. Plaque is a waxy substance usually consisting of cholesterol, fatty molecules, and minerals. Risk factors or predisposing factors which increases the risk of development and progression of plaque are:
• Injury to inner lining of an artery is damaged by high blood pressure
• Cigarette smoking
• Increased cholesterol particularly LDL or triglycerides.
• Obesity
• Diabetes
• Lack of exercise
• stress

Causes of disorders of heart rhythm: Arrhythmias:
Most common causes of arrhythmias or conditions that can lead to arrhythmias include:
• Coronary artery disease(CAD)
• Diabetes Mellitus
• Drug addiction
• Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
• congenital heart defects
• Cardiomyopathies
• Protein deposition disorders like amyloidosis
• Hypertension (High blood pressure)
• Smoking
• Medicines
• Stress
• Disorders of heart valves

Causes of cardiomyopathy:
Cardiomyopathy is a thickening or enlargement of the heart muscles and causes may depend on the type of cardiomyopathy:
• Dilated cardiomyopathy. The ventricle mostly left ventricle dilates, cause of this type of cardiomyopathy is often not known. Dilated cardiomyopathy may be caused by injury to heart muscles (ischemic injury), infections, toxins and certain cytotoxic drugs.
• Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This type of cardiomyopathy is usually inherited. Aging and prolonged untreated hypertension may also cause hypertrophy of heart muscles.
• Restrictive cardiomyopathy. The heart muscles become less. It may be caused by diseases such as connective tissue disorders or deposition of abnormal proteins (amyloidosis).

Causes of cardiac infections:
A heart infection called carditis may be:
• Bacterial
• Viral
• Fungal
• Parasitic

Causes of valvular heart disease:
Valvular heart diseases may be congenital or acquired:
• Rheumatic heart disease
• Infections -infectious endocarditis
• Connective tissue disorders
• Ischemic heart diseases

What are the symptoms of heart diseases?

Serious congenital heart defects usually noticed soon after the birth. Signs and symptoms in children born with congenital heart defects are:
• Cyanosis: Bluish discoloration of skin
• Swelling of legs or face
• Shortness of breath during feedings
• Poor weight gain

Symptoms caused by diseases of heart muscles (cardiomyopathy):
In early stages may be asymptomatic. Symptoms may include:
• Shortness of breath during activity or at rest
• Swelling/edema of the feet and legs
• Fatigue
• Irregular heartbeats
• Headache, dizziness, fainting
• Chest pain

Symptoms caused by coronary artery diseases/ Ischemic heart disease:
Angina: also known as angina pectoris often described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in chest. Decreased blood flow to heart muscles causes ischemic injury usually develops when there is increased demand of oxygen such as exercise.
Angina may be classified further as:
• Stable angina: When angina occurs in similar episodes and worsens or predicated by exercise is called stable angina. It usually disappears with rest. Stable angina is due to progressive narrowing of coronary blood vessels due to plaque.
• Unstable angina: Is due to an acute rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque formation of a blood clot inside a coronary artery. The clot causes a sudden and severe blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle causing ischemic injury. It usually does not disappear with rest.

What is myocardial infarction or MI?
Myocardial infarction also called heart attack is the irreversible death/ necrosis of heart muscle due to prolonged lack of oxygen supply. Typical characteristic chest pain in MI occurs:
• Chest pain is Intense and unremitting for 30-60 minutes.
• It is usually substernal often radiates up to the neck, shoulder, and jaw, and down the left arm.
• May represent as a substernal pressure sensation characterized by squeezing, aching, burning, or even sharp cutting pain.
• It may represent as epigastric pain with a feeling of indigestion or of fullness and gas.

Other symptoms of coronary artery diseases/ Ischemic heart disease in addition to angina may be:
• Shortness of breath
• Sweating
• Weakness, discomfort
• Dizziness, fainting
• Nausea vomiting
• Rapid heartbeat
• Heart palpitations

Symptoms caused by heart infection:
Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium). Signs and symptoms are:
• Fever with chills and rigors
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Weakness or fatigue
• Swelling in legs or abdomen
• Changes in heart rhythm
• Dry or persistent cough
• Skin rashes or unusual spots

Symptoms caused by valvular heart disease:
The four valves of heart tricuspid, mitral, pulmonary and aortic valves direct unilateral blood flow and prevent backflow of blood. Damage heart valves can cause to stenosis (narrowing), regurgitation, insufficiency or prolapse.
Signs and symptoms depend on the valve involved and most common are:
• Fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Irregular heartbeat
• Palpitations (feeling of heart beat)
• Edema of feet or ankles
• Chest pain
• Fainting (syncope)

Symptoms caused by abnormal heart beats (arrhythmias)
• Palpitations
• Tachycardia- Increased hear rate
• Bradycardia- Decreased heart rate
• Irregular heart rate
• Chest pain or discomfort
• Shortness of breath
• Lightheadedness
• Dizziness
• Fainting/ syncope

What are the risk factors for heart diseases?

Several risk factors play an important role in the development, progression of cardiac (heart) diseases. Prevention of majority of these factors may delay or prevent the development and or progression of heart diseases.
• Age: Increasing age increases the risk of damaged and narrowing of arteries and weakens heart muscle.
• Sex: Men are generally at greater risk for heart disease. The risk for women increases after menopause.
• Family history: A family history of heart disease increases the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), especially if a parent developed it at an early age.
Other risk factors for heart disease which can be modified include:
• Smoking: Nicotine increases tone of blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage epithelial lining, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis. Coronary artery disease is more common in smokers than in nonsmokers.
• Unhealthy diet: A diet that's high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Deficiency of minerals and vitamins in diet increases chances of heart disease.
• High blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in hardening and thickening of arteries, narrowing the coronary arteries.
• High blood cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis.
• Diabetes Mellitus: Diabetes Mellitus increases risk of heart disease.
• Obesity: Excess weight increases risk for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and fatty liver.
• Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle is associated obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Regular exercise may prevent or delay heart diseases.
• Stress: Worsen other risk factors for heart disease.
• Poor dental health. Unhealthy gums are associated with heart diseases causing endocarditis.

What are the complications of heart diseases?

Complications of heart disease include:
• Heart failure: One of the most common complications of heart disease is heart failure. Inability of heart to pump out blood is called heart failure. It can be acute heart failure or chronic heart failure.
• Myocardial infarction: Permanent damage to heart muscles due to ischemic injury caused by blockage of coronary arteries is called myocardial infarction or heart attack.
• CVA: Ischemic injury to brain is called stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA). It is caused by narrowing or blockage of cerebral vessels.
• Aneurysm. An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of vessels. Rupture of aneurysm can be life threatening.
• Sudden cardiac arrest. An arrhythmia can cause sudden cardiac arrest causing loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately can results in sudden cardiac death.

What are the complications of heart diseases?

Complications of heart disease include:
• Heart failure: One of the most common complications of heart disease is heart failure. Inability of heart to pump out blood is called heart failure. It can be acute heart failure or chronic heart failure.
• Myocardial infarction: Permanent damage to heart muscles due to ischemic injury caused by blockage of coronary arteries is called myocardial infarction or heart attack.
• CVA: Ischemic injury to brain is called stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA). It is caused by narrowing or blockage of cerebral vessels.
• Aneurysm. An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of vessels. Rupture of aneurysm can be life threatening.
• Sudden cardiac arrest. An arrhythmia can cause sudden cardiac arrest causing loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately can results in sudden cardiac death.