Heart Conditions

Angina: Angina is chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease. It occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t get as much blood as it needs, which usually happens because one or more of the heart’s arteries is narrowed or blocked.

Arrhythmia:  An abnormal heart rhythm that, when severe or long-lasting, can prevent the heart from pumping enough blood to the body. Damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack can make someone prone to arrhythmias, as can some congenital heart conditions. A variety of minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, with high or low concentrations in the blood and tissue can cause arrhythmias. So can alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs.

Atrial Fibrillation:  Atrial Fibrillation (AF of Afib) is a disorder of heart rate and rhythm, which occurs when the heart’s two small, upper chambers quiver rapidly and empty blood into the heart’s lower chambers in a haphazard manner instead of beating effectively. A dangerous condition can arise because blood that isn’t pumped completely out of the upper chambers when the heart beats may pool and clot. Then, if a piece of a clot enters the bloodstream, it may lodge in the brain causing a stroke. Causes of atrial fibrillation include dysfunction of the heart’s pace making area, coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, hypertension and hyperthyroidism.

Cardiomyopathy:  Cardiomyopathy is a serious disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and weakened. It may be caused by viral infections, coronary heart disease or diseases involving other organs and the cause may be unknown. When the disease worsens, it can lead to heart failure, arrhythmias and heart valve problems

Heart Attack:  A heart attack occurs when a blocked coronary artery prevents blood from reaching sections of the heart muscle. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart supplied by that blood vessel begins to die. Symptoms can come on suddenly, or may start slowly and persist over time. Warning signs include discomfort in the chest or in the upper body, shortness of breath, a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Heart Failure:  Heart Failure, or congestive heart failure, is when the heart can’t pump enough blood to the organs. The heart works, but not as well as it should. This is usually a chronic, long-term condition and the risks for developing heart failure increases with age.  Risk also rises if you are overweight, diabetic, smoke, abuse alcohol or use cocaine. When the heart begins to fail, fluids pool in the body and can lead to swelling in the lower legs and ankles. Fluid also may collect in the lungs, causing shortness of breath.

 

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