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The Most Common Types Of Heart Disease

Aug 17, 2007
This article is written to take some of the mystery (and hopefully, some of the fear) from the words, "heart disease."

Although there are many different types of heart disease when someone mentions the words "heart disease" most people think of coronary heart disease first. Coronary heart disease is a "narrowing of the arteries that lead to the heart" however it is important to stress that coronary heart disease is only one form of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common types of heart disease. In fact, it is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Heart disease affects both the structure of the heart and the functioning of it or sometimes both. A number of conditions fall under the category of heart disease and these include coronary heart disease (which takes into account heart attacks), heart failure, heart valve disease, abnormal heart rhythms (or arrhythmias), congenital heart disease, pericardial disease, aorta disease and Marfan syndrome, heart muscle disease (or cardiomyopathy), and vascular disease (blood vessel disease).

Coronary artery disease (or abbreviated to CAD) is another name for atherosclerosis or simply hardening of the arteries. It is the arteries that make it possible for nutrients and oxygen to make it to the heart. This is also one of the more common types of heart disease.

The average heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute in a steady even manner. This works out to be approximately 100,000 each and every day. However for reasons unknown to the medical community, sometimes the heart falls out of rhythm. This leads to an abnormal heartbeat or an irregular heartbeat, which is known as arrhythmia. Also known as a dysrhythmia, in this cause a change takes place to the rhythm of the heart, which can lead to a heartbeat that is too fast, too slow or uneven in how it beats. This is one of the more unusual types of heart disease.

The term "heart failure" is somewhat misleading. Heart failure does not mean that the heart has failed or that it has ceased to work properly. Instead it means that the pumping action of the heart is not as good as it should be. Heart failure affects an average of five million Americans every year and is the number one cause of hospitalization for individuals over the age of 65.

The heart has four chambers and heart valves lie at the exit of each one and allow one-way blood flow to make its way through the heart. Heart valve disease takes place when there is a problem with any one of these heart valves. Some examples of heart valve disease include aortic stenosis, mitral valve insufficiency and mitral valve prolapse.

Congenital heart disease is a problem that occurs before a baby is born and is a defect in the way the heart is structured or else in the structure of the blood vessels. Congenital heart disease sometimes does not show itself until a person is a child and in some cases, until they become an adult. Congenital heart defects affect an average of 8 out of every 1,000 babies born on an annual basis.

Cardiomyopathies are diseases that occur to affect the muscle of the heart. Generally this includes heart muscles that are enlarged or else have become stiff or thickened over a period of time. Heart muscle disease makes it difficult for the heart to adequately pump blood. If it is left untreated, a cardiomyopathy will get worse as time progresses and can very often lead to both heart failure as well as abnormal heart rhythms.

Pericarditis is a condition that involves the lining of the heart becoming inflamed. This is one of the more unusual types of heart disease. This condition is actually rather rare and is most often caused by one type of infection or another.

The aorta is the biggest artery in the heart and a number of conditions can cause it to either tear or to widen (or dilate). Thee include the genetic condition known as Marfan Syndrome, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, connective tissue disorders and injury. This is one of the types of heart disease that is somewhat rare.
About the Author
Verlyn Ross owns and operates a website dedicated specifically to providing health and fitness information. It includes a wealth of free articles in which you may have an interest. I invite you to access and freely explore my website.
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