It affects both men and women and afflicts people from all racial and ethnic groups. Because it affects such a large percentage of the population, it’s important that everyone knows facts about heart disease and signs and symptoms to look out for.
There are many different types of heart disease with various causes that range from genetic factors to lifestyle choices or health events that can affect the heart, such as damage from infection.
Coronary artery disease affects the blood vessels of the heart. Like the pipes in our homes, the arteries around the heart can develop a build-up of plaque that narrow the passage. This narrowing can sometimes cause a complete blockage preventing blood flow to certain parts of the heart, which can lead to a heart attack
1. Chest pain, tightness, pressure or discomfort 2. Shortness of breath 3. Pain in the neck, jaw, throat or back 4. Nausea 5. Extreme fatigue
Heart problems related to the speed and rhythm of the heartbeat are called arrhythmias. Arrhythmias can cause the heartbeat to be too slow, too fast or irregular. If the rhythm of the heart is ‘off’, it can prevent the heart from having enough force to send the blood out to the rest of the body.
1. A ‘fluttering’ feeling in the chest 2. Racing heartbeat 3. Slow heartbeat 4. Chest pain or discomfort
The heart has four valves that help it pump efficiently; structural heart disease includes conditions affecting these valves or the heart tissue. Many structural heart diseases are congenital, which means they were present at birth.
Heart failure is found most often in older people, but it can happen to anyone at any age. It’s a serious condition — and also quite common. Many people with heart failure continue to have a full and active life for many years after their diagnosis.
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