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Cardiovascular disease, also called heart disease, includes numerous problems, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when plaques build up in the walls of the arteries. This build-up narrows the arteries which makes it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow which can result in heart disease or a stroke. Here are the 7 most common types of heart disease, their symptoms, and treatment.


7 most common types of heart disease

  • Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries, which start out smooth and elastic become more rigid and narrowed due to a plaque buildup on their inner walls. This restricts blood flow to your heart, which can then become starved of oxygen. The plaque could rupture, leading to a heart attack or sudden cardiac death.


Symptoms and Treatment

The symptoms of Coronary artery disease include chest pain, angina and nausea. Treatment includes lifestyle changes, medication and surgery.


  • High blood pressure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is defined as high pressure in the arteries, which are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80; blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called “pre-hypertension,” and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high while blood pressure of about 90 to 100 is considered low blood pressure.


Symptoms and Treatment

High blood pressure may have no symptoms, but headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath are some symptoms that could be experienced. A low-fat diet, exercising regularly and weight loss can help lower blood pressure.  If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or a heart attack.


  • Cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. This usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes.


Symptoms and Treatment

Chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath and loss of consciousness may be experienced prior to cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency and requires immediate CPR, or use of a defibrillator. Hospital care includes drugs, an implantable device or other procedures.


  • Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. It refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently. Congestive heart failure develops when your ventricles can’t pump blood in sufficient volume to the body. Eventually, blood and other fluids can back up inside your lungs, abdomen, liver and lower body.


Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, irregular or rapid heartbeat, swollen legs and wheezing. Congestive heart failure is treated with medication or surgery. Treatments can include eating less salt, limiting fluid intake and taking prescription medication. In some cases a defibrillator or pacemaker may be implanted.


  • Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. When you develop Peripheral artery disease, your limbs don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. Peripheral artery disease may also be a sign of atherosclerosis, which could be reducing blood flow to your heart, brain and lungs.


Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms may include leg pain, loss of hair on the legs, leg numbness and sores on your toes, feet or legs. Medication, surgery and an extensive exercise program are often successful treatments.


  • Stroke

In simple terms, a stroke is a “brain attack”. It occurs when blood flow to a certain area of the brain is cut off. This results in brain cells being deprived of oxygen and dying. For example, someone who has a minor stroke may only have minor problems such as temporary weakness of an arm or leg, whereas someone who has a major stroke may become permanently paralysed on one side of their body or lose their ability to speak.


Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of a stroke include trouble walking, speaking and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. Some people may experience problems with coordination, stiff muscles or overactive reflexes. The type of treatment required depends on the type of stroke, but includes removing the blood clot or stopping the bleeding of a ruptured blood vessel.


  • Congenital heart disease

This type of heart disease is present at birth and occurs because of a problem with the structure of the heart. Unfortunately, the cause of a congenital heart defect is often unknown, though certain cases may be due to infections during pregnancy, use of certain medication or drugs, parents being closely related or poor nutritional status.


Symptoms and Treatment

Congenital heart disease symptoms may include rapid breathing, bluish skin, poor weight gain and feeling tired. Treatments include medication to lower blood pressure and control the heart rate, heart devices, catheter procedures and surgery. Serious cases may require a heart transplant.




What is cardiovascular disease, June 7 2017, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/What-is-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_301852_Article.jsp#.WZv7oemxWM9

Coronary artery disease, http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide/heart-disease-coronary-artery-disease#1

What is high blood pressure,

What is Congestive heart failure, http://www.healthline.com/health/congestive-heart-failure

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-artery-disease/home/ovc-20167418

What is a stroke, http://www.stroke.org/understand-stroke/what-stroke

Congenital heart defect, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_heart_defect


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