The term heart disease is used broadly as an all-inclusive description. Most people think there is only one type of heart disease, coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the buildup of fatty plaque on the inside of coronary arteries. This is by far the most common type of heart disease and the number one killer in the United States.
But there are numerous other diseases of the heart muscle, veins, arteries, and circulatory system that affect the heart. The most common include:
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms, where the heart beats too fast, too slow, or is irregular). The most common type of arrhythmia is called atrial fibrillation, and it significantly increases the risk of having a stroke.
- Angina (chest pain or pressure occurs because the heart isn’t getting enough blood).
- Atherosclerotic heart disease (slow buildup of a blockage in the arteries feeding oxygen to the heart).
- Heart failure (also called congestive cardiac failure, caused by structural or functional disorders).
- Ischemia (reduced blood supply to the heart, which can result in angina).
- Heart valve disease (types include valvular stenosis and valvular insufficiency).
- Congenital heart disease (a heart defect present at birth).
- Heart muscle inflammation (called cardiomyopathy, with three main types: dilated, the most common type; hypertrophic; and restrictive).
- Pericardial disease (inflamed heart layers).
- Vascular heart disease (blood vessel disease).
More Answers from Dede Bonner