Types of Heart Conditions

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According to the American Heart Association, more than 80 million Americans suffer from a heart condition or disease. Types of heart conditions include congenital heart disease, arrhythmia, heart attack and heart failure. Many heart conditions can be fatal. Statistics from the American Heart Association show that these conditions are the leading factor of death in the United States.

Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is defined by an irregular beat of your heart. If your heart is irregular in any way, it is termed as arrhythmia. Tachycardia is a type of arrhythmia, meaning your heart beats too fast, while bradycardia means your heart beats too slowly. If you have an irregular heartbeat, it is usually termed as atrial fibrillation.

Those who have arrhythmia have a higher chance of stroke, heart failure and heart attack. It can be extremely dangerous if not managed properly. Medications that can manage the condition. They include amiodarone, procainamide and bepridil hydrochloride. These medications can help prevent the chance of stroke, heart attack and heart failure by regulating your heartbeat.

Symptoms of arrhythmia can include palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, fainting and discomfort in the chest.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is when you are born with a deformity in your heart. Some forms of this heart disease can be cured by surgery or in time, but some are long-term and cannot be cured. Two examples of congenital heart disease are a hole in your heart and defective heart valves.

More than one million people have long-term congenital heart disease. The primary treatment for this disease is surgery. When an infant is born with congenital heart disease, surgery is typically done while the child is still an infant. Some forms of this disease cannot be treated, but others can be treated with medication to reduce the chance of heart failure. According to the American Heart Society, the direct cause of this disease is currently unknown.

Symptoms of congenital heart disease are blue-tinted skin, heart murmur, leg swelling, fatigue, breath shortness, dizziness and heart palpitations.

Heart Attack

A heart attack is a condition that occurs when the blood flow to a certain artery in the heart is blocked. If blood flow is restricted to the heart, the heart can no longer work properly due to a lack of oxygen. Depending on the severity of the heart attack, this condition can be fatal. If not taken care of in time, even a minor heart attack can lead to death.

The primary cause of heart attack is coronary artery disease. This is when plaque builds up inside of the walls of the coronary arteries. A heart attack can be treated by medication such as aspirin, blood thinning medications and beta blockers.

Heart-attack symptoms include pressure in the chest, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweat, lightheadedness , dizziness, nausea and discomfort in the upper body.

Heart Failure

Heart failure is when your heart does not pump blood enough blood to your system. Heart failure is common in the United States, and can be fatal if not treated. According to Medline Plus, if the heart does not pump as it should, blood can back up in other areas in the body, creating congestion in the liver, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. While the blood is backed up, other areas of the body do not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need, causing severe damage or loss of function.

Heart failure is sometimes treated by surgery, but often it is treated with medication. Some of the medications used to treat this condition is digoxin, beta blockers and diuretics.

Heart failure is different from a heart attack as a heart attack is when blood flow is restricted to the heart due to built up plaque, while with heart failure, the heart has difficulty pumping blood to the body because of a weakness or stiffness in the heart. Heart failure can be caused by ongoing high blood pressure or coronary artery disease.

Heart failure symptoms are fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, lack of appetite, nausea, fluid buildup, chest pain, irregular heartbeat and swelling.

Warning

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you experience signs and symptoms of any of these heart conditions, you should contact your health-care professional immediately. Many of these conditions can be fatal if not treated in time.

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