Everything You Need to Know About Heart Disease

Who gets heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death  the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . In the United States, 1  every 4 deaths in is the result of  heart disease. That’s about 610,000 people who die from the condition each year.

Heart disease doesn’t discriminate. It’s the leading cause of death  several populations, including Caucasians, Hispanics, and African-Americans. Almost half Americans are at risk for heart disease, and  numbers are rising. Learn more about the increase in heart disease rates.

While heart disease can be deadly, it’s also preventable in most people. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits early, you can potentially live longer with a healthier heart.

What are the different types of heart disease?

Heart disease encompasses a wide range  cardiovascular problems. Several diseases and conditions fall under the umbrella  heart disease. Types of heart disease include:

  • Arrhythmia. An arrhythmia is a heart rhythm abnormality.
  • Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries.
  • Cardiomyopathy. This condition causes the heart’s muscles to harden or grow weak.
  • Congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are heart irregularities that are present at birth.
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD is caused by the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries. It’s sometimes called ischemic heart disease.
  • Heart infections. Heart infections may be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.

The term cardiovascular disease may be used to refer to heart conditions that specifically affect the blood vessels.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

Different types of heart disease may result in a variety of different symptoms.

Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms. The symptoms you experience depend on the type of arrhythmia you have — heartbeats that are too fast too slow. Symptoms of an arrhythmia include:

  • lightheadedness
  • fluttering heart or racing heartbeat
  • slow pulse
  • fainting spells
  • dizziness
  • chest pain

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis reduces blood supply to your extremities. In addition to chest pain and shortness of breath, symptoms of atherosclerosis include:

  • coldness, especially in the limbs
  • numbness, especially in the limbs
  • unusual or unexplained pain
  • weakness in your legs and arms

Congenital heart defects

Congenital heart defects are heart problems that develop when a fetus is growing. Some heart defects are never diagnosed. Others may be found when they cause symptoms, such as:

  • blue-tinged skin
  • swelling of the extremities
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue and low energy
  • irregular heart rhythm

Coronary artery disease (CAD)

CAD is plaque buildup in the arteries that  oxygen-rich blood through the heart and lungs. Symptoms of CAD include:

  • chest pain or discomfort
  • a feeling of pressure or squeezing in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • feelings of indigestion or gas

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that causes the muscles of the heart  grow larger and turn rigid, thick, or weak. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • fatigue
  • bloating
  • swollen legs, especially ankles and feet
  • shortness of breath
  • pounding or rapid pulse

Heart infections

The term heart infection may be used to describe conditions such as endocarditis or myocarditis. Symptoms of a heart infection include:

  • chest pain
  • chest congestion or coughing
  • fever
  • chills
  • skin rash