Cardiac conditions can affect men and women of all ages, and they are often serious conditions that require frequent monitoring or medical intervention. Some cardiac emergencies, like cardiac arrest, account for an average of 115 hospital visits a day in Florida. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canda, and Australia. One in four deaths in the US occurs as a result of heart disease.
What Are Cardiac Conditions?
Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions involving narrowed or blocked blood vessels, leading to a heart attack, chest pain (angina), or stroke. Heart conditions involving the heart muscle itself, valves, or rhythm, are also considered forms of heart disease.
Types of Cardiac Conditions
Many kinds of heart disease exist, which affect different parts of the organ and can manifest in different ways.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary heart disease describes arteries that supply the heart with nutrients and oxygen as being diseased or damaged, typically due to plaque deposits of cholesterol. These plaques build up and narrow the coronary arteries, leading to a heart attack.
High blood pressure
Also called hypertension, high blood pressure is a risk factor for more than heart disease. High blood pressure can damage the body for years before symptoms develop. This can lead to a disability, poor quality of life, or even a fatal heart attack.
Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in someone who may or may not have been diagnosed with heart disease. It can have acute onset or can occur in the wake of other symptoms. Cardiac arrest oftentimes proves fatal if the patient does not receive immediate medical care.
Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure describes a chronic and progressive condition that affects the pumping of the heart muscles. Certain conditions, such as coronary artery disease or high blood pressure, can gradually leave the heart to weak to fill and pump correctly.
Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat. This can occur in several different ways. Arrhythmias include tachycardia (too fast), bradycardia (too slow), premature ventricular contractions, fibrillation (irregular beating), or additional and abnormal beats. Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses in the heart do not work properly.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Peripheral artery disease involves the narrowing of the peripheral artery serving the legs, stomach, arms, and head. It most commonly affects the arteries in the legs. This happens when plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the peripheral parts of the body, which can lead to a heart attack.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked by a clot (ischemic stroke) or it ruptures (hemorrhagic stroke), cutting off blood and oxygen flow to that part of the brain. This leads to a halt in blood flow to the brain and brain cell death.
Congenital Heart Disease
This condition describes the deformities of the heart that have been present since birth. Some examples include septal defects (a hole between the two chambers of the heart), obstruction defects (the flow of blood through the chambers is partially or fully blocked), or cyanotic heart disease (a defect caused by a shortage of oxygen around the body).
Who Is at Risk for Cardiac Conditions
Extra weight has the potential to put significant strain on the heart, worsening several other heart disease factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If you have heart disease in your family, you are more likely to develop similar problems. You will not always develop a heart condition if you have a risk factor, but the more risk factors you have will increase the likelihood of developing one.
What Are the Symptoms of Cardiac Conditions
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of cardiac conditions can greatly improve your overall prognosis in the event of a cardiac arrest. The sooner you receive prompt treatment, the sooner life-saving measures can be taken to improve your treatment plan, quality of life, and diagnosis.
Signs and symptoms to watch for include:
- Chest discomfort
- Stomach Pain
- Pain that spreads to the arm
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Pain in your chest
Treatments for Cardiac Conditions
Patients with cardiac conditions will need to change their lifestyle in order to prevent or control heart disease to reduce the risk of a first or repeated heart attack. Some patients may need to take medications in order to treat their heart condition.
Antiplatelet drugs, such as aspirin, work to keep blood clots from forming. It is important to discuss all medications you are taking with your doctor, as serious interactions can occur.
AMA medical group was founded to support every member of the community. If you have had a heart attack in the past are experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us at (727) 331-8740 to schedule an appointment.