What is heart disease?
Heart disease generally refers to any condition of cardiovascular problems, which means it affects the heart function. Various types of heart disease affect the heart and blood vessels in different ways, some of which are preventable if detected earlier.
What are the causes & symptoms of heart disease?
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common among heart diseases. CAD is usually caused by the build-up of fats and cholesterol plaque inside the coronary artery walls which supply blood to the heart muscle. Over time, these form a clot in the arteries, creating a blockage and decreasing blood flow to the heart. This results in parts of the heart being starved for oxygen, which leads to symptoms such as a pressurized feeling and pain in the chest, shortness of breath, nausea or feelings of indigestion.
Arrhythmias are irregular heart rhythms due to unstable electrical impulses that cause the heart to either beat too slow or too fast. A person having arrhythmia may have light-headedness, racing heartbeat, dizziness and slow pulse.
Atherosclerosis is the hardening of arteries, reducing blood supply to the heart in the process. Symptoms include coldness and numbness in the limbs as well as weakness in arms and legs.
Cardiomyopathy refers to the growth of heart muscles, usually originating from genetics. The heart muscle either stretches and becomes thinner, or thickens and hardens, preventing the heart from pumping blood properly. The symptoms include swollen legs, fatigue and bloating.
Congenital heart defects are heart irregularities that are present at birth. These heart defects are usually not detectable, but diagnosed after symptoms are shown, such as blue-tinged skin, severe swelling and irregular heart rhythm.
Heart infections may be caused by infections of bacteria or viruses. The symptoms usually are chest congestion or coughing, fever, chills and skin rash.
Consult with a doctor if you notice any of the symptoms above and about ways to reduce your risk. Learn more about Regency’s Heart & Lung Centre.