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Heart Disease

Heart Disease

Heart disease is classified as any disorder or disease that reduces the heart's ability to function normally. There are numerous causes and risk factors, and it is one of the leading causes of death around the world. Many conditions can be treated and managed when detected early, but others are fatal. The treatment options and prognosis can vary greatly depending upon the exact disease or disorder that is present.In the majority of cases, the cause is a blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood the the heart muscle. This is known as coronary artery disease, and it can lead to numerous heart conditions. Some conditions are present from the time an individual is born. These are classed as congenital heart disease. Other possible causes include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormal function of the heart valves, abnormal heartbeat rhythm, and cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening of the heart's ability to pump blood. Risk factors include poor diet, excess weight, lack of physical activity, smoking, stress, diabetes, age, and a family history of coronary disease.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

The symptoms of heart disease can vary depending upon the severity and the exact disease or disorder that is present. Some of the most common signs that point to heart disease include irregular heartbeat, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, sweating, and chest pain. Many patients mistake chest pain related to heart disease to heartburn or indigestion. If any of these symptoms are severe or on-going, they may be related to heart disease and should be evaluated by a medical professional immediately. Doctors can diagnose heart disease through physical examinations and a number of tests and procedures. The first step in reaching a diagnosis is normally a complete physical examination and collection of family medical history. During the exam, doctors generally check heart rate and blood pressure. They will listen to the sound of the heart beat and measure its pulse. These simple tests can help doctors determine what other tests are needed. Additional testing may include an electrocardiogram, chest x-ray, stress test, echocardiogram, catherization, MRI, or CT scan. Using these tests, doctors are able to see whether or not the heart is functioning properly and determine a cause.

Treating Heart Disease

Treatment depends on the nature of the disorder. Many problems can be controlled with medication while others require surgery. Some conditions may be alleviated through lifestyle changes that lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Working with a doctor is essential when it comes to heart disease. Only a doctor can determine the course of treatment that will ensure the best possible prognosis for any heart condition.