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Heart conditions

Heart conditions: Introduction

Heart conditions include a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the heart and sometimes the blood vessels as well. Types of heart conditions include angina, heart attack (myocardial infarction), atherosclerosis, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Other forms of heart conditions include congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, infections of the heart, coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, myocarditis, and pericarditis.

Symptoms of heart conditions vary depending on the specific type of heart conditions. A classic symptom of some heart conditions is chest pain. However, with some forms of heart conditions, such as atherosclerosis, there may be no symptoms in some people until life-threatening complications develop. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of heart conditions.

Risk factors for developing heart conditions include having hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia), obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors for heart conditions include being of African-American ancestry, male, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, having a lot of long-term stress, smoking and having a family history of a heart attack at an early age.

Certain congenital heart defects can run in families and/or be caused by exposure during pregnancy to specific toxins. Pregnant women with some conditions and diseases can have a higher risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect.

People who have high C-protein levels, which increases atherosclerosis, are also at a higher risk for heart conditions. In addition, people who have high homocysteine levels, which may damage artery walls and increase the risk of clots, are also at an increased risk.

Making a diagnosis of heart conditions includes completing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. A comprehensive evaluation from a licensed health care professional includes compiling and analysing many factors that impact the risk for heart conditions. These include lifestyle, family history, personal history, dietary habits, weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, stress levels, and smoking/drinking habits.

Tests that may be used to diagnose heart conditions or the risk of developing heart conditions include blood tests, exercise stress testing, EKG, X-Ray, and imaging tests, such as heart scan, ultrasound and echocardiogram. A coronary angiogram may be dome in certain cases. A coronary angiogram is an invasive procedure that reveals which coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked.

It is very possible that a diagnosis of some heart conditions can be missed or delayed because there may be no symptoms and for other reasons. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of heart conditions.

Heart conditions are treated with an individualized treatment plan that best fits the specific heart conditions, a person's life style, and other factors. Treatment involves regular medical monitoring and testing, lifestyle and dietary changes, and may include medications and surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of heart conditions. ...more »

Heart conditions: Many of the main disorders affecting the heart are discussed under heart disease. ...more »

Heart conditions: Symptoms

Chest pain is often thought of as a classic symptom of many heart conditions. However, now all people with heart conditions have chest pain. Some people even have a heart attack without chest pain. In addition, by the time a person experiences chest pain, he or she may have had some type of heart condition, such as atherosclerosis for a long time.

The only sure way to ...more symptoms »

Heart conditions: Treatments

Treatment of heart conditions begins with prevention. Many forms of heart conditions can be prevented or controlled effectively with prevention measures that include regular exercise, not smoking or drinking excessively, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a heart-healthy well-balanced diet. Risk factors, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and ...more treatments »

Heart conditions: Misdiagnosis

Early diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions is vital to preventing serious, even life threatening complications, such as cardiac arrest and death.

A diagnosis of heart conditions may be overlooked or delayed because there may be no symptoms in some types of heart conditions, such as atherosclerosis, especially in early stages. Regular medical care is the best way to detect heart ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Heart conditions

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Heart conditions:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Heart conditions?

Heart conditions: Related Patient Stories

Heart conditions: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Heart conditions.

Types of Heart conditions

Heart conditions: Complications

Read more about complications of Heart conditions.

Causes of Heart conditions

Read more about causes of Heart conditions.

More information about causes of Heart conditions:

Disease Topics Related To Heart conditions

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Heart conditions:

Heart conditions: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Heart conditions

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too...read more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually have something milder. Some...read more »

Rare undiagnosed iron disorder causes various severe conditions: The rare "iron overload" disorder, hemochromatosis, can cause a variety of symptoms and...read more »

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this...read more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become...read more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm...read more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in...read more »

Heart conditions: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Heart conditions

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Heart conditions:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Heart conditions, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Heart conditions: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Heart conditions

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Heart conditions

Medical research articles related to Heart conditions include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Heart conditions: Animations

Research about Heart conditions

Visit our research pages for current research about Heart conditions treatments.

Clinical Trials for Heart conditions

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Heart conditions include:

Heart conditions: Broader Related Topics

Heart conditions Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

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