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Heart disease

Heart disease: Introduction

Heart disease is a general name for a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that affect the heart and sometimes the blood vessels as well. Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States, and more than a million Americans have myocardial infarctions, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute.

Types of heart disease includes angina, heart attack (myocardial infarction), atherosclerosis, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Other forms of heart disease include congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, infections of the heart, coronary artery disease, heart valve disorders, myocarditis, and pericarditis.

Symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the specific type of heart disease. A classic symptom of heart disease is chest pain. However, with some forms of heart disease, 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 disease.

Risk factors for developing heart disease include having hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia), obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors 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 disease. 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 disease 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 heart disease risk. 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 disease or the risk of heart disease 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 heart disease 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 disease.

Heart disease is treated with an individualized treatment plan that best fits the individual case of heart disease, 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 disease. ...more »

Heart disease: Any of a number of conditions that can affect the heart. Some examples include coronary heart disease, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary heart disease and high blood pressure. Heart disease is a big problem in today's society because of lifestyle issues such as poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking. ...more »

Heart disease: Symptoms

Chest pain is often thought of as a classic symptom of heart disease. However, now all people with heart disease 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 a form of heart disease, such as atherosclerosis for a long time.

The ...more symptoms »

Heart disease: Treatments

Treatment of heart disease begins with prevention. Many forms of heart disease 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 ...more treatments »

Heart disease: Misdiagnosis

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

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

Symptoms of Heart disease

Treatments for Heart disease

  • Aspirin - low-dose aspirin may be used to avoid heart attacks. However, because of side effects and risks it is not usually recommended for healthy individuals. Rather, mainly for those with existing heart problems or previous conditions.
  • Digitalis - makes the heart pump harder, also helps some heart rhythm problems.
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Beta-blocker
  • Nitrate (including nitroglycerine)
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Heart disease:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Heart disease?

Heart disease: Related Patient Stories

Heart disease: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Heart disease.

Alternative Treatments for Heart disease

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Heart disease may include:

Types of Heart disease

Curable Types of Heart disease

Possibly curable types of Heart disease include:

Rare Types of Heart disease:

Rare types of Heart disease include:

Diagnostic Tests for Heart disease

Test for Heart disease in your own home

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Heart disease: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Heart disease:

Causes of Heart disease

Read more about causes of Heart disease.

More information about causes of Heart disease:

Disease Topics Related To Heart disease

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

Heart disease: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Heart disease

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

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

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

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's, whereas there more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as benign essential tremor, more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild more »

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

Heart disease: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Heart disease

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

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

Heart disease: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Heart disease

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Heart disease

Medical research articles related to Heart disease include:

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

Heart disease: Animations

Prognosis for Heart disease

Research about Heart disease

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

Prevention of Heart disease

Prevention information for Heart disease has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Heart disease.

Statistics for Heart disease

Heart disease: Broader Related Topics

Heart disease Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Heart disease, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Heart disease:

A disease of the heart - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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