The term heart disease is a grouping of various conditions that affect how well the heart works. The heart is a muscle that pumps and propels oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich blood around the body. Heart disease can occur when the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen-rich blood, which can then lead to problems like angina (chest pain) and a heart attack.
Fortunately, heart disease can be prevented ! Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information on strategies for preventing heart disease. See the Guide to Discussing with Your Doctor for more information and a list of questions you might want to ask your doctor about heart health.
Types of heart disease
Most common heart conditions:
- coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. In this disease, deposits called plaque that contain cholesterol and other fatty materials build up on the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart (the coronary arteries ). The formation of this plaque (constituting atherosclerosis ) causes the narrowing of the diameter of the arteries responsible for supplying the heart with oxygen, whose proper functioning is then compromised.
- arrhythmia is characterized by an irregular heartbeat. It may be too slow ( bradycardia ), too fast ( tachycardia ), or fluctuate irregularly (eg 2 short beats and 1 longer).
- Heart failure (also called congestive heart failure ) occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the body’s needs. It can be due to a lack of strength in the heart pump, or the heart’s lack of ability to fill enough blood. Some people can have both problems at the same time.
Various factors can be at the origin of these heart diseases. Read more about the causes of heart disease in the section below .