Heart disease is nothing to take lightly. Knowing the different types of heart disease and symptoms of those diseases could have an extraordinary effect. With millions of Americans being affected by it every year, people should know how, and why it happens. So that when it happens to them, they will know what to do and react quickly, possibly saving their life.
The term “Heart Disease” actually refers to several different diseases, the common factor being of the heart. The Circulatory system is vast and has many points of failure that could possibly occur. This being said we will do our best to explain without using medical terms so that it’s easier to digest and understand. Understanding a problem is the single best thing you could do in order to fix it.
Causes of Heart Disease
It’s important to know how this develops. The causes are different for each disease, however generally speaking there are some root causes that tie them together, and they are as follows:
- High Blood Pressure – this is causes by a buildup of plaque (cholesterol) in the blood vessels and arteries causing restricted blood flow, forcing more blood through a smaller space (causing higher pressure in the arteries)
- High Blood Cholesterol – this is caused by a bad diet. Eating a lot of Fats, salt, and sugar increases cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is what builds up in the arteries causing high blood pressure.
- Smoking – Nicotine in tobacco causes the blood vessels to shrink, increasing blood pressure.
- Poor Dental Health – Poor dental health leads to unhealthy gums, which if not brushed or flossed can allow germs to get into the blood stream, possibly causing an infection in the heart (endocarditis).
- Overweight or Obese – Being overweight or obese usually multiplies other risk factors in heart disease.
- Diabetes – Diabetes and heart disease share similar causes, making them more likely to happen together.
Any one of these, or a combination, can cause heart disease. The easiest way to avoid heart disease is to change your habits that lead to heart disease like eating healthier and working out. However supplements can help immensely.
Supplements that could Help
For instance Omega 3 fish oil supplements are proven to lower triglycerides (fat in the blood that can cause blockage) in the blood by up to 30%. Taking a supplement can slow the buildup of plaque in the blood and lower the fat content in your blood. To learn more about omega 3, find it here
Fiber supplements can be very helpful during a meal as the fiber actually soaks up a lot of the cholesterol, not allowing your body to absorb it. Therefore keeping it out of your blood and out of your arteries.
Additionally, organic supplements like a high quality garlic supplement can actually lower your blood pressure and is proven to slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Or just add it to your diet for better tasting food too!
Furthermore, Green Tea extract is proven to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood as well as raising the “good” HDL cholesterol at the same time. You can find this in the drink as well, but there are often added sugars and other ingredients that would negate the effects of the green tea in most cases.
Types of Heart Disease
Symptoms change for each disease, here is a list of all the different types of heart disease and the symptoms commonly associated with them. As always, if you feel you are at risk of heart disease contact your doctor/physician. If you start experiencing symptoms of heart attack/arrest or stroke call 911 immediately as they can result in sudden death.
Coronary Heart Disease (atherosclerosis)
Coronary heart disease, caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This type can cause damage to the heart, other blood vessels through hypertension (high blood pressure) and eventually leading to chest pain/discomfort, stroke, or heart attack. However, sometimes symptoms can differ between men and women. For men it’s usually chest pain, and for women it’s chest discomfort, shortness or breath, nausea, or extreme fatigue. In addition to these, here are the symptoms:
- Chest pain, tightness, pressure, or discomfort
- shortness of breath
- sudden pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
Abnormal Heartbeats / Rhythm (Arrhythmias)
Arrhythmias is caused by an irregular heartbeat, whether that be fast, slow, fluttering, etc. Here are the symptoms:
- Fluttering in your chest
- Racing Heartbeat when not doing physical exercise (Tachycardia)
- Excessively slow heartbeat (bradycardia)
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Lightheadedness or dizziness (fainting or near fainting) (syncope)
Heart defects usually happen at birth but can rarely happen in adults overtime as the structure of the heart changes. So I will separate symptoms for birth defects and those caught later in life (late childhood/ adulthood)
- Pale grey, or blue skin color (cyanosis)
- Swelling in legs, abdomen, or eyes
- Infant shortness of breath while feeding (leading to poor weight gain)
Later in life
- Easily getting short of breath during exercise or physical activity
- Swelling in hands, ankles, or feet
Diseased Heart Muscles (cardiomyopathy)
Diseased heart muscles can have no symptoms at all in early stages simply because there isn’t enough of the diseased tissue to make a difference. However as the disease progresses the following symptoms may become noticeable:
- Breathlessness w/ activity or at rest
- Swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet
- Irregular Heartbeats (rapid, pounding, or fluttering)
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting
Infection of the Heart (endocarditis)
Infection of the heart is caused by infection getting into the blood stream and into the heart. Whether that be through the gums (poor dental health), or through a badly infected wound (left untreated). Here are the symptoms:
- Shortness of Breath
- Weakness or Fatigue
- Swelling in legs or abdomen
- Dry or persistent cough
- Changes in heart rhythm
- Skin rashes in unusual places
Heart Valve Problems (valvular heart disease)
This is caused by a heart valve for some reason not being able to open, close, or somehow becomes unable to function. Because the valves are integral to heart function they should be treated immediately. Here are the symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heart beat
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Chest pain
- Fainting (syncope)
Effects of Different Types of Heart Disease
After we know the causes and the symptoms, it’s time to get into the effects of these diseases. However, they differ from each one as they effect different areas of the body.
The circulatory system is one of the most vital systems for you to remain living seeing as how you cannot go on without it for more than an a few minutes. However, this means that critical problems with it are sever and in some cases result in sudden death. Here are some of the effects of heart disease.
Aneurysms are a result of a buildup in the artery that causes a bulge in the side of it. If this bulge were to burst then it could cause significant, and sometimes fatal internal bleeding. However, if you experience this immediately call 911, internal bleeding can lead to death in about 5 minutes if the hemorrhaging isn’t stopped.
While all of these can seem like failures of the heart, this one focuses more on the actual ability of the heart to pump the blood. However, usually this is because the heart becomes too weak (possibly due to diseased heart muscles or cardiomyopathy) to pump all the blood the body needs to function.
Finally, this is the big one that everyone thinks about. Blood clots in the arteries leading into the heart (often caused by plaque buildup or atherosclerosis); the clot stops blood from being able to flow into the heart, starving the heart of blood, and causing the heart to fail. Because of this, heart tissues damaged or destroyed within minutes of the heart attack.
However, sometimes people get strokes and heart attacks mixed up. They are very similar however are different in one key way. While the heart attack disallows blood to flow into the heart, a stroke doesn’t allow blood to flow into the brain, slowly starving the brain of blood and forcing it to shut down.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Like the name suggests, this is the result of a sudden or unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. Not the result of a clogged artery, but because of irregular heart beat. However, often there are no warning signs like high cholesterol or blood pressure for this which is what distinguishes it from a heart attack. If not treated immediately can cause sudden cardiac death.
In conclusion, there is a lot to know about heart disease from the causes, symptoms, and the effects of it. However the best option is to avoid it all together. In the end, the only reliable way to do this is to eat healthy, and exercise, but with adding a supplement you could achieve those reverse the course of heart disease in no time. With heart disease being one of the leading causes of death in the United States, hopefully this article can bring some awareness on how to stop it and save someone’s life. Furthermore, I hope you learned something like I did and have a great rest of your day!