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6 Types of Heart Disease and What Causes Them

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, an estimated 647,000 people die of heart disease each year. The statistics are even more astounding when you include the broader category of these life-threatening conditions known as cardiovascular diseases, which claim the life of one American every 37 seconds.

The first thing to note about heart disease is that the term is often used interchangeably with cardiovascular disease. Think of cardiovascular disease as the umbrella for the larger category of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels.

It’s no wonder that “heart healthy” has become a term that’s hard to escape whether you are perusing the menu at your favorite restaurant, shopping at the grocery store, or searching for an exercise program you can stick with. 

The highly skilled board-certified physicians and medical team at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic can help you navigate the vast volume of information on heart disease. Here are six types of heart disease and what causes them, so that you can make better lifestyle and health care choices.

Six types of heart disease

Technically heart disease defines specific issues and defects related to the heart while cardiovascular disease covers issues related to the circulatory system, which includes heart disease. There are many types of heart disease. Some of them include:

1. Coronary artery disease or CAD 

CAD is the most common form of heart disease. A hardening or narrowing of the arteries that lead to the heart characterizes this condition.

2. Heart attack or myocardial infarction 

Unfortunately, for many people, a heart attack may be the first symptom of heart disease. A heart attack happens when the arteries leading to the heart become blocked, disrupting blood flow.

3. Heart failure, otherwise known as congestive heart failure 

This condition occurs when stiffness in the heart prevents the organ from pumping blood adequately through the body.

4. Heart valve disease 

Valve disease happens when any of the four valves in the heart don’t open or close properly and interrupt blood flow. If the defect in the valve happens at birth, it’s called congenital heart disease.

5. Heart muscle disease or cardiomyopathy 

This condition can lead to heart failure. It occurs when the heart muscle becomes larger and stiffens, preventing it from pumping blood away from the heart. Sometimes blood can pool in the lungs.

6. Abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmia 

This condition causes a fluctuation in the heartbeat that happens while at rest. If untreated, arrhythmia can be life-threatening.

Are there ways to limit heart disease risks?

Yes. There are several lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of heart disease.

Maintain healthy cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels 

Although each type of heart disease differs, the common element is the disruption of healthy blood flow to the heart or from the heart to the rest of the body. Age and family history play an important role in the development of heart disease, but so does lifestyle and vigilance in preventive health care measures like regular checkups and screenings. High cholesterol, hypertension or high blood pressure and diabetes are major risk factors for developing heart disease. Know your numbers, and if you’re recording levels in the high range, work with our team at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic to get them under control. 

Make diet and exercise a priority

The key to maintaining a healthy weight and body chemistry, including cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels, is often found in what you eat and how often you exercise. Eating a healthy balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting foods laden with fat and salt will go a long way in keeping your heart healthy. Sedentary lifestyles are literally deadly. Regular exercise can be added to even the busiest schedules. Park the car further from your final destination and take the stairs. Your doctor can help you find an exercise plan that you can live with. Your heart will thank you.

Say no to smoking 

Smoking cessation is perhaps the biggest impact you can make to your heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking is one of the greatest risk factors in developing heart disease. If you are a smoker, work with our team to find a smoking cessation program that’s best for you. The effort you put into quitting smoking will have an incredible effect not only on the health of your heart, but it also has an effect on your overall health. It’s a definite win-win.

If you have concerns about your heart health or want to learn more, make an appointment with the experienced board-certified physicians and medical team at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic in New Albany, Mississippi. Request an appointment online or call today

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