Things You should know about Heart Disease

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The heart is one of the body’s most essential organs.Our heart beats 100,000 times a day, pushing 5,000 gallons of blood through our body every 24 hours. It delivers oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to our tissues and carries away waste. Here, we explain how this amazing organ carries out this vital work.

Things You should know about Heart Disease

Basic Anatomy of the Heart

  • Atria: the two upper chambers (they receive blood).

  • Ventricles: the two lower chambers (they discharge blood).

The left atria and left ventricle are separated from the right atria and right ventricle by a wall of muscle called the septum.

The wall of the heart consists of three layers of tissue:

  • Epicardium – protective layer mostly made of connective tissue.

  • Myocardium – the muscles of the heart.

  • Endocardium – lines the inside of the heart and protects the valves and chambers.

These layers are covered in a thin protective coating called the pericardium.

Types of Heart Diseases

Congenital heart disease

This is a common term for some deformities of the heart that have been present since birth. Examples include:

  • Septal defects: There is a hole between the two chambers of the heart.

  • Obstruction defects: The flow of blood through various chambers of the heart is partially or totally blocked.

  • Cyanotic heart disease: A defect in the heart causes a shortage of oxygen around the body.

Arrhythmia

Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat.

There are several ways in which a heartbeat can lose its regular rhythm. These include:

  • tachycardia, when the heart beats too fast

  • bradycardia, when the heart beats too slowly

  • premature ventricular contractions, or additional, abnormal beats

  • fibrillation, when the heartbeat is irregular

Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses in the heart that coordinate the heartbeat do not work properly. These make the heart beat too fast, too slowly, or too erratically.

Irregular heartbeats are common, and all people experience them. They feel like a fluttering or a racing heart. If  the change too much or occur because of a damaged or weak heart, they need to be taken more seriously and treated. Arrhythmias can become fatal.

Coronary artery disease

The coronary arteries supply the heart muscle with nutrients and oxygen by circulating blood.

Coronary arteries can become diseased or damaged, usually because of plaque deposits that contain cholesterol. Plaque buildup narrows the coronary arteries, and this causes the heart to receive less oxygen and nutrients.

Myocardial infarction

This is also known as a heart attack, cardiac infarction, and coronary thrombosis. If the blood flow is interrupted then is may damages or destroys part of the heart muscle. This is usually caused by a blood clot that develops in one of the coronary arteries and can also occur if an artery suddenly narrows or spasms.

Heart failure

Also known as congestive heart failure, heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump blood around the body efficiently.

The left or right side of the heart might be affected. Rarely, both sides are. Coronary artery disease or high blood pressure can, over time, leave the heart too stiff or weak to fill and pump properly.

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