What is Heart Disease?
When people talk about heart disease, a heart attack is usually the first thing they think of. A heart attack (also called a myocardial infarction) tends to be sudden, severe and intense pain in the chest and the effects can be dramatic. A heart attack is caused by damage to an area of the heart due to a lack of blood supply.
A heart attack is only one type of heart disease. There are a number of other conditions that come under the umbrella of heart disease:
- Atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries)
- Coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis of the arteries supplying the heart)
- Angina (chest pains caused by limitation of blood to the heart)
- Cardiomyopathy (disorders of the muscle of the heart)
- Heart Failure (a condition where the heart does not pump effectively)
- Aneurysm (a weakness in the wall of a blood vessel resulting in swelling)
- Stroke ("brain attack")
- Valve Disorders (Aortic valve disease and Mitral valve disease)
- Arrhythmias (abnormalities of the heart's rhythm)
- Congenital Heart disease (defects that are present from birth)