Updated: 5 August, 2019

The term heart problems or heart disease refers to a number of conditions that leads to the heart not functioning properly. The heart is an organ in the body that pumps blood (oxygen-rich blood) and vital nutrients to other parts of the body. The body needs the heart for it to function effectively.

Heart problems can occur when the heart itself doesn’t receive oxygen-rich blood, thereby causing chest pain and in most cases, heart attack. The absence (of) or insufficient blood in the heart can also lead to arrhythmia: a condition when the heart beats irregularly or abnormally. 

In this article, you are going to learn about the 9 different types of heart problems.

9 Types of Heart Problems Everyone Should Know

1.   Rheumatic heart disease: 

This kind of heart problem is caused by seasoned attack of rheumatic fever. This causes damage to the heart valves and mostly occur during childhood. Rheumatic heart disease may result in scarring the heart valves and weakening the muscle in and around the heart. 

2.   Coronary artery disease (CAD): 

This is the most common type of heart problem. It occurs when the heart become enclosed in plaque, which contains fat and high cholesterol. This plaque causes the arteries carrying oxygen to become narrow, thereby causing less oxygen to the heart muscle. When the heart doesn’t receive sufficient oxygen, it leads to heart attack. 

3.   Congestive heart failure (CHF): 

When the heart is incapable of pumping sufficient blood to meet the needs of various vital organs in the body, it results in heart failure. Or this might be due to lack of force in the heart to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body. 

4.  Heart Valve Disease: 

This usually occurs when one or all the four valves in the heart are not functioning properly. Heart valves are responsible for the free flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body. Heart diseases impede the free flow of blood, making it difficult for the heart muscle to function properly. Various things can lead to valvular damage. You may be born with heart valve disease or caused by infections connective tissue disorders

5.   Congenital heart disease: 

This is a birth defect that affects the development and proper functioning of the heart. Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) is a type of congenital heart disease as a result of the right and left chamber not properly closed. Also, when the ductus arteriosus doesn’t close properly after birth, it results to patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). 

6.   Angina: 

One of the symptoms of angina is incessant chest pain, caused by the reduction of blood supply to the heart. Though chest pain is most common in angina, it can also cause pain to the shoulder, middle back area, jaw, and neck. If the pain becomes severe, it highly recommended that you consult your health practitioner. Angina attack is usually characterised by shortness of breath and sweating. 

7.   Atherosclerosis: 

This occurs when the walls of your arteries become thick and stiff due to excess build-up of fat in the arteries. This fatty substance is called plaque. Atherosclerosis can occur virtually throughout the body; places like the leg (peripheral arterial disease). Atherosclerosis occurs over a period of time in the body, and its effect can be very severe, in most cases leading to stroke and heart attack. 

8.   Stroke: 

This occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted. This happens when an artery leading to the brain bursts or gets blocked. If this happens, the brain is denied sufficient oxygen-rich blood and some parts of the brain could be permanently damaged. Signs of strokes include, but not limited to, weakness, impaired vision, problems with speech and paralysis.

9.   Heart attack: 

This list wouldn’t be complete without talking about heart attack. Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) occurs when the supply of blood from the heart stops. If you receive frequent medical attention and treatment, you won’t experience fatal heart attacks. A heart attack manifests by sudden severe chest pain, shortness of breath and feeling faint. If you are a woman, your experience of heart attack might differ, instead of severe chest pain, you might become very weak and suffer pain around your shoulder, jaw, and neck.

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Chapter 1 – 9 Types of Heart Problems Everyone Should Know


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