Heart (cardiovascular) disease (CVD, heart disease) is a variety of types of conditions that affect the heart. There are mainly 2 types of heart diseases, First type is congenital heart diseases which is present from the time of the birth and the second type is Acquired which occurs gradually as result of some infections, or degenerative/age related or due to various risk factors or life style induced that can affect the heart muscle, the valves, the blood vessels of the heart and electrical/conduction system of the heart. Congenital diseases include mainly defects/holes in the heart, abnormal development of the valves and abnormal course of the chambers and/or the main vessels of the heart.
Acquired is further reclassified into 4 different subtypes.
1. The diseases which affect the heart muscle include cardiomyopathies that cause weakening of the heart muscle there by heart fails to pump the blood effectively.
2. The diseases that affect the valves include valve stenosis or valve regurgitations, causing breathlessness and palpitations.
3. The diseases that affect the blood vessels include blocking/narrowing of the vessels that leads to heart attacks and related complications.
4. The diseases that affect the conduction/electrical system of the heart are called arrhythmias that cause Palpitations, giddiness, syncope.
Generally, it is very difficult to recognize the heart diseases in the early stages especially those who lead a sedentary life style. Not everyone will have typical symptoms like severe chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations or giddiness. Symptoms may vary from none to vague nonspecific symptoms like fatigue, tiredness, weakness, epigastric/heart burning, cough, swelling of the legs, indigestion, nausea/vomiting sensation, neck pain/jaw pain, hands/shoulders pains, sweating. Those who have any of the above symptoms need to consult the cardiologist and by doing some simple tests like ECG, CHEST X RAY, ECHOCARDIOGRAM and TMT/STRESS TEST, Holter monitoring we can identify most of the types of heart diseases. With early detection of the symptoms and/or signs and getting proper early treatment we can save lives and also can prevent or delay the early and late complications there by can lead a good quality of life.
Heart diseases can be prevented by making certain lifestyle changes and controlling various risk factors. The following changes can help anyone who wants to live with healthy heart. Start with eating healthy foods; doing regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, practicing healthy life style and managing the stress effectively, stopping smoking, limiting the alcohol intake, controlling the risk factors like Diabetes mellitus, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, getting adequate rest to the body and enough sleep. Early identification of the risk factors and detection of heart diseases by doing routine screening tests and also seeking early treatment, we can avoid and postpone the development of heart diseases.
Once heart diseases are detected, there are various ways it can be treated. Luckily, with the advanced and latest technology and newly developed instruments, presently there is a treatment available for most of the types of heart diseases. For certain diseases, taking simple medications are sufficient to keep our heart healthy. Some diseases require intervention procedures like CATH study, closure of the defects of the heart with some implantable devices, Coronary Angiogram with angioplasty, valvuloplasties, implantation of the devices like pacemakers and ICD/CRT. Sometimes there is a necessity to open the chest and do surgical procedures like the Bypass surgery/CABG, replacement of the valves, taking out the clots/thrombus or masses. Some cardiac problems like arrhythmias require special treatments like Electro Physiological study/3D mapping and Radio Frequency Ablation by using special catheters. The cardiologists will explain to you the available treatment options and decide which treatment best suits you to lead a healthy life.
Aster Clinic, Al Qusais