What is Heart Disease?
Heart Disease is also known as cardiovascular disease and is the broad term to describe a variety of conditions that affects the structure of the heart, its valves, vessels, electrical system, or coronary arteries.
Learning about heart disease can empower you to live well, by taking actions to improve your overall wellbeing. Each condition mentioned below ultimately disrupts the vital pumping action of the heart:
- Irregular heartbeat (Cardiac Arrhythmias)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- Weakened heart from a heart attack (Heart Failure)
- Toxicity from drugs both medicinal, drugs and alcohol (Heart infections)
- Heart defect since birth (Congenital Heart Defect)
- Fatty deposits in the arteries (Coronary Artery disease)
- The heart valve does not open or close properly (Valve Disorders)
- The disease of the heart muscle (Cardiomyopathy)
- Infections in the heart muscle
- Some thyroid, kidney, or lung diseases
The best outcomes for living with heart disease is about lifestyle choices as well as the variety of medical choices now available with modern medicine.
As for everyone, in addition to extraneous life variables, your lifestyle choices impact your wellbeing. Lifestyle risk factors may also contribute to an increased risk of heart disease and these may include: stress, smoking, alcohol intake, obesity, social isolation, an unbalanced diet, and being physically inactive.
Knowing about heart disease, the causes, your symptoms, and the treatment options available, will empower you to discuss your specific needs and make the most out of visits to your GP or heart specialist.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
Mentioned below are some of the warning signs and symptoms caused due to heart disease :
- Palpitations caused by an irregular heartbeat that does not stop when at rest
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath especially when lying in bed
- Dizziness or fainting
- Chest discomfort or pain or persistent pain in arm, jaw, or back
- Swelling of the ankles, legs, or abdomen
As these symptoms could be produced by many different medical conditions, it is vital to see a doctor for a health examination and early diagnosis. If you are concerned about your health or have a family history of heart disease, being proactive is a good decision to make in your life.
When to See a Doctor
Some people may know the cause of their heart disease whilst others do not have any of the common symptoms thus heart disease affects people in different ways. To make the most of your time with your GP.
These symptoms should never be dismissed and your observations, discussed with a doctor, can help detect any early problems, increasing your health outcomes. If you need emergency treatment, call 000.
Written by Raelene Dal Santo
and edited by Shane Bassett, Clinical Content Director, Connect The Docs, RN/BN/CCRN
Image Credit: Women’s Health Education Network
All information contained in this article has been derived from Hope For Hearts, cardiac resource centre.
To find a General Practitioner (GP) or a Cardiologist near you, visit www.hopeforhearts.com.au/specialists