Slideshows Images Quizzes
font size


Heart Disease (Cardiovascular Disease, CVD)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Heart (cardiovascular) disease definition and facts

  • Heart disease refers to various types of conditions that can affect heart function. These types include:
    • Coronary artery (atherosclerotic) heart disease that affects the arteries to the heart
    • Valvular heart disease that affects how the valves function to regulate blood flow in and out of the heart
    • Cardiomyopathy that affects how the heart muscle squeezes
    • Heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) that affect the electrical conduction
    • Heart infections where the heart has structural problems that develop before birth
  • Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in the US.
  • Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle and coronary artery disease occurs when there is a buildup of cholesterol plaque inside the artery walls. Over time, this buildup of plaque may partially block the artery and decrease blood flow through it.
  • A heart attack occurs when a plaque ruptures and forms a clot in the artery causing a complete blockage. That part of the heart muscle that is denied blood supply starts to die.
  • Classic signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease may include:
  • Not all people with coronary artery disease have chest pain as a symptom. Some may have signs and symptoms of indigestion, or exercise intolerance where they cannot perform activities that they normally once could.
  • Coronary heart disease is initially diagnosed by patient history and physical examination. EKG blood tests, and tests to image the arteries and heart muscle confirm the diagnosis.
  • Treatment for coronary heart disease depends upon its severity. Many times lifestyle changes such as eating a heart healthy diet, exercising regularly, stopping smoking and controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes may limit the artery narrowing.
  • In some people, surgery or other procedures might be needed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/29/2017

Source: MedicineNet.com
https://www.medicinenet.com/heart_disease_coronary_artery_disease/article.htm

Heart Health

Get the latest treatment options.

Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations
Atrial Fibrillation Quiz

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors