According to a report published in 2018, India alarmingly rose in the incidents of heart diseases. Another research published in July of 2018 reported that poor lifestyle choices and poverty were some of the biggest drivers of the growth of heart-related diseases in the country.

Statistics [released as part of the Million Death Study project set up by the Registrar General of India (RGI)]

Cardiovascular mortalities – heart ailments responsible for 2.1 million deaths in 2015. 1.3 million cardiovascular deaths between the ages of 30 and 69. Out of the above, 0.9 million or 68.4% is attributed to coronary heart disease and 0.4 million or 28% succumbed to a stroke

What is heart disease?

Primarily, considered as the issues and deformities of the heart, a collective of all conditions and problems is termed as heart disease. While it is indicative of the heart’s inability to function efficiently, it can be worrying when you are diagnosed with a heart condition.

Types of heart diseases

Affecting different parts of the organ, heart disease occurs in many ways:

Congenital heart disease

Suggestive of deformities of the heart birth itself, congenital heart disease can be further identified as:

Septal defect is where a hole forms between the two heart chambers.

Obstruction defect is when blood flow is totally or partially blocked. 

Cyanotic heart disease, a shortage of oxygen around the body caused by the heart.

Coronary artery disease [CAD]

Aiding in the circulation of blood, the coronary arteries supply the muscles of the heart with all the required nutrients and oxygen. When the coronary arteries are damaged or diseased, primarily due to cholesterol-containing plaque deposits, they invariably narrow and do not allow the receipt of adequate oxygen and nutrients, resulting in CAD.

Arrythmia

Irregular or abnormal heartbeats occur when the heart loses its usual rhythm. Heartbeats are stimulated through the organ’s own electrical system and if these signals are interrupted or disturbed, then the rhythm is disrupted, as well, causing quickened heart rates otherwise known as tachycardia. When the heart beats very slowly it is known as bradycardia. Additional abnormal beats are identified as premature ventricular contractions. Finally, when the heartbeat is just irregular, it is known as fibrillation.

Heart attack

Also known as myocardial infarction (MI) and coronary thrombosis, MI occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle, is completely blocked. A blood clot forms in the coronary artery, resulting in damage to the area of the heart, to which the coronary artery was supplying blood.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

The wall of the left ventricle thickens, making it hard for blood to be pumped out of the heart. A genetic disorder, this is also one of the leading causes of unforeseen deaths in athletes. There is a 50% chance that a parent suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, will pass it on to the child.

Mitral regurgitation

Occurring when the mitral valve in the heart does not close tightly enough, mitral valve regurgitation also known as mitral incompetence or mitral insufficiency is experienced. The blood flows back into the heart instead of leaving it, thus resulting in the inefficient movement of blood through the heart.

Patients experience symptoms where they often complain of tiredness and breathlessness.

Mitral valve prolapses

When the valve between the left ventricle and the left atrium does not close fully, then it ends up bulging back into the atrium or upwards. While the condition is not life-threatening and treatment may not be invited, if the condition is seen alongside mitral regurgitation, then therapy may be inevitable.

Pulmonary stenosis

If the pulmonary valve is too tight, then the heart is unable to pump blood into the pulmonary artery from the right ventricle. To overcome this obstruction, the right ventricle must work really hard. While older children do not exhibit any symptoms, infants tend to turn blue due to severe stenosis.

A balloon valvuloplasty or an open-heart surgery may be performed to clear the obstruction if the pressure in the right ventricle seems too high.

Symptoms

While symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, and breathlessness are commonly visualized, there could be other signs depending upon the nature and type of heart condition affecting the individual. Stressful events or excessive physical exertion can lead to angina in patients with underlying coronary artery disease.

Most common symptoms/signs of heart attack are severe chest pain associated with one or more of the following symptoms such as breathlessness, palpitations, sweating, nausea/vomiting, dizziness etc.

In older adults, and individuals with diabetes, heart conditions can occur even without any symptoms.

Especially if you are already diagnosed with a heart condition, reach out to experts at SIMs Hospitals, Nungambakkam for regular check-ups.

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