The term ‘heart disease’ refers to several types of conditions that affect the heart. Often, it is also referred to as cardiovascular disease, which means a disease of the heart or blood vessels. These conditions include irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), coronary artery disease (CAD), heart valve disease, heart attacks, hypertension, etc.
Contrary to widely held belief, heart diseases can affect people of any gender and at any age, even though the risk of developing heart diseases does increases with age. For example, men older than 45 years and women older than 55 years have a higher risk of developing conditions like rheumatic heart disease, coronary heart disease, etc. Other than this, people who lead a sedentary lifestyle or have other health issues, like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., are more likely to develop symptoms of heart disease.
There are several types of heart diseases that a person may develop. Some of the most common ones include:
Congenital heart diseases refer to problems with the heart's structure that exist since birth. There are several types of congenital heart disease, which can broadly be classified as:
Cyanotic congenital heart disease refers to defects that reduce the amount of oxygen being delivered to the body. Also known as critical congenital heart disease, these birth defects may lend a bluish tint (called cyanosis) to the skin of a newborn baby.
Acyanotic congenital heart disease is a heart defect that results in the blood being pumped through the body abnormally.
Also known as ischemic heart disease, this condition occurs because of the narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart, blocking the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the organ. The most common cause of this disease is high cholesterol, which is a waxy substance that builds up on artery walls, forming plaque.
A healthy heart has four chambers and four valves, each of which has its own functions. Valvular heart disease is a condition caused by a damaged or poorly functioning heart valve. It is also one of the risk factors for heart failure.
The causes of heart disease are different for every condition, like coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis are caused by the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Other causes of heart diseases include: -
Arrhythmia: This may develop due to other heart diseases or may occur by itself as well because of a COVID-19 infection, overactive thyroid gland, etc.
Heart Failure: Causes include cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, CAD, etc.
Heart Valve Disease: Rheumatic fever, congenital heart disease, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack, etc.
As the causes of heart diseases vary so much, it is always a good idea for one to get a regular cardiac check performed and to be aware of the risk factors for developing heart diseases.
Some heart diseases are ‘silent’ and are not diagnosed until the signs and symptoms of arrhythmia, heart attack, or heart failure are experienced. In such situations, symptoms may include:
The list of heart diseases that may affect a person varies widely as do their symptoms. For example, symptoms of rheumatic heart disease include fever, swelling and tenderness in the joints, nodules, red lattice-like rashes, and uncontrolled limb or facial movements, while the symptoms of ischemic heart disease include pain in the shoulder, arm, neck, or jaw, sweating, nausea, vomiting, fast heartbeat, etc.
So, it is important to keep an eye out for early signs of heart disease, such as coughing or wheezing, constant lethargy, loss of appetite, frequent urination (especially at night), and swelling in body parts like ankles, feet, abdomen, etc. If one notices such symptoms, one should consult their doctor at the earliest for a diagnosis.
There are several factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease, some of which can be controlled, and others that cannot. The most common ones include:
There are also several health conditions that increase the chances of one developing heart issues, like:
Heart disease prevention is possible in many cases by making some lifestyle changes and taking precautions. These include:
Heart-healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease but in many cases, treatment is required for a heart condition. There are also several conditions of the heart that are chronic, cannot be treated, and require proper management throughout for one to enjoy a normal, long life. Some heart-related issues can also be cured by making some changes in diet and lifestyle, while others may require medication, surgery, or other procedures. A healthcare provider can suggest an appropriate heart disease treatment plan depending on the type and severity of the condition.
Heart diseases are easier to treat when they are detected early, which makes regular cardiac checks crucial for everyone, especially for people who have higher risk factors for developing heart diseases.
At Max Lab, one can choose from an extensive range of test panels that are designed to help keep a check on heart health. Our panels include several tests for heart health, like cardiac screening test, lipid profile test, potassium serum test, total cholesterol test, electrolyte test, triglycerides test, apolipoprotein A1 and B test, etc. that one can choose from based on what their doctor prescribes and on any risk factors that they may have. The tests can be booked online at Max Lab at affordable prices along with convenient at-home sample collection. Test reports are generated within 24 hours of sample collection and can either be collected from the lab or downloaded from our website. Once the report is available, it is best to consult the doctor who will be able to interpret the results, perform a proper diagnosis, and suggest the right course of treatment or prescribe further tests, if required.
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