What you need to know about Heart

Facts & Stats

Heart diseases also referred to as cardiovascular illnesses or CVDs are widespread in India and is a major cause of rising mortality rates in this country. Almost 25% of all mortality cases are attributed to heart ailments. Strokes and ischemic heart diseases are major reasons of CVD deaths. The age-standardized death rate for CVD is around 272 for every 100000 individuals in India which is more than global standards of 235 individuals per 100000 men and women. Certain aspects of heart diseases in India are particularly alarming, such as the accelerated buildup of these diseases, early onset age for the heart diseases and high mortality rate. The rate of premature mortality for heart diseases in India has increased by 59%, i.e. from around 23.2 million in 1990 to about 37 million in 2010. Even though the prevalence of the risk factors that lead to heart diseases vary from one part of India to another, it has been observed that heart diseases are pretty common in all parts of the country.

Symptoms

The symptoms of heart diseases depend on the kind of heart condition that has affected an individual. Here is a look at the various types of heart diseases.  

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Septal defects 
  • Cyanotic heart disease
  • Obstruction defects
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Tachycardia
  • Bradycardia
  • Fibrillation
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Myocardial infarction, also known as coronary thrombosis, heart attack or cardiac infarction
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Heart failure
  • Mitral regurgitation, also referred to as mitral insufficiency, mitral valve regurgitation or mitral incompetence
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Pulmonary stenosis 
  • Mitral valve prolapsed

The common signs and symptoms of heart diseases are mentioned below.

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain 
  • Breathlessness
  • Extreme fatigue 
  • Profuse sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Clubbed fingernails
  • A blue tint over the skin
  • Lightheadedness and feeling dizzy 
  • Indigestion-like symptoms such as heartburn and stomach aches 
  • Pains that shoot through the body, such as from chest to arms, back, neck, jaw or abdomen

Causes

A heart disease may occur due to partial or complete damage of the heart, a serious damage of the coronary arteries, disturbed flow of oxygen to the heart organ or even a poor or improper supply of nutrients to heart. There are certain heart diseases like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which are genetic by nature. Such heart diseases along with congenital heart defects may occur even before the person is born.

Certain types of improper lifestyle choices can enhance the chances of a heart disease. Such habits are mentioned below:

  • Smoking 
  • Diabetes
  • Increasing age
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure 
  • Obesity and being overweight 
  • A diet dominated by junk food
  • Preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • A family history of heart diseases 
  • Staying in some kind of stationary position for long periods of time like sitting at work

Treatment

There are primarily two methods of treatment carried out for heart diseases. The doctors are initially going to recommend the use of medications to manage the condition. In case these medications do not produce the desired results, it becomes necessary to consider surgical options. 

Some of the most widely used medications for heart conditions are listed below. Many of these are used for preventing blood clots. While some of them can also help in managing other issues. 

  • Statins are used for lowering the cholesterol levels 
  • Beta-blockers are used for treating heart failures, high blood pressure and heart attacks
  • Blood thinners like warfarin can be used for preventing the blood clots
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure and heart failure

The doctors are also going to evaluate the specific health condition that you have and then come up with a customized treatment plan. Before prescribing you medications, they will see if you have some other health issues. The doctors may also offer you medications for other underlying conditions to ensure a better health for you. 

Surgery may be needed in case the medications do not work. Angioplasty, coronary artery bypass surgery and heart transplants are some of the common forms of treatment for heart diseases. Pacemakers can be used for patients having arrhythmia.