It’s the leading cause of death in the United States.
More than 62 million Americans have some form of it.
And to top things off, there are many different types of this disease that health care providers must contend with.
What are we talking about? Cardiovascular disease: Some are born with it, but most cases of heart disease develop later in life.
Several of the most common forms of heart disease include:
· Coronary artery disease – This is a condition in which the heart muscles receive insufficient blood and oxygen due to blockage in the coronary arteries. This can lead to a heart attack or other heart damage with the possibility of sudden death.
· Silent ischemia – This is a condition in which blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced but there are no symptoms and little if any pain. Usually, discomfort is only experienced during physical exertion.
· Angina – When your heart doesn’t get enough oxygen and nutrients it can cause a narrowing of the coronary arteries or muscles spasms. This can be triggered by strong emotions, cold temperatures, cigarette smoke, or other factors. It’s not a heart attack and usually doesn’t cause permanent heart damage, but angina is nonetheless discomforting or painful. It occurs primarily in the chest and can radiate down the left arm, across various parts of the upper torso, and even in the neck, throat or jaw, usually when your heart is working harder than normal.
· Arrythmia – When one’s heartbeat becomes slow, irregular, or skips a beat because the heart’s electrical system is not functioning normally. Its electrical signals aren’t moving in the proper sequence. Instead, the heart is beating slower, faster, or erratically, causing symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
· Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) – This is a condition in which fatty plaques or arteriosclerosis prevent oxygen-rich blood from flowing from the heart to other areas of the body such as the legs and feet. Symptoms of PAD include brown spots on the skin, coldness, numbness and tingling, pain or cramping when walking short distances, ulcers, swelling, or the slow healing of wounds.
· Heart defects – These include obstructions called stenosis that partially or completely block the flow of blood. They can occur in the heart valves, arteries, or veins. Examples include aortic stenosis, pulmonary stenosis, and subaortic stenosis.
If left untreated, heart disease can lead to myocardial infarction – the clinical term for a heart attack – in which part of the heart muscle can be damaged or die from a lack of blood flow and oxygen.
Warning signs of a heart attack include:
· A heavy feeling, pressure, or intense pain in the chest lasting more than a few minutes
· Pain radiating to the shoulders, neck, or arms
· Lightheadedness or fainting
· Nausea or vomiting
· Rapid heartbeat
· Shortness of breath
· Severe weakness
· Profuse sweating
If you experience any of these symptoms for more than several minutes, call 911 or have someone transport you to the nearest emergency room as quickly as possible.
Of course, there are ways to prevent or manage heart disease by consulting with a physician.
The friendly staff at Advanced Medical is well-versed in the diagnostics and treatment of heart disease and looks forward to serving you. If you have any questions about our primary care services, please call our office at (561) 434-1935. To schedule an appointment, you can call us or use our secure online appointment request form.