The human heart is an incredibly powerful, intricate organ that distributes blood throughout the body in order to sustain life. However, there are a wide range of things that can go wrong with the vital muscle, making it important to possess at least a passing knowledge of common heart conditions.
1. With more than five million cases per year in the U.S. alone, coronary artery disease is incredibly common. Best described as damaged or narrowing blood vessels in the heart, this condition likely keeps Florida heart specialists quite busy.
2. Also known as a myocardial infarction, heart attacks are responsible for more than three million medical emergencies every year. Symptoms often include tightness in the chest, arm pain and feeling lightheaded or unusually exhausted.
3. An arrhythmia is the medical term for an irregular heartbeat, and this condition causes the heart to beat too slow, too fast or at irregular intervals. While there are roughly three million cases each year in the U.S., an arrhythmia can typically be treated with medication.
4. While not quite as common as many of the items on this list, heart failure is diagnosed roughly 200,000 times per year in the U.S. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot fill with or pump enough blood to support the body.
5. Congenital heart disease is best described as leaky valves, a hole in the heart or defective vessels that cause shortness of breath, blue-tinted skin and a failure to develop normally. Congenital heart disease tends to occur before an infant is even born.
6. Cardiomyopathy can be acquired or inherited from a family member, and the disease makes it difficult for the heart to deliver blood to the rest of the body. A bloated stomach, swelling in the feet and legs and breathlessness are all symptoms of the condition, which is often treated with medication, surgery or even a heart transplant.
Healthier Lifestyles May Lessen Heart Problems
Although every heart problem cannot be alleviated through lifestyle changes, many of the most common coronary ailments can be reduced or eradicated altogether through exercise, weight loss, tobacco cessation and a better diet. Those living with inherited heart diseases may still require medical intervention after the discovery of a heart condition, but choosing to live a a healthier lifestyle is undoubtedly one way to increase the odds of survival in such cases.