Heart disease: Types and Treatments

Last Updated: Friday, September 30, 2011 - 00:48

As the name suggests, heart disease or cardiopathy is a combined term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart.

The major types of heart diseases are listed below:

Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease refers to the failure of the coronary circulation to supply adequate circulation to cardiac muscle and surrounding tissue.

The major causes of Coronary heart disease include High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, stress and overweight

Treatment:

The first step in treatment of coronary heart disease includes regular exercise, prevention of excessive smoking or drinking, maintaining a healthy weight and eating well-balanced diet.

However, treatment of severe coronary heart disease includes a surgical procedure called a coronary angioplasty.

Coronary artery bypass, another less common and a more persistent procedure called is also performed according to the need.

Cardiomyopathy

It is basically a group of diseases that affect the myocardium (muscle of the heart).

There are three types of cardiomyopathy distinguished by the kind of muscle problem involved:

Dilated cardiomyopathy: In this the heart muscle becomes weak and the heart chambers dilate.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: In this the heart muscle itself is much thicker than normal.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy: It is a condition in which the heart becomes stiff and cannot fill efficiently during diastole, the period of the heartbeat when the chambers fill with blood.

Treatment:

1) Treatment depends on the patient’s symptoms, age, general health, and the specific type and severity of cardiomyopathy. If a treatable underlying cause, such as alcoholism can be identified, it should be treated.

2) Depending on the type of cardiomyopathy, certain drugs may be prescribed to decrease the workload of the heart, regulate the heartbeat, prevention of formation of blood clot and avoiding fluid accumulation in the body.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular diseases is the class of diseases that involve the heart or blood vessels (arteries and veins).

The term cardiovascular disease is usually used to refer to those related to atherosclerosis (arterial disease). These conditions have similar causes, mechanisms and treatments.

Some of the causes of cardiovascular disease are age, smoking, obesity, heredity, high cholesterol levels etc.

Treatment:

1) Check your blood pressure timely: It is important to keep your blood pressure low by eating a diet low in sodium, exercising and keeping your arteries functioning.

2) Eating less cholesterol, Trans and saturated fats.

3) Eating less meat: A diet low in saturated fat is one crucial factor in preventing heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes among others.

4) Exercising regularly: Exercising has so many benefits. It relieves stress, lowers your blood pressure, burns fat, strengthens your immune system and just leaves you feeling good for the rest of the day.

5) Staying at your healthy weight, or lose weight if you need to in order to be healthy.

6) Avoiding unnecessary stress as it raises your blood pressure.

Ischaemic heart disease

Ischaemic (or ischemic) heart disease is a disease characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart.

The coronary arteries provide blood to the various muscles of the heart and when no alternative blood supply exists, so a blockage in the coronary arteries reduces the blood supply to heart muscle.

Mostly, ischaemic heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis, usually present even when the artery lumens appear normal by angiography.

Treatment:

In ischemic heart disease, Nitrates drug therapy is the most common. The chemical substances function by dilating the dysfunctional coronary arteries.

Other drugs used for the treatment of ischemic heart disease are beta-blockers like Propranolol, highly effective in stopping the pain. Their work is to reduce the myocardial oxygen demand thereby decreasing the heart rate.

Heart failure

Heart failure is a condition in when the heart as the name suggest fails to pump in enough blood to meet the body’s needs. In some cases, the heart can’t fill with enough blood. In other cases, the heart can’t pump blood to the rest of the body with enough force.

The most common causes of heart failure include hypertension, coronary heart disease, heart valve disease and cardiomyopathy.

Treatment

Doctors usually treat heart failure with a combination of medications. But, it mainly depends on the symptoms of a patient. The various treatment methods are listed below:

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: These drugs widens blood vessels to lower blood pressure and enhance blood flow thereby decreasing the workload on the heart. Examples include enalapril (Vasotec), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril) and captopril (Capoten).

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs): These drugs, which include losartan (Cozaar) and valsartan (Diovan), have many of the same benefits as ACE inhibitors. They may be an alternative for people who can’t tolerate ACE inhibitors.

Digoxin (Lanoxin): This drug increases the strength of your heart muscle contractions. And slow the heartbeat.

Beta blockers: This class of drugs slows your heart rate and reduces blood pressure. Examples include carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor) and bisoprolol (Zebeta).

Hypertensive heart disease

It is a disease caused directly or indirectly by high blood pressure. In this case, the heart muscle thickens as the heart has to work harder to cope with high blood pressure. There are other symptoms also.
Essential hypertension is the most important cause of Hypertensive heart disease. It is also responsible for the congestive heart failure, renal failure and aortic diseases.

Treatment

The basic treatment methods include:

1. Weight reduction
2. Reduction of alcohol intake
3. Reduction of sodium intake
4. Increased excercise
5. Reduction of particular stress
6. Reduction in smoking

Inflammatory heart disease

Inflammatory heart disease involves inflammation of the heart muscle and the tissue surrounding it because of an infection that develops from a bacteria or virus or from an internal peculiarity.

Below mentioned are types of inflammatory heart diseases:

Endocarditis – It is the inflammation of the inner layer of the heart called the endocardium. The most common structures involved are the heart valves.

Inflammatory cardiomegaly

Myocarditis – It is the inflammation of the myocardium, the muscular part of the heart.

Treatment:

The basic treatment methods include:

1. Anti-inflammatory medications
2. Surgery

Valvular heart disease

Valvular heart disease is disease process that affects one or more valves of the heart. There are four major heart valve affected by valvular heart disease include tricuspid and aortic valves in the right side of the heart and the mitral and aortic valves in the left side of the heart.

Valve disease can either develop before birth or one can even acquire it at a later stage. However, Rheumatic fever, congenital heart disease, cardiac dilation are also some of the other factors that may be the cause of this disease.

The various types of Valvular heart diseases are:

Congenital valve disease: Most often affects the aortic or pulmonic valve.

Bicuspid aortic valve disease is a congenital valve disease that affects the aortic valve.

Acquired valve disease: This includes problems that develop with valves that were once normal which may be structural changes due to a variety of infections.

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP): It is a very common condition that causes the leaflets of the mitral valve to flop back into the left atrium during the heart’s contraction.

Treatment:

Treatment for heart valve disease depends on the type and severity of valve disease. There are three goals of treatment for heart valve disease: protecting your valve from further damage; lessening symptoms; and repairing or replacing valves.

Compiled by: Shruti Saxena



First Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 17:41

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