Overview - Heart Conditions

Heart conditions

There are many different conditions affecting the heart. While some are inherited, many are preventable and are caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking and not exercising. The good news is that, with the right treatment, you can manage your heart condition and go on to live a healthy, fulfilling life. 

If you’re displaying signs and symptoms of heart disease, your doctor will order tests to diagnose your condition. You’ll then be given a dedicated treatment plan which may include one or more procedures or surgical treatments.

After your treatments, you’ll be given tools and resources to help you live healthily and reduce your risk of further heart disease. A large part of this includes lifestyle changes such as eating well, exercising, quitting smoking and taking any prescribed medications. Committing to a healthy lifestyle will help you recover well and reduce your risk of further complications.

Types of heart conditions

Arrhythmias

An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. There are two types of arrhythmias: bradycardia – when your heart rate is too slow (less than 60 beats per minute), and tachycardia – when your heart rate is too fast (more than 100 beats per minute).
If your heart rhythm is too slow, your heart may not beat fast enough to supply your body with enough blood. A fast heart rate can be normal after exercise, but if your heart rate is faster than normal when you’re resting then you may have tachycardia. 

Find out more about arrhythmias.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle, causing it to be stretched, thicker or stiff. This means that the heart isn't able to pump enough blood around your body.

Find out more about cardiomyopathy.

Coronary Artery Disease

If you have coronary artery disease, a waxy substance called plaque has built up inside your coronary arteries. Plaque causes your arteries to become hard and narrow, which reduces the blood flow to your heart. As a result, you might experience chest pain or discomfort, called angina. Plaque can also cause blood clots which may lead to a heart attack. 

Find out more about coronary artery disease.

Heart Failure

Heart failure doesn’t mean your heart has failed or stopped working. It really means your heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to the rest of your body. This could happen because your heart has become larger or thicker - and as a result, it isn't able to squeeze or relax properly. 

Find out more about heart failure.

Heart Valve Disease

Your heart has four valves, which are small flaps that open and close every time your heart beats. Your heart’s valves play a very important role: they allow your blood to flow through your heart in the right direction. You may develop heart valve disease if your heart’s valves don’t work as well as they should. This can happen if your valves become stiff or the leaflets fuse, meaning there isn’t as much space for blood to flow through and your heart needs to work harder. It can also occur due to regurgitation if your valves don’t close tightly and blood flows backwards. 

Find out more about heart valve disease.

Pulmonary Hypertension

Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries that supply blood to your lungs. Your pulmonary artery carries blood from the right side of your heart into your lungs. If the arteries becomes narrow or stiff, your heart can struggle to pump blood into your lungs – and the right side of your heart needs to work harder and may get bigger. 

Find out more about pulmonary hypertension.

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection - “SCAD”

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or “SCAD”, is when a tear suddenly occurs within the layers of one or more of the coronary arteries. This can slow down or block the blood flow to the heart, leading to a heart attack.

Find out more about SCAD

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy - "Broken Heart Syndrome"

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or "Broken Heart Syndrome"is when the heart muscle becomes suddenly stunned or weakened. It mostly occurs following severe emotional or physical stress. The condition is temporary and most people recover within two months.

Find out more about Takotsubo cardiomyopathy

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