An overview of minor and major diseases of the human heart

The heart is the most vital organ of our body which transports various materials within our body through blood vessels. Any defects or diseases caused to the heart or blood vessels will lead to major diseases or even death. This article explains the various minor and major defects or diseases of the heart and heart-related diseases.


The heart works like a pumping machine in our circulatory system and circulates various important materials like nutrients to various parts of the body, oxygen from lungs to all cells and tissues of our body transports metabolic wastes from all parts to kidneys. If any defects arise in the various parts of the heart or in the various blood vessels which transport blood through them will lead to some defects or diseases. So it is good to get some primary knowledge regarding these important defects or diseases of the heart and heart-related organs.

Internal structure of Heart

  1. Myocardial infarction or Coronary thrombosis or Heart attack
  2. What we call popularly the term Heart attack and in scientific terms is known as Myocardial infarction or Coronary thrombosis. Coronary arteries transport blood to muscles of the heart. This blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to the muscles of the heart in order to provide energy to pump blood to all parts. If any blood clot occurs in these coronary arteries or becomes narrow, the supply of these materials to the muscles stops and in turn the pumping action of the heart fails and leads to death. This condition only what we call it a heart attack. The clot formation in the coronary arteries occurs due to the deposition of cholesterol fat on the inner walls of coronary arteries which stop the blood supply to heart muscles. As the person becomes old sometimes the walls of the arteries become thick and narrow. The blood vessels become narrow and they cannot supply blood to the muscles of the heart. Nitroglycerin tablets widen the coronary arteries whereas heparin or citron prevents the blood from clotting. To widen these narrow blood vessels medicated stents will be inserted in these blood vessels to improve blood supply to the muscles of the heart.

  3. Heart Failure or Congestive heart failure
  4. It is a serious condition where the heart is unable to direct blood efficiently to all parts of the body. This condition occurs when the valves of the heart are not functioning properly. Heart failure is caused by any of the following conditions:-
    • Coronary arteries: If these arteries become narrow or blocked by a clot, the supply of blood to heart muscles stop which leads to heart failure.
    • Coronary thrombosis: A sudden block formed due to deposition of cholesterol fat in coronary arteries will lead to affect the pumping action of the heart. This condition leads to a heart attack.
    • Cardiomyopathy: If any damage occurs to the cardiac muscles present on the walls of the heart the pumping action of the heart stops. This condition may be caused by the side effect of excessive use of medicines or infections
    • Conditions that overworks heart: Heart defects present from birth, valve defects of the heart, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, kidney disease, etc. will lead to heart failure. Diabetes, obesity, smoking, anemia, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Myocarditis, etc. are other factors for heart failure.

  5. Atherosclerosis
  6. This condition is caused by forming plaques by the deposition of cholesterol or LDL, calcium and other substances on the inner surface of blood vessels. The narrowness in the blood vessels leads to high blood pressure and cerebral hemorrhage.

  7. Rheumatic heart diseases
  8. This disease mainly caused due to damage to one or more heart valves which leads to rheumatic fever. Untreated rheumatic heart disease leads to heart failure, arrhythmia, stroke, endocarditis and complications of pregnancy. The heart valves are usually damaged due to a disease process where a strep throat infection caused by streptococcus bacteria.
    This infection leads to the damage of heart valves and thus rheumatic fever.

  9. Arrhythmia
  10. It is a condition in which irregular heartbeat where heartbeat may be too fast or too slow. The slow heartbeat may not be a sign of illness. Arrhythmia caused due to the damaged heart can cause serious health problems. Dizziness, breathlessness, and palpitations are the main symptoms of arrhythmia. Sometimes arrhythmia condition leads to stroke or cardiac arrest. Alcohol abuse, smoking, drug abuse, excessive coffee consumption, mental stress are some of the factors for arrhythmia.

  11. Angina Pectoris
  12. It is the medical term for chest pain caused due to insufficient supply of blood that occurs to the heart muscles as the arteries become narrow or aortic stenosis (narrowing of heart valves). This condition is also known as ischemia. Electro Cardio Gram (ECG) test will reveal arrhythmia or ischemia (lack of oxygen and blood) to the heart. Angina is a sign of the increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest, or sudden cardiac death. Shortness of breath, cold sweats, dizziness, anemia, crushing pain that radiates from your back, neck, jaw, shoulders from one or both arms are the symptoms of Angina. Angina if untreated can lead to death.

  13. Atrial fibrillation
  14. The heart contracts and pumps the blood with a regular rhythm. Regular electrical discharges that travel through the heart muscles of the heart to contract. In Atrial fibrillation, the electrical discharges are irregular and rapid that results in irregular rapid heartbeats. Fainting, fatigue shortness of breath, angina, palpitations, abnormal heart rhythm, weakness, etc, are the signs of Atrial fibrillation. Through medication, normal heart rhythm can be restored.

  15. Myocarditis
  16. Myocarditis is the result of inflammation of heart muscles. Myocarditis results in infection of heart muscles through a virus which results in immunity loss. The immunity defect further damages the heart muscles. Symptoms of myocarditis are a pain in the chest, shortness of breath, fatigue, fluid accumulation in the lungs, heart rhythm irregularities, etc. Medication in some way will relieve to some extent in this defect.

  17. Pericarditis
  18. The heart is surrounded by a double membranous tissue sac around it. Inflammation of these tissue layers results in pericarditis. Mechanical injury to heart, heart attack, heart surgery, trauma infection of bacterial, viral, fungal, HIV to pericardial tissue layers, kidney failure, tumors or cancer caused to these layers results in Pericarditis. Sharp and stabbing pain is the most usual symptom of carditis. Radiating pains to the neck, to the back or to the arms can be felt. If irritation of diaphragm occurs, the pain can radiate to the shoulder blade. The pain can be felt severe with a deep breath. The primary treatment for pericarditis is a medication that helps to reduce inflammation of pericardial layers.

  19. Congenital heart defects
  20. Heart defect which is caused before the time of birth are known as congenital heart defects. A small hole in the atrioventricular septal valve, cyanosis, rapid breathing, fatigue, heart murmurs, poor blood circulation, heart valve defects, etc. are the common congenital defects. One can overcome these defects through proper diagnosis, medication or surgery after birth or growing age of the baby.

  21. Endocarditis
  22. It is a serious infection to one of the four valves of the heart by a specific type of Streptococcus bacteria. Due to the infection of valves, a rough mass is formed around the valves called 'Vegetation". The infection is caused due to bacteria in the bloodstream after dental work, colonoscopy or due to any other reasons. The symptoms of this defect are fever, chills, aching joints, and muscles, night sweats, edema in the legs and feet, shortness of breath, new heart murmurs, etc. A strong antibiotic can be given intravenously for 4-6 weeks depending upon the severity of the infection. In case of severe infection, valve damage may occur after antibiotic treatment. The damaged valves can be replaced with artificial valves surgically.

  23. Hypertension
  24. Persistent elevation in the blood pressure of arteries results in hypertension. Prolonged hypertension leads to heart attack, heart failure, heart damage, etc. Obesity, diabetes, stress, insufficient intake of potassium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, lack of physical activity leads to hypertension. A normal healthy individual will have 120/80 mm of Hg. blood pressure. An increase in this value leads to severe hypertension. There is no permanent cure for this disease but the blood pressure can be kept under control by proper regular medication and through good lifestyle changes.

  25. Hypotension
  26. It is a condition of low blood pressure which results in a value of less than 90/60. Fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, depression, blurry vision, numbness in the feet and legs, etc. are signs of low blood pressure. Proper medication, increasing physical activity, regular brisk walking, intake of sufficient salt in the diet will set right hypotension problem.

  27. Regurgitation
  28. If valves of the heart don't close tightly, it will lead to a backflow of blood and that results in improper circulation of blood. To rectify this defect surgery will be carried out to set right the valves.

  29. Anemia
  30. It is a medical condition in which the RBC count or haemoglobin value lowers. Anemia is caused due to a decrease in the production of RBC or hemoglobin or increased destruction of RBC or any leakage of blood from internal organs through ulcers or wounds or infections. Tiredness, fatigue, skin becomes paler, shortness of breath, hair loss, worsening of heart problems, etc. occur. Proper medication through B12 injections, providing therapeutic doses of iron, bone marrow therapy, proper treatment to ulcers which bleed, more intake of green leafy vegetables and fruits helps in reverting in anemic condition.


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