Heart disease is categorized as being any disorder that affects the heart's ability to function normally.
Various types of heart disease include:
- Angina: Chest pain or discomfort that usually occurs with activity or stress. Angina may feel like indigestion – or like an elephant just tromped on your chest – and is due to poor blood flow through the blood vessels in the heart.
- Coronary artery disease: America's No.1 killer, coronary artery disease, affects more than 13 million Americans and is a result of plaque buildup in your arteries, which blocks blood flow and heightens the risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Heart attack: If you have coronary artery disease, the coronary arteries become narrow making it difficult for blood to flow as well as it should due to hard plaque and/or blood clots. If the artery gets completely blocked, the heart muscle becomes "starved" for oxygen. Within a short time, death of heart muscle cells occurs, causing permanent damage. This is what’s known as a heart attack.
- Atrial fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation is a very common form of arrhythmia or irregular heart rhythm disease that causes the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, to contract abnormally.
- Heart valve disease: There are several forms of heart valve disease, including:
- Valvular stenosis occurs when there is narrowing, stiffening, thickening, fusion or blockage of one or more valves of your heart.
- Valvular insufficiency, also called regurgitation, incompetence, or "leaky valve," occurs when a valve does not close tightly.
- Sudden cardiac death is a sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function.
- Cardiomegaly: The cause of cardiomegaly (or an enlarged heart) can have various causes. But it's usually caused by high blood pressure (hypertension) or coronary artery disease.
Cardiomyopathy: This is a progressive heart disease in which the heart is abnormally enlarged, thickened and/or rigid. As a result, the heart muscle's ability to pump blood is weakened, often causing heart failure and the backup of blood into the lungs or the rest of the body.