Heart Conditions — Demystified

By Edeline Anne Goh

Medical jargon can be hard on the ears if you’re not a health professional. This is true no matter which aspect of medicine is up for discussion but let’s look at one of the most prevalent conditions around — health problems related to the heart.

Let’s say your doctor tells you you’ve had a Transient Ischemic Attack. What in the world does that mean? You go out for lunch with your best friend and he informs you that he has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. What is he talking about?

We’re determined to help clear the confusion so here’s a list of some of the more common heart conditions — demystified.

Angina Pectoris

Chest pains caused by restricted blood flow to an area of the heart, impairing oxygen delivery and are usually symptomatic of coronary artery disease.

Arrhythmia

Irregular rhythm of heartbeats that may occur alongside pre-existing underlying conditions as well as in healthy individuals.

Atherosclerosis

Hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the formation of plaque on the wall lining. Plaque is a fatty cholesterol deposit that obstructs blood flow. It releases substances that make the lining sticky and susceptible to rupture, which causes heart attacks.

Atrial Fibrillation

A form of cardiac arrhythmia, which causes the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to contract abnormally. This creates an irregular and rapid heart rate that affects blood flow.

Cardiomyopathy

Progressive heart muscle disease where the heart becomes enlarged or thickened and can result in heart failure.

Congenital Heart Defects

Problems with the heart structure that are present at birth and which affect normal blood flow.

Congestive Heart Failure

Also known as heart failure, where the heart’s pumping power is weakened and its capacity to deliver adequate amounts of oxygen to the body is greatly reduced.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

The hallmark of CAD is atherosclerosis. CAD results from the buildup of plaque in blood vessels that restrict blood flow to the heart.

Endocarditis

Inflammation of heart valves caused by bacterial growth. People with heart valve diseases or those who have undergone heart-related surgical procedures are susceptible to this condition.

Heart Block

A type of arrhythmia. It delays or blocks electrical conduction (the system which controls heart rates) from the sinus node to ventricles.

Heart Murmurs

Abnormal heart sounds that can be heard during a heartbeat. There are two forms of heart murmurs. There are innocent murmurs, which are simply sounds made by blood flowing through the heart and not caused by a heart problem. Abnormal heart murmurs can indicate that there is a congenital heart defect especially if it is detected among children.

Hypertension

Also known as high blood pressure. It is caused by chronic, elevated blood pressure in the arteries which increases the workload on the heart.

Myocardial Infarction (MI)

Commonly known as a heart attack, this condition happens when there is a blockage of oxygen-rich blood supply from the coronary arteries and causes permanent damage to heart muscles.

Stroke

Interruption of blood supply to the brain can result in an ischemic stroke or cerebral hemorrhage. Ischemic strokes result from the blockage of critical blood supply by a blood clot. Cerebral hemorrhage may occur due to the rupture of a brain aneurysm (a balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel).

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

An abrupt stop of heart rhythms that cease blood flow to vital organs. SCA can cause death in minutes.

Transient Ischemic Attack

Also known as a mini-stroke, which results in a temporary disruption of blood supply to the brain.

Ventricular Tachycardia

Rapid heart rhythm in the lower compartments or ventricles of the heart, which prevents total filling of the chamber with blood

 

Heart Diagram Example

heart a to z

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