Heart Disease Definition, Types of Heart Disease, Signs and symptoms

Heart Disease Definition, Types of Heart Disease, Signs and symptoms, Causes, Heart Disease risk factors

Heart disease is a medical condition characterized by a heart abnormality. The most common heart disease is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is a condition of blockage or narrowing of blood vessels that can cause a heart attack, chest pain ( angina ) or stroke. The heart is an organ composed of muscle.

The heart requires an adequate supply of blood for the heart muscle to contract and pump blood throughout the body. In addition to being pumped throughout the body, the heart also pumps blood to itself through the coronary arteries. When one or more coronary arteries narrow, it becomes difficult for blood to reach the heart, especially when the patient is exercising.

This will cause symptoms such as chest pain, pressure on the chest, or shortness of breath that often radiates to the shoulders, arms, or neck. This symptom is known as angina. When one of the coronary arteries is completely blocked (usually due to a plaque that ruptures and causes a blood clot), the blood supply to the heart is lost and the heart muscle dies. This is known as a heart attack. Angina or heart attack is caused by coronary heart disease.

According to WHO, as many as 17.5 million people in the world died from cardiovascular disease or 31% of the 56.5 million deaths worldwide. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a common cardiovascular disease, where in this condition there is a blockage in the coronary blood vessels that supply the heart. CHD is the second highest cause of death at all ages after stroke, which is 12.9%. Some other heart diseases are heart rhythm disorders ( arrhythmias ), and congenital heart defects ( congenital heart defects ).

Types of heart disease

There are various types of heart disease, namely:

  • Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease is the most common heart disease. This condition occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart are blocked due to plaque. Plaque contains cholesterol and other substances. Blood vessels become narrowed and hardened. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. When atherosclerosis occurs, blood flow is reduced. The heart also receives less oxygen and nutrients. Over time, the heart muscle weakens. Risks such as heart failure and heart rhythm disturbances will occur.

  • Congenital heart disease

Patients with congenital heart disease are born with heart problems. There are several types of congenital heart disease such as heart valve disorders, septal disorders, and atresia. Some patients with congenital heart disease do not experience any symptoms until they are detected at a medical check-up.

  • Heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias)

Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that play a role in regulating the heart rate don’t work properly. Finally, the heart rate that occurs can be too fast, too slow, or very irregular.

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy

In this condition, the heart chambers widen, characterized by loosening and thinning of the heart muscle. The main causes of dilated cardiomyopathy are a history of heart attack, heart rhythm disturbances, and toxic substances (toxins). As a result, the heart will weaken and cannot pump blood properly, triggering arrhythmias, blood clots in the heart, and heart failure.

  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)

This condition occurs when blood flow to the heart is interrupted. This can damage the heart muscle. The main cause of a heart attack is plaque, blood clots, or both in the coronary arteries. This condition can also occur when the arteries suddenly narrow.

  • Heart failure

In heart failure, the heart is still working, but its function is not as optimal as usual. This condition can be caused by untreated coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, or arrhythmias. These diseases can affect the pumping function of the heart.

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

This condition usually occurs due to a genetic disease that affects the heart muscle. In this condition, the muscle wall thickens and muscle contraction will be more difficult. This will interfere with the ability of the heart to pump blood. Patients may not experience any symptoms, but this condition can get worse over time and lead to various heart problems.

  • Mitral valve regurgitation

This condition occurs when the mitral valve in the heart does not close properly so that blood returns to the heart. Blood cannot flow throughout the body normally. This condition can also put more pressure on the veins from the lungs to the heart. Over time, the heart will widen and cause heart failure.

  • Mitral valve prolapse

This condition occurs when the mitral valve does not close properly and instead leaks out into the left atrium. Mitral valve prolapse will trigger heart murmurs. This condition is usually not life-threatening, but some cases may require treatment.

  • Aortic Stenosis

In aortic stenosis, the pulmonary valve is thickened and cannot open properly. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries. Some patients have aortic stenosis from birth. This condition can also occur due to scarring of the heart or the buildup of calcium deposits. 

Heart disease
Medical specialist Heart
Symptom Chest pain such as being crushed or pressed, shortness of breath, fast heart rate
Risk factors High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity
Diagnostic method ECG, echocardiogram, blood test
Treatment Lifestyle changes, medications, surgery
Drug Anticoagulants, antiplatelets, ACE inhibitors
Complications Heart failure, cardiac arrest, sudden cardiac arrest
When should you go to the doctor? Experiencing symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain and shortness of breath


Symptoms of heart disease depend on the type of heart disease itself. The following are the symptoms caused by the type of heart disease:

Symptoms of cardiovascular disease ( atherosclerotic disease )

Symptoms of cardiovascular disease ( atherosclerotic disease ) can be different in women and men. Men are more likely to experience chest pain, while women usually only complain of chest discomfort along with other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, and excessive fatigue. In general, the symptoms of cardiovascular disease include:

  • Chest pain, tightness in the chest, chest like being squeezed or compressed (angina)
  • Hard to breathe
  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in the legs or arms, if the blood vessels in these parts of the body are narrowed
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

Many people who have never been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease suddenly experience a heart attack, angina, stroke, or heart failure. If you experience these symptoms or have concerns about the risk of cardiovascular disease, consult a doctor as early as possible. 

Symptoms of arrhythmia

An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat or rhythm; beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly. Symptoms include:

  • pounding chest
  • fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Hard to breathe
  • Head feels light (lightheadedness)
  • Dizzy
  • Fainted or almost fainted

Symptoms of heart disease due to congenital heart defects

Symptoms of heart disease due to congenital heart defects. Serious congenital or congenital heart defects can usually be recognized as soon as the baby is born. Symptoms of heart defects in children include:

  • Skin appears pale gray or bluish (cyanosis)
  • Swelling in the legs, abdomen or the area around the eyes
  • Shortness of breath when the baby is breastfeeding, so the baby’s weight is difficult to gain

Symptoms of congenital heart defects

Congenital heart defects that are less serious are often not diagnosed until the child is a toddler or even an adult. Symptoms are usually not critical and can include:

  • Easily out of breath when exercising or doing activities
  • Easily tired when exercising and doing activities
  • Swelling in the hands, ankles or feet

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Symptoms of heart disease due to the weakness of the heart muscle ( dilated cardiomyopathy ) In the early stages, there may be no symptoms. However, if the condition worsens, the symptoms that will appear are:

  • Shortness of breath either during activity or at rest
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles and other parts of the feet
  • Fatigue
  • An irregular heartbeat that is fast, pounding or pounding
  • Dizziness, dizziness and fainting

Symptoms of endocarditis

Endocarditis is an infection of the inner membrane that lines the chambers and valves of the heart (endocardium). Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Hard to breathe
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Swelling in the legs or abdomen
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Dry or persistent cough
  • Unusual skin rash or freckles

Symptoms of heart valve disease

The heart has four valves namely the aortic, mitral, pulmonary and tricuspid valves. These valves open and close the flow of blood directly through the heart. Valves can be damaged by a variety of conditions that cause narrowing (stenosis), leaking (regurgitation or insufficiency) or improper closure (prolapse). Symptom heart valve disease generally include:

  • Fatigue
  • Hard to breathe
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting (syncope)

Cause of Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease occurs when the baby is still in the womb. Some heart diseases can be serious and diagnosed early. Some types of heart disease go undetected for years.

Causes of cardiomyopathy

  • Causes of dilated cardiomyopathy include previous heart damage (such as from drugs, infection, or heart attack), uncontrolled high blood pressure, and heredity (genetic).
  • The cause of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is heredity (genetic).
  • The exact cause of restrictive cardiomyopathy is not known. The possible underlying causes are the buildup of scar tissue and amyloidosis.

Causes of heart infection

The most common causes of heart infections are bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Uncontrolled body infections can also damage the heart if not treated properly.

Heart disease risk factors

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Age

With age, the risk of damage and narrowing of the arteries and weakening or thickening of the heart muscle increases.

  • Male gender

Men are more prone to risk of heart disease. The risk in women increases after menopause.

  • Family history

A family history of heart disease increases the risk of coronary heart disease, especially if parents develop heart disease at a relatively young age (55 years for men and 65 years for women).

  • Smoke

The nicotine content hardens the blood vessels and carbon monoxide will damage the inside of the blood vessels, making the patient more susceptible to atherosclerosis. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than non-smokers.

  • Bad diet

A diet rich in fat, salt, sugar, and cholesterol can trigger the development of heart disease.

  • High blood pressure

High blood pressure can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries and narrowing of the blood vessels.

  • High cholesterol

High blood cholesterol levels can trigger the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis.

  • Diabetes

Diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease.

  • Obesity

Obesity or being overweight can exacerbate other risk factors for heart disease.

  • Less movement

Insufficient exercise is associated with many types of heart disease and their risk factors.

  • Stress

Stress can damage arteries and damage other risk factors for heart disease.

  • Poor oral and dental health

Maintaining dental and oral health by brushing teeth and regular check-ups with the dentist is very important. Bacteria from the teeth can enter the blood vessels and travel to the heart causing infection (endocarditis).

The examination to determine the diagnosis of heart disease depends on the patient’s condition. These tests can be:

  • Question and answer

The doctor will ask about the symptoms and history of heart disease in the patient’s family.

  • Physical examination

The doctor will perform a physical examination to look for signs of heart disease.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An ECG or EKG helps doctors detect irregularities in the rhythm and structure of the heart.

  • Holter monitoring

Holter monitoring is a portable device used to record continuous ECGs, usually for 24 hours to 72 hours. This monitoring is used to detect heart rhythm irregularities that are not found during the EKG exam.

  • Echocardiogram

This non-invasive examination includes a chest ultrasound, the results of which show details of the structure and function of the heart.

  • Stress test

This type of test focuses on an increase in heart rate due to exercise or medication during the test, as well as checking how the heart responds.

  • Cardiac catheterization

This test helps doctors see blood flow through the heart, blood vessels and valves and can check for abnormalities.

  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT)

This test is often used to check for heart problems.

  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

For this test, the patient lies on a table inside a long tube-like machine that produces a magnetic field. The magnetic field produces images to help doctors evaluate the heart.

Treatment Subtitle

Treatment of heart disease varies depending on the condition, both for heart disease in women as well as men. For example, if you have a heart infection, your doctor will give you antibiotics. In general, treatments for heart disease usually include:

Lifestyle changes

Some of the ways include:

  • A healthy diet and regular exercise
  • Eat low-fat and low-sodium foods
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake


Doctors may prescribe medication to control heart disease. Some types of drugs that can be used include anticoagulants, antiplatelets, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitorsangiotensin II receptor blockers, angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitors, beta-blockerscalcium channel blockers, cholesterol-lowering drugs, digitalis, diuretics, and vasodilators.

Medical procedure or surgery

If medication is not enough then the doctor may recommend a special procedure or surgery. The type of procedure depends on the type of disease and the degree of damage to the heart.

Complications of heart disease

Complications of heart disease include:

  • Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump the blood the body needs. Heart failure can be caused by various types of heart disease, such as congenital heart disease, cardiovascular disease, heart valve disease, heart infections, or cardiomyopathy.

  • Heart attack

Blood clots that block the flow of blood through the blood vessels that supply the heart (coronary blood vessels) will cause a heart attack. This condition will damage the heart muscle.

  • stroke

Risk factors that cause cardiovascular disease can also lead to stroke. Stroke is a condition when the arteries in the brain are narrowed or blocked so that the blood supply to the brain becomes less.

  • Aneurysm

A serious complication that can occur is an aneurysm, a lump in the artery wall. A ruptured aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.

  • Peripheral artery disease

In this condition, the legs, especially the feet, don’t get enough blood. This will cause symptoms such as leg pain when walking.

  • Sudden cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest is the sudden cessation of heart function, breathing, and consciousness which is often caused by a heart rhythm disturbance.

Certain types of heart disease, such as heart defects, cannot be prevented. However, there are steps you can take to prevent many types of heart disease, including:

  • Quit smoking, because smoking is a major risk factor for heart and cardiovascular disease
  • Control other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
  • Exercise regularly at least 30 minutes a day
  • Maintain ideal body weight
  • Eat a diet that is low in salt and saturated fat, and lots of fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce stress
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

Seek emergency medical care if you have symptoms of heart disease, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Hard to breathe
  • Faint
  • Or other symptoms of heart disease

Before the examination, you can prepare the following things:

  • Make a list of your symptoms.
  • Write down the history of the disease you have and are currently experiencing.
  • Record your recent travel history.
  • Keep a record of all medications, supplements, herbal remedies, or vitamins you take.
  • Write down the questions you want to ask your doctor.

You can also ask family or friends to accompany you when consulting with your doctor. They can provide moral support as well as help you remember the information provided by the doctor.

The doctor will ask the following questions:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • Since when did the symptoms appear?
  • Do you have any risk factors related to heart disease, such as high blood pressure?
  • Are there family members or people around you with the same symptoms?
  • Have you sought medical help before? If so, what treatments have you tried?

After that, the doctor will perform a physical examination and recommend additional tests to confirm the diagnosis of heart disease. With this, treatment can be given appropriately.

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