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Cardiovascular disease

Very common cardiovascular diseases

  • Heart failure
  • Angina
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Heart attack
  • Heart valve disease

Heart failure

Heart failure is when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently. If it cannot pump enough blood around your body, some parts of your body will get too little blood and therefore too little oxygen. This can cause a number of symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluid retention
  • Loss of appetite
  • Having to urinate more often at night
  • Cold hands and feet.

Angina (chest pain)

If you have angina, your coronary arteries have narrowed, preventing your heart from getting enough oxygen. This can lead to problems, especially during physical exercise or times of emotional stress. Your heart then gets less oxygen than it needs.

Symptoms which can occur include:

  • Chest pain
  • Tiredness when exercising

An attack usually lasts for a few minutes and often passes when you rest.

There are two types of angina: the stable and the unstable form.

  • Stable angina is mainly caused by physical exercise or emotional stress.
  • Unstable angina can also flare up when you are resting or asleep. This form is much more serious, because it can be a warning sign that you could be at risk of a heart attack.

Cardiac arrhythmia

Cardiac arrhythmia is the name for an irregular heartbeat in which the number of heart beats per minute is much higher or lower than average. The atria and chambers of your heart are not contracting in the right order. Some people have an irregular heartbeat without being aware of it. Other people can suffer serious symptoms.

Symptoms which frequently occur when you have cardiac arrhythmia are:

  • Palpitations or a pounding heart
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hyperventilation

Heart attack

A heart attack is almost always due to one of the heart’s coronary arteries suddenly becoming blocked. This blockage prevents part of the heart muscle from getting any oxygen. That part is no longer able to contract properly and gradually dies. The seriousness of a heart attack depends on the amount of damage to the heart muscle and where in the heart it happens.

Symptoms which frequently occur during a heart attack are:

  • Sensation of pressure and pain in your chest, often radiating out to your lower jaw and left arm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Fainting
  • Sweating heavily
  • Pale skin

Heart valve disease

If you have heart valve disease, one of your heart valves is not functioning properly. The valve may have narrowed or has started to leak. Your heart has to work much harder to pump the blood through the valve and this can damage your heart. Symptoms which can occur if you have heart valve disease are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Tiredness
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat