Living With Heart Conditions
This section provides information about the most common heart problems. Sometimes more than one problem can occur with the heart at the same time, and one problem can also lead to another.
Heart problems affect everyone differently – this is why two people with the same diagnosis may not always be given the same treatment. Unless in an emergency situation, your doctor will consider your individual situation before discussing any possible treatment options with you.
What can happen to the heart
In order for the heart to function properly, it needs all of the following to work efficiently:
- The heart's pumping action: when the heart muscle can not meet the body's demand for blood and oxygen the body develops a range of different symptoms. This is referred to as heart failure because of the failure of the heart to work efficiently.
- The blood supply to the heart: coronary heart disease occurs if the main arteries, which supply blood to the heart, are narrowed or blocked. This is the most common form of heart disease and can lead to angina and / or heart attacks.
- The heart's electrical system: if the electrical signals within the heart are interrupted or disturbed then the heart can beat too quickly (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia) and / or in an irregular way. This is called an arrhythmia.
- The heart valves: problems with valves increase the workload of the heart and can put a strain on the heart muscle, leading to a range of different symptoms.
High blood pressure is another common heart condition. Though it is not a disease in itself, it can lead to an increased risk of developing serious conditions such as heart disease, angina, heart attacks and strokes.
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