Common Heart Problems

Specialists in Cardiology

Adult Congenital Heart Disease
These include a wide range of malformations that affect the structure of the heart and major vessels. Congenital heart defects are present at birth because of the way the heart forms during the fetal stage. Genetic and environmental influences can affect the heart as it develops and cause a defect. Some medications, diabetes, and alcohol or illicit drug use during pregnancy can increase the risk of a congenital heart defect.

Angina Pectoris (Angina)
Pain or pressure in the chest, back, arm or jaw indicates that the heart muscle isn’t receiving enough oxygen. Angina isn’t a heart attack, but it does mean that you have an increased risk of heart attack.

Arrhythmia (Dysrhythmia)
An abnormal (too fast, too slow, or irregular) heartbeat rhythm may be unimportant—or indicate a serious problem. There are many types of arrhythmias with a variety of causes, detection methods, and treatments.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a type of arrhythmia in which the two small upper chambers of the heart, the atria, quiver instead of beating effectively. Symptoms vary from minor to disturbing, but AF can lead to a stroke.

With this condition the heart rate is too slow. A slow heart rate may cause fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting spells. Bradycardia can be easily corrected by implanting an electronic pacemaker to regulate the heart rhythm.

Coronary Artery Disease
This is a general term for a condition that blocks the coronary arteries, reducing blood flow through them to the heart muscle. It can take several forms, including silent ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart that causes very little pain or symptoms), angina and heart attack.
Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of coronary artery disease. This condition is characterized by thickening and hardening of the arteries, often caused by deposits of fat, cholesterol and other substances on the arteries’ inner lining.

These deposits, called plaque, make an artery narrower, so less blood can flow through. Lack of blood flow to the heart can cause a heart attack; lack of blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke.

High Cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) means you have excessive cholesterol in the blood. Cholesterol is a fat consisting of several components. Although too much cholesterol in the blood rarely causes symptoms by itself, it can clog the arteries to your heart, which increases your risk of serious heart disease and heart attack. (It can also clog the arteries to the brain, increasing the risk of stroke.)

This disease damages the heart muscle, weakening its ability to pump blood and sometimes causing arrhythmias. There are various types of cardiomyopathy with various causes, including viral infections. Some forms strike younger people.

Congestive Heart Failure
CHF means the heart doesn’t pump as well as it should, causing the patient to retain fluids, often leading to swollen legs and ankles and congestion in the lungs. It’s usually caused by a gradual weakening of the heart brought on by various conditions, such as clogged arteries or high blood pressure.

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
When blood flow to part of the heart (the myocardium) is reduced or stops, it causes that part to be damaged or die. The damage is often reversible if the stoppage is brief, and the heart eventually receives the blood, oxygen, and nutrients it needs. A heart attack is sometimes called a coronary thrombosis or coronary occlusion.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
This is not a heart disease in the conventional sense — however it strongly increases the risk of serious heart disease and stroke. It occurs when the pressure of blood flowing in the large arteries is too high. For adults, “too high” is generally defined as equal to or greater than 140 over 90 (140 mm Hg systolic pressure and 90 mm Hg diastolic pressure).

Valvular Heart Disease
This includes any dysfunction or defect of one or more of the heart’s four valves. In a normally functioning heart, the valves act as gates that open and close to keep blood flowing in one direction, at the right time. There are a number of different types of valvular heart disease including valvular stenosis, valvular regurgitation, mitral valve prolapse, heart valve procedures, minimally invasive heart valve surgery, and artifical heart valve.