Adult Cardiac Conditions

Adult Cardiac Conditions

Hypertension

Hypertension, commonly known as "high blood pressure", is a condition in which the pressure exerted in the arteries is excessive leading to arterial damage to all organs. Hypertension develops slowly over the years and doesn't exhibit any symptoms until a major event like a stroke, heart attack or heart failure occurs. Less extreme cases may experience pounding headaches and blurry vision. Frequent screening is the key to the early detection of hypertension.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is the narrowing and obstruction of the arteries which supply blood to the heart muscles. This condition is usually caused by atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of cholesterol and fatty deposits (plaque) inside the arteries, blocking them and preventing blood flow to the target organ or muscle. This causes chest pain (angina) and heart attack. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, pain in the neck, back, shoulder, or jaw, heart palpitations, abnormal heartbeat, dizziness, and nausea.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

A myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow to the heart muscles seizes ubruptly. Myocardial infarction is characterized by chest-pain, the intensity of which can vary from a mild intermittent sensation that feels like heartburn to a giant fist squeezing the heart. Other symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, and nausea. Most heart attacks occur over several hours. And so if you think you are experiencing a heart attack, get help immediately as with every passing moment, muscle cells die. Early treatment, would contain the muscle damage and increase the chances of survival.

Valvular Heart Disease

Valvular heart diseases are cardiac ailments affecting the four major valves Aortic, Mitral, Tricuspid, and Pulmonory Valves.Valvular heart diseases can be due to various causes such as rheumatic fever, congenital defects, degeneration due to old age, etc. This leads to various valvular heart conditions such as -

  • Aortic Stenosis - Aortic Stenosis occurs when the aortic valve orifice is narrowed. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump through the norrowed aortic valve orifice. The additional effort causes stress on the heart and can lead to heart failure and sudden death. Aortic stenosis usually presents as chest pain, heart murmur or abnormal heart sounds, fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
  • Aortic Regurgitation - Aortic valve regurgitation is a condition in which the aortic valve is leaky, allowing some blood to flow back into the left ventricle. This can cause a lot of stress on the heart with time. Aortic regurgitation usually tends to develop gradually and causes shortness of breath, abnormal fatigue, light-headedness, heart murmur and palpitations as it worsens.
  • Mitral Stenosis - Mitral Stenosis occurs when the mitral valve orifice is narrowed, commonly due to rheumatic heart disease. This makes it difficult for the blood to flow to the main pumping chamber of the heart, the left ventricle. Pressure builds up in the left atrial chamber of the heart and consequently consequently causes fluid build-up in the lungs. This condition is characterised by tiredness and shortness of breath, coughing up blood and chest pain. Mitral stenosis is usually caused by rheumatic heart disease and degenerative valvular disease.
  • Mitral Regurgitation - Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the mitral valve is leaky, allowing some blood to flow back into the left atrium from the left ventricle when the heart pumps. This causes a rise of pressure in the left atrial chamber of the heart and consequently fluid build-up in the lungs. Mild mitral regurgitation maybe asymptomatic. As the severity increases, patients may experience shortness of breath, chest pains, palpitations, coughing, and swelling of the feet.

Cardiomyopathy (Disease of the heart muscle)

Cardiomyopathy diminishes the heart muscle's capacity to effectively pump blood to the whole body. The main types of Cardiomyopathy are – dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive Cardiomyopathy. There may not be apparent symptoms initially, but as the disease advances, patients usually experiences breathlessness, ankle swelling, rapid heartbeats, chest discomfort and fatigue. This may also be accompanied by coughing, dizziness and light-headedness.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive Heart Failure is a chronic progressive condition due to inability of the heart to pump blood effectively. This leads to build up of fluid in the lungs and the whole body. CHF starts with mild symptoms such as ankle swelling, weight gain, and fatigue. It progresses into marked shortness of breath, wheezing, cough and congestion in the lungs, and an irregular heartbeat. In severe cases, it could lead to rapid breathing, skin turning blue due to lack of oxygen and fainting. Hypertension, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease and cardiomyopathy are conditions that increase the risk of CHF.

Arrhythmias (Irregular Heartbeat)

Arrhythmia refers to an irregular heartbeat – It could be too fast, too slow, skip beats, or follow an irregular rhythm. Arrhythmias occur when the electrical signals that cause the heart to beat. Arrhythmias can be benign or symptomatic. Cause of arrhythmia in every patient needs to be investigated to ascertain its seriousness. Arthythmias can lead to an increased risk of stroke, cardiac arrest and even cardiac failure. Cardiac arrhythmias can also be caused by substance abuse, stress, hyperthyroidism, congestive heart failure, and certain medications.

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