Heart diseases | List of cardiovascular diseases | Include pathologies that affect the heart and all of the blood vessels

Heart diseases | List of cardiovascular diseases | Include pathologies that affect the heart and all of the blood vessels

List of Heart Diseases (cardiovascular diseases)

Cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases include pathologies that affect the heart and all of the blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis, heart rhythm disturbances, arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure or even stroke. . Heart diseases are caused by dysfunctions of the heart or blood vessels, they are particularly favored by smoking and an unbalanced diet and are responsible for a very large proportion of deaths in the population. Their diagnosis, most often carried out by a cardiologist, involves various medical examinations (electrocardiogram, MRI, ultrasound…).

What are the risk factors?

The main risk factors for heart disease and stroke are poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking and harmful use of alcohol.

The effects of behavioral risk factors can cause people to have high blood pressure, high blood sugar, hyperlipidemia, overweight and obesity. These “intermediate risk factors” can be assessed in primary health care settings and are indicative of an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and other complications.

Quitting smoking, reducing salt intake in your diet, consuming fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and avoiding the harmful use of alcohol have been found to reduce the risk of heart diseases. In addition, drug treatment for diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia may be necessary to decrease heart diseases risk and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Health policies, which create the conditions for making good health choices both affordable and possible, are essential to encourage people to adopt and stick to healthy behavior.

Read also: Cholesterol (excess) | symptoms, causes, treatments, levels, foods, warning, dietary supplements

There are also a number of underlying determinants of heart diseases. They come from the main social, economic and cultural developments – globalization, urbanization and the aging of the population. Other determinants of heart diseases are poverty, stress and hereditary factors.

September 29: World Heart Day

Many cardiovascular diseases can be prevented. Everyone can act for better lifestyle habits: stop smoking, adopt a balanced diet, maintain regular physical activity, reduce sedentary behavior, reduce alcohol consumption, act on stress, reduce overweight. With health professionals, it is a question of evaluating the risk and reducing clinical factors such as arterial hypertension, type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, obesity or certain heart rhythm disorders.

The improvement of lifestyle habits, and drug treatments if necessary, complement each other to reduce an often multiple risk.


Cardiac arrhythmias

  • Cardiac arrhythmias – conditions in which the heartbeat is irregular, too fast, or too slow. Many types of arrhythmia have no symptoms. When symptoms are present these may include palpitations or feeling a pause between heartbeats. More seriously there may be lightheadednesspassing outshortness of breath, or chest pain. While most types of arrhythmia are not serious, some predispose a person to complications such as stroke or heart failure. Others may result in cardiac arrest.
    • Atrial fibrillation (afib or AF) – Fibrillation of the atria is fairly common and more common with increased age and overall disease of the heart. If the ventricular rate exceeds 100 then the afib is further classified as “afib with RVR” meaning rapid ventricular response.
    • Atrial flutter (AFL) – A re-entrant tachycardia greater than 240 beats per minute and produces a characteristic saw-tooth pattern on ECG. It often degenerates to atrial fibrillation.
    • Heart block – A decrease in the ability of the conduction system to transmit action pulses in the orderly manner. Blockage of the signal at different areas results in different types of heart block (e.g., first-degree AV blockleft bundle branch block).
    • Long QT syndrome – Lengthening of the QT interval can result in arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Specifically, it can lead to torsades de pointes than can then lead to ventricular fibrillation. It can be an inherited disorder or be acquired. Certain medications are associated with lengthening of the QT interval — drug-induced QT prolongation — and an EKG may be warranted before starting the medication to ensure a normal QT interval, but this practice is debated.
    • Premature atrial contractions (PACs or APCs) – Normal beats originate in the SA node and extra beats originating from the atria are called PACs. They can be found in normal hearts and be asymptomatic; symptomatic PACs can be treated with beta blockers. PACs, like PVCs, can pair up with normal beats in a pattern called bigeminy.
    • Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) – Normal beats are conducted through the AV node to the ventricles resulting in a narrow QRS complex. With PVCs, the extra beat originates within the ventricles and results in a wide QRS complex. Like PACs, they can be found in healthy hearts but are more likely to be found in bigeminy than PACs.
    • Sick sinus syndrome, Bradycardia-tachycardia syndrome (BTS) – Disease of the SA node that results in irregular changes in heart rate and in the case of BTS the arrhythmia alternates between bradycardia and tachycardia.
    • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) – A collection of tachycardia rhythms that originate before the ventricles and include the SA node, atria, and AV node. It is a broad, encomparsing term that includes other rhythms in this list (e.g., afib with RVR) and others.
    • Torsades de pointes – A polymorphic arrhythmia that can be syptomatic and tends to resolve to a normal sinus rhythm. However, there is a concern
    • Ventricular fibrillation (vfib) – Fibrillation of the ventricles is a life-threatening arrhythmia and should be treated by defibrillation and is a medical emergency. Vfib results from uncoordinated contraction of the ventricles and defibrillation acts as a ‘reset’ to synchronize contraction (i.e., a normal rhythm).
    • Ventricular tachycardia (vtach) – Tachycardia that originates from within the ventricles. Typically, “vtach” implies monomorphology but it can be an umbrella term for both monomorphic and polymorphic (i.e., torsade de pointes). To classify a ventricular rhythm as vtach, at least 3 beats in a row must originate from the ventricles and have a rate over 100. If it lasts longer than 30 seconds, it can additionally be labelled as a sustained vtach.

Coronary circulation disorders

  • Coronary circulation disorders
    • Atherosclerosis – Atherosclerosis is the condition in which an artery wall thickens as the result of a build-up of fatty materials (e.g., cholesterol) and white blood cells (“foam cells”). Atherosclerosis of a coronary artery leads to coronary artery disease (CAD). Atherosclerosis is a broad term referring to loss of elasticity of arteries and more specific terms exist — arteriosclerosis and arteriolosclerosis — to narrow which arteries are diseased and can easily be confused due to similar spelling. Overall, atherosclerosis tends to affect the arteries of highest pressure: aorta, coronary, renal, femoral, cerebral, and carotid.
    • Coronary artery disease (CAD) – Coronary artery disease is a general term for any reduction in coronary circulation. One such cause is atherosclerosis. CAD can lead to ischemia (angina pectoris) or infarction (myocardial infarction). Treatment of CAD includes angioplastystenting, and coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).
      • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) – ACS is a medical emergency and is a broad term encompassing many acute myocardial infarction symptoms. As a syndrome, it consists of a constellation of symptoms and can have many causes. The top three causes of ACS are ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI, 30%), non ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI, 25%), or unstable angina (38%). The first two are myocardial infarctions which are more commonly known as “heart attacks.”
      • Angina pectoris – Angina pectoris literally means “chest pain” that refers to pain caused by ischemia of the heart. The main cause of angina is coronary artery disease, but can result from other non-atherosclerotic causes such as anemia and heart failure. Stable angina results if the angina resolves with rest or nitroglycerin, but can progress to unstable angina which is a form of acute coronary syndrome.
      • Myocardial infarction (a.k.a. heart attack) – A myocardial infarction is the death of a part of the heart which is typically caused by a blockage of the coronary circulation but can be caused by other insufficiency such as cardiogenic shock.
    • Restenosis – Recurrence of stenosis after being treated (e.g., stenting).

Cardiac arrest

  • Cardiac arrest – cessation of normal systemic circulation due to failure in proper contraction of the heart. There are several conditions that can cause cardiac arrest. Treatment of cardiac arrest includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillation, and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and treatment of the underlying cause of arrest.
    • Asystole (“flatline”) – Asystole refers to the absence of electrical activity of the heart and is sometimes referred to as a “flatline” because the electrocardiogram shows a solid line due to the absence of electrical activity. This flatline is commonly used in television and movies to signal death. There are numerous causes of asystole that may be reversible if determined quickly enough, however, survival is very unlikely (~2% if not in a hospital). In contrast, asystole is desired and induced during cardiopulmonary bypass through a cardioplegia solution containing very high amounts of potassium. One additional example is the use of high potassium in lethal injection that results in asystole, cardiac arrest, and then death.
    • Pulseless electrical activity (PEA) – Pulseless electrical activity is when the electrocardiogram shows a rhythm that should produce a pulse but it does not. PEA is commonly caused by the 6 H’s and 6 T’s (see PEA article) and results in decreased cardiac output and insufficient oxygen delivery to the body.
    • Pulseless ventricular tachycardia – Pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT) Is one classification of VT such that no pulse is felt because of an ineffective cardiac output which causes cardiac arrest, which also results in insufficient oxygen delivery to the body.
    • Sudden cardiac death (SCD) – concept of natural death rather than a specific medical condition. There are several causes of sudden cardiac death and it is distinct from cardiac arrest. The leading cause of SCD in young athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy but can also result from commotio cordis that is often sustained during athletic activity.
    • Ventricular fibrillation – Ventricular fibrillation is fibrillation of the ventricles of the heart. Rhythmic contraction is necessary for efficient movement of blood, and fibrillation disrupts this rhythm sufficiently to cause cardiac arrest.

Disorders of the myocardium

Disorders of the pericardium

  • Disorders of the pericardium
    • Pericarditis – Inflammation of the pericardium that is typically idiopathic or infectious in nature (the membrane covering the heart). This inflammation is accompanied by swelling at the level of this membrane, in particular due to an excess of fluid circulating between the pericardium and the heart. The main symptoms of pericarditis are pain in the chest. These pains can occur suddenly, sharply and severely. The pain is usually worse at night when lying down and less when sitting. Treatment of viral & idiopathic pericarditis is NSAIDs or aspirin.
    • Pericardial effusion – The serous pericardium normally contains fluid that reduces friction, but an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the pericardium is called a pericardial effusion. The list of causes is lengthy but includes pericarditis, rheumatic diseases (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus), trauma, and blood from myocardial rupture. If an effusion worsens then the fluid can inhibit heart function and symptoms of cardiac tamponade appear. Treatment includes pericardiocentesis to drain the fluid, if necessary, and treatment of the underlying cause.
    • Pericardial tamponade – Tamponade is a medical emergency resulting from accumulation of fluid in the pericardium that inhibits heart function. Tamponade is a consequence of the fibrous pericardium being too inelastic to permit adequate heart expansion during diastole. The classic finding is pulsus paradoxus as well as Beck’s triad (low arterial blood pressure, distended neck veins, & soft heart sounds). Treatment is supportive until in a hospital where pericardiocentesis or a pericardial window can be performed to drain the fluid.

Disorders of the heart valves

Congenital heart defects

Diseases of blood vessels

  • Diseases of blood vessels – diseases of the blood vessels can be multidisciplinary in nature. For example, medical treatment of atherosclerosis tends to be managed by cardiologists while vascular surgery repairs aneurysms and stenotic arteries.
    • Atherosclerosis – Thickening of an arterial wall due to increased cholesterol and macrophages (see above).
    • Aneurysm – Balloon-like bulging of arteries (also possible of the heart: see ventricular aneurysm above).
    • Aortic dissection – Dissection along the length of the aorta between the layers of the aortic wall. Dissection of the ascending aorta (type A) is a surgical emergency while dissection of the descending aorta (type B) can possibly be managed medically. Dissection of the ascending aorta is an emergency because dissection may interrupt coronary blood flow and blood flow to the brain, neither of which tolerate ischemia particularly well.
    • Aortic rupture – Frank rupture of the aorta is often fatal from internal bleeding. Rupture of the aorta can occur at the sites of aneurysm, but is also due to trauma and results in a traumatic aortic rupture.
    • Carotid artery – Diseases of the carotid arteries:
    • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) – Formation of a thrombus in a deep vein, commonly in the legs that may break loose, travel to the lungs, and occlude blood flow (pulmonary embolism) sufficient to interrupt oxygenation to the body.
    • Traveller’s thrombosis / economy class syndrome: A DVT due to being sedentary during air travel.
    • Microangiopathy – Disease of capillaries in which the walls become thick and weak, and result in bleeding and decreased blood flow. One very common cause is diabetes mellitus in which microangiopathy results in diabetic nephropathydiabetic retinopathy, and diabetic neuropathy.
    • Varicose veins – Veins that have become enlarged and tortuous with failed valves, commonly in the legs. Vericose veins have cosmetic concerns, but they may become painful. Surgery and sclerotherapy are two options for treating varicose veins.
    • Vasculitis – Inflammation of blood vessels (veins & arteries) with a long list of causes.
      • Aortitis – Inflammation of the aorta that can be seen in giant cell arteritispolymyalgia rheumaticarheumatoid arthritissyphilis and Takayasu’s arteritis.
      • Behçet’s disease – Affects small-sized vessels that often initially presents with oral aphthous ulcers, genital ulcers and uveitis, and can be fatal from ruptured aneurysms. Pericarditis is commonly seen with Behçet’s.
      • Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA; formerly known as Churg-Strauss syndrome) – Affects small- & medium-sized vessels that often affects lungs, kidneys, & heart in those with a history of airway allergic hypersensitivity and p-ANCA antibodies.
      • Giant-cell arteritis (GCA) / Temporal arteritis – Affects medium- & large-sized vessels of the head, typically branches of the external carotid artery and namely the temporal artery. Occlusion of the ophthalmic artery results in blindness. Suspicion of GCA necessitates immediate treatment with glucocorticoids and temporal artery biopsy.
      • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) – Affects small- & medium-sized vessels that often affects the lung & kidneys (RPGN) with classic saddle nose and c-ANCA antibodies.
      • IgA vasculitis (IgAV; formerly known as Henoch-Schönlein purpura) – Affects small-sized vessels and produces palpable purpura and proteinuria from immunocomplex (IgA) deposition.
      • Kawasaki disease – Affects medium-sized vessels mostly seen in young children with myocarditis, & pericarditis, and is the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children (results in coronary artery aneurysms). Myocardial infarction from coronary thrombosis is the most common cause of death from Kawasaki disease.
      • Thromboangiitis obliterans – Affects small- & medium-sized vessels that is strongly associated with tobacco products. Pain, diminished pulses, gangrene and eventual amputation of affected hands and feet.

Risk and prevention heart diseases

Prevention is essential!

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading deaths among many countries. Therefore it is important to understand how to prevent them.

Lifestyle risk factors

Small, healthy changes in your daily routine can lower your risk of heart disease.

Risk factors you can’t control:


Your risk of heart disease and stroke increases after menopause… In fact, most women across the country have at least one risk factor associated with heart disease and stroke. Women who have diabetes, those from certain ethnic groups, and those going through the menopause are at even greater risk.


The risk of heart diseases increases with age.

Family and medical history

Your risk is higher if one of your close relatives has had heart disease at a young age.

Personal situation

Your personal situation and environmental factors influence your health. These are conditions like accessibility to healthy food, clean water, health care and social services.

Preventing heart diseases

Set a goal that will inspire you to be healthier. These are some examples:

Eat healthy

Eating a healthy diet, that is, eating a balanced diet, is one of the most effective ways to protect your health. Vegetables and fruits contain a lot of nutrients. Aim for 7 to 10 servings each day.

Your diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by:

  • improving your cholesterol level;
  • lowering your blood pressure;
  • helping you manage your weight;
  • controlling your blood sugar levels.

Prevention of heart disease by eating healthy

Many vegetables and fruits are particularly rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A. These substances act as antioxidants in your body and help slow or prevent atherosclerosis by reducing the build-up of plaque formed by cholesterol and other substances inside the arteries. The great champions of vitamin C are:

  • broccoli;
  • red pepper;
  • the strawberry;
  • oranges;
  • kiwis;
  • cantaloupe.

Beta-carotene gives foods a distinctive red, orange or dark green color, so it’s easy to identify the best sources, such as:

  • the carrot;
  • tomatoes;
  • squash;
  • pink grapefruit;
  • sweet potato;
  • Swiss chard.

Plus, almost all vegetables and fruits are low in calories, fat, and sodium. In fact, research shows that eating high vegetables and fruit is associated with maintaining a healthy weight.

A good source of fiber

Eating vegetables and fruits is an excellent source of fiber. When possible, eat the peel as well, as it increases your daily fiber intake. For example, a raw apple with its peel contains 10 times more fiber than 250 ml (1 cup) of apple juice.

Fresh and frozen products

Frozen or canned vegetables and fruits have about the same nutritional value as fresh ones. When buying canned or frozen fruit, look for products without syrup or added sugar. So fruit canned in water is the best option.

In order to retain as many nutrients as possible, the best cooking methods are steaming, roasting, or broiling. If you are using canned vegetables, look for varieties with no added salt or rinse them under running water to remove most of the added salt.

Protein can be obtained from several different sources, including:
  • legumes;
  • nuts;
  • seeds;
  • tofu;
  • fortified soy beverages;
  • Fish;
  • seafood;
  • eggs;
  • Poultry;
  • lean red meats, including game;
  • low fat milk;
  • low fat yogurts;
  • low-fat kefir;
  • cheeses low in fat and salt;
  • some grains.

When choosing your protein sources, it’s important to aim for variety. Aim to have at least two servings of fish each week and consume beans, lentils, and tofu on a regular basis. When buying meat, take it lean and go for servings of around 110 g (4 oz), which is the size of your palm.

Keep fit

To maintain a healthy heart, a little physical activity is very beneficial. Here are some tips for moving.

Exercise is the closest approach to the fountain of youth for anyone seeking eternal youth. Regular physical activity can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, stay in shape, slow down the physical decline that accompanies aging, sleep better, reduce stress levels… and much more!

Try to be physically active every day. Walk to work, take a lunch break from being physically active, or take a walk after dinner. If you make activity part of your routine, you’ll find that it becomes easy and fun, and you don’t feel like you’re wasting time doing it.

Choose activities that you enjoy. This way, it’s more likely that you won’t give up. If you hate gyms, walk the hiking trails, garden, golf, or sign up for yoga classes.

Reduce stress

Managing stress will help you feel better every day and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Stress can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, and lead to depression or anxiety. It is therefore important that you are able to recognize and deal with your stress.

Healthy weight

Adopt healthy habits and a healthy weight – for life.

Controlling your weight doesn’t necessarily mean changing your lifestyle at all. Take it in small steps, set small, realistic goals for yourself, and then build from there. A small steady weight loss of 1 or 2 pound (½ to 1 kg) per week is easier to achieve and healthier for your heart than a large and sudden loss. Studies also show that you will be less likely to regain that lost weight.

Diseases | List of Diseases: dermatological, cardiovascular, respiratory, cancer, eye, genetic, infectious, mental illness, rare

Information: Cleverly Smart is not a substitute for a doctor. Always consult a doctor to treat your health condition.

Sources: PinterPandai, World Health Organization, Web MD, NHS UK, American Heart Association, Pan American Health Organization, Mayo Clinic

Photo credit (main picture): Wellcome Collection (Public Domain Mark 1.0)


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