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Diseases

Coronary Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women.

CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. This buildup is called atherosclerosis. As it grows, less blood can flow through the arteries. As a result, the heart muscle can't get the blood or oxygen it needs. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot suddenly cuts off the hearts' blood supply, causing permanent heart damage.

Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias. Heart failure means the heart can't pump blood well to the rest of the body. Arrhythmias are changes in the normal beating rhythm of the heart.

Peripheral artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) refers to arterial disease that occurs outside of the heart or brain. In PAD, arteries become narrowed or blocked, usually as a result of atherosclerosis or plaque. It most commonly affects the arteries in the legs.

Vascular ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound, catheter angiography, CT angiography (CTA), or MR angiography (MRA) may be used to help evaluate your condition. Your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes to treat your condition. Bypass surgery or interventional procedures such as angioplasty, catheter-directed thrombolysis or atherectomy may be used to help improve blood flow.

Arterial Fibrillation

Normally, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat irregularly (quiver) instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles.

If a clot breaks off, enters the bloodstream and lodges in an artery leading to the brain, a stroke results. About 15–20 percent of people who have strokes have this heart arrhythmia. This clot risk is why patients with this condition are put on blood thinners.

Even though untreated atrial fibrillation doubles the risk of heart-related deaths and is associated with a 5-fold increased risk for stroke, many patients are unaware that AFib is a serious condition.

Supraventricular tachycardia

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), also called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia, is defined as an abnormally fast heartbeat. It's a broad term that includes many forms of heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) that originate above the ventricles (supraventricular) in the atria or AV node.

A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute is called a tachycardia (tak-ih-KAHR-dee-uh). This occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heartbeats don't work properly. It may feel like a fluttering or racing heart.

Most people with rare episodes of supraventricular tachycardia live healthy lives without restrictions or interventions. For others, treatment and lifestyle changes can often control or eliminate rapid heartbeats.

Ventricular Tachycardia

Ventricular tachycardia is a very fast heart rhythm that begins in the ventricles. The ventricles are the two lower chambers of the heart. They fill with blood from the atria, or top chambers of the heart, and send it to the rest of the body. Ventricular tachycardia is a pulse of more than 100 beats per minute with at least three irregular heartbeats in a row. It is caused by a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system.

Your heart rate is controlled by electrical impulses that trigger each contraction and determine the rhythm of the heart. When this process is disrupted and the electrical signals are sent too quickly, ventricular tachycardia can occur. The rapid heartbeat doesn’t give the ventricles enough to time to fill with blood before the heart contracts. As a result, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

Ventricular tachycardia may only last for a few seconds or for much longer. It doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when symptoms do occur, they may include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. The condition most commonly affects people who have heart disorders, such as coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy.

Ventricular tachycardia may eventually lead to ventricular fibrillation, which is characterized by a rapid, inadequate heart rhythm. In this condition, the heartbeat is so fast and irregular that it causes the heart to stop working. To prevent this complication from occurring, it’s important to get immediate treatment for ventricular tachycardia.

Hypertension

Hypertension is defined as blood pressure above 130/80, and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.

High blood pressure often has no symptoms. Over time, if untreated, it can cause health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.

Eating a healthier diet with less salt, exercising regularly, and taking medications can help lower blood pressure.

Hypercholesterolemia

High cholesterol can limit blood flow, increasing risk of heart attack or stroke. It's detected by a blood test.

High cholesterol has no symptoms.

Treatments include medications, a healthy diet, and exercise.

Abdominal Aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. The aorta, about the thickness of a garden hose, runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen.

Because the aorta is the body's main supplier of blood, a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.