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  Heart Disease: An Overview

The most deadly disease in the United States today is heart disease. This sometimes silent killer will eventually cause two out of every five Americans to die. The symptoms of heart disease can vary, as can their severity. However, it is important to catch this disease in its early stages if treatment is to be successful.

Although the rate of death due to heart disease is high, it has been decreasing slowly since the 1960s. One study estimates that the rate has decreased by about 40 percent since 1960. This is good news for the thousands of Americans heart disease affects each year. Although these are still startling statistics, improvements in medical care and developments in technology are slowly reducing the toll that heart disease takes.

Heart disease is a blanket term for the different types of illnesses that can affect the heart. Below is a sampling of the different types of disease one may suffer when diagnosed with heart disease:

Coronary Artery Disease is one of the most prevalent types of heart disease. Coronary artery disease results from blockages in blood flow to the coronary arteries, which are the main sources of oxygen to the heart muscle. This can also result from a hardening of the arteries, which is also called atherosclerosis. Coronary artery disease can lead to episodes of angina, heart attack, or even death.

Heart Failure can be the result of coronary artery disease. However, it can also result from a number of other factors including high blood pressure and various other diseases. Heart failure simply means that the heart does not work as well in pumping out vital blood to other parts of the body.

Pericardial Disease is a disease of the pericardium, which is the sac that surrounds the heart. This can be caused by a viral infection, other disease, or may result as a complication after heart surgery.

Congenital Heart Disease is a disease resulting from the malformation of the heart during prenatal development and can result in a number of serious complications.

There are a number of other diseases that can affect the heart. Because heart disease impacts so many Americans, it is useful to be aware of all of them.