Heart disease is as described, diseases of the heart. There are many kinds of heart disease that affect children and adults including coronary artery disease (most common), valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease (problems of the heart that infants are born with) and heart muscle disease. All of the above listed heart diseases affect how the heart normally works.
Heart disease can go unnoticed for a long time or it can cause various symptoms. Children born with heart problems may be fussy, not well fed, or have a bluish color to their skin. Their pediatrician may hear abnormal sounds when their heart is listened to with a stethoscope. The most common symptoms in adults are:
· Tightening in the chest
· Chest pain
· Shortness of breath
· Rapid or Slow heart rate
· Overall fatigue
· Stomach pain and nausea
· Shoulder, arm or jaw pain
If someone is experiencing these symptoms, they should get help from a doctor. If the symptoms are severe, do not delay and call 911. Doctors can do many different types of tests to look for heart disease like chest x-rays, EKGs, stress tests, echocardiogram and heart catherization. Since there are so many different types of heart disease, it would not be possible to discuss all the types of tests and treatments available.
Heart disease in adults is somewhat preventable. It can be directly affected by high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, an unhealthy diet, a lack of exercise and smoking. Since prevention is our best method of stopping heart disease, this is where we should focus. If you think you may have heart disease, see your doctor (immediately if you are having active symptoms). Even if you do not have heart disease, practice prevention by eating healthy, exercising and not smoking.
Check the American Heart Association in your area. They often have great information that is presented in an easy to understand manner.
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