Conditions

Angina is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. It is a symptom of coronary artery disease.

Angina, which may also be called angina pectoris, is often described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in your chest. Some people with angina symptoms describe angina as feeling like a vise is squeezing their chest or feeling like a heavy weight has been placed on their chest. Angina may be a new pain that needs evaluation by a doctor, or recurring pain that goes away with treatment.

Although angina is relatively common, it can still be hard to distinguish from other types of chest pain, such as the pain or discomfort of indigestion. If you have unexplained chest pain, seek medical attention right away.

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An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge that occurs in the wall of the major blood vessel (aorta) that carries blood from your heart to your body. Aortic aneurysms can occur anywhere in your aorta and may be tube-shaped (fusiform) or round (saccular).

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An aortic dissection is a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears. Blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate (dissect). If the blood-filled channel ruptures through the outside aortic wall, aortic dissection is often fatal.

Aortic dissection is relatively uncommon. The condition most frequently occurs in men in their 60s and 70s. Symptoms of aortic dissection may mimic those of other diseases, often leading to delays in diagnosis. However, when an aortic dissection is detected early and treated promptly, the chance of survival greatly improves.

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Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heartbeats don’t work properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly.

Heart arrhythmias (uh-RITH-me-uhs) may feel like a fluttering or racing heart and may be harmless. However, some heart arrhythmias may cause bothersome — sometimes even life-threatening — signs and symptoms.

Heart arrhythmia treatment can often control or eliminate fast, slow or irregular heartbeats. In addition, because troublesome heart arrhythmias are often made worse — or are even caused — by a weak or damaged heart, you may be able to reduce your arrhythmia risk by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle.

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Arteriosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in your arteries can harden, a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls (plaque), which can restrict blood flow.

The plaque can burst, triggering a blood clot. Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in your body. Atherosclerosis may be preventable and is treatable.

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Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications.

During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly — out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms often include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness.

Episodes of atrial fibrillation can come and go, or you may develop atrial fibrillation that doesn’t go away and may require treatment. Although atrial fibrillation itself usually isn’t life-threatening, it is a serious medical condition that sometimes requires emergency treatment.

It may lead to complications. Atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots forming in the heart that may circulate to other organs and lead to blocked blood flow (ischemia).

Treatments for atrial fibrillation may include medications and other interventions to try to alter the heart’s electrical system.

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Cardiogenic shock is a condition in which your heart suddenly can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. The condition is most often caused by a severe heart attack, but not everyone who has a heart attack has cardiogenic shock.

Cardiogenic shock is rare, but it’s often fatal if not treated immediately. If treated immediately, about half the people who develop the condition survive.

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Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.

The main types of cardiomyopathy include dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathy. Treatment — which might include medications, surgically implanted devices or, in severe cases, a heart transplant — depends on which type of cardiomyopathy you have and how serious it is.

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Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty deposits (plaques) clog the blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain and head (carotid arteries). The blockage increases your risk of stroke, a medical emergency that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or seriously reduced.

Stroke deprives your brain of oxygen. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. Stroke is the most common cause of death and the leading cause of permanent disability in the U.S.

Carotid artery disease develops slowly. The first sign that you have the condition may be a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A TIA is a temporary shortage of blood flow to your brain.

Treatment of carotid artery disease usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medication and sometimes surgery.

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Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that causes blood to pool or collect in the leg’s veins, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs. This pooling is also known as ‘stasis’

Congenital heart disease (congenital heart defect) is one or more abnormalities in your heart’s structure that you’re born with. This most common of birth defects can alter the way blood flows through your heart. Defects range from simple, which might cause no problems, to complex, which can cause life-threatening complications.

Advances in diagnosis and treatment mean most babies who once died of congenital heart disease survive well into adulthood. However, signs and symptoms of the condition can occur in adults later in life, even those who had treatment as a child.

If you have congenital heart disease you might need care throughout your life. Check with your doctor to determine how often you should be seen as an adult.

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Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.

When plaque builds up, it narrows your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. Eventually, the decreased blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.

Because coronary artery disease often develops over decades, you might not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. But there’s plenty you can do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. A healthy lifestyle can make a big impact.

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Coronary calcification refers to the build-up of calcified plaque within the walls of the coronary arteries. This can identify early stage of atherosclerosis (build-up of plaque in the arteries) and coronary artery disease.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but also can occur with no symptoms.

Deep vein thrombosis can develop if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. It can also happen if you don’t move for a long time, such as after surgery or an accident, or when you’re confined to bed.

Deep vein thrombosis can be very serious because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).

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Few sensations are as frightening as not being able to get enough air. Shortness of breath — known medically as dyspnea — is often described as an intense tightening in the chest, air hunger or a feeling of suffocation.

Very strenuous exercise, extreme temperatures, massive obesity and high altitude all can cause shortness of breath in a healthy person. Outside of these examples, shortness of breath is likely a sign of a medical problem.

If you have unexplained shortness of breath, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, see your doctor as soon as possible

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Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness. Though temporary, fainting can mean a more serious condition. You may injure yourself when you lose consciousness. Vasovagal syncope is a common cause of fainting. It occurs when your body overreacts to certain triggers, for example, the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. The blockage is most often a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries).

The plaque eventually breaks away and forms a clot. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal, but treatment has improved dramatically over the years. It’s crucial to call 911 or emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.

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Heart failure, sometimes known as congestive heart failure, occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Certain conditions, such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave your heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently.

Not all conditions that lead to heart failure can be reversed, but treatments can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure and help you live longer. Lifestyle changes — such as exercising, reducing sodium in your diet, managing stress and losing weight — can improve your quality of life.

One way to prevent heart failure is to prevent and control conditions that cause heart failure, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity.

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Heart murmurs are sounds during your heartbeat cycle — such as whooshing or swishing — made by turbulent blood in or near your heart. These sounds can be heard with a stethoscope. A normal heartbeat makes two sounds like “lubb-dupp” (sometimes described as “lub-DUP”), which are the sounds of your heart valves closing.

Heart murmurs can be present at birth (congenital) or develop later in life. A heart murmur isn’t a disease — but murmurs may indicate an underlying heart problem.

Often, heart murmurs are harmless (innocent) and don’t need treatment. Some heart murmurs may require follow-up tests to be sure the murmur isn’t caused by a serious underlying heart condition. Treatment, if needed, is directed at the cause of your heart murmur.

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Heart palpitations (pal-pih-TAY-shuns) are the feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart. Stress, exercise, medication or, rarely, a medical condition can trigger them.

Although heart palpitations can be worrisome, they’re usually harmless. In rare cases, they can be a symptom of a more serious heart condition, such as an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), which might require treatment.

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In heart valve disease, one or more of the valves in your heart doesn’t work properly.

Your heart has four valves that keep blood flowing in the correct direction. In some cases, one or more of the valves don’t open or close properly. This can cause the blood flow through your heart to your body to be disrupted.

Your heart valve disease treatment depends on the heart valve affected and the type and severity of the valve disease. Sometimes heart valve disease requires surgery to repair or replace the heart valve.

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Cholesterol is a waxy substance that’s found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.

When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.

High cholesterol can be inherited, but it’s often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, and thus preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can go a long way toward reducing high cholesterol.

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High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.

You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

High blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.

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Infective endocarditis is an infection in the heart’s lining or valve. If it is left untreated, it can cause valve damage or heart failure.

Leg swelling can occur in any part of the legs, including the feet, ankles, calves and thighs. Leg swelling can result either from fluid buildup (fluid retention) or from inflammation in injured or diseased tissues or joints.

Many of the causes of leg swelling, such as an injury or prolonged standing or sitting, are easily identified. Sometimes leg swelling may be a sign of a more-serious disorder, such as heart disease or a blood clot.

Seek medical care right away when leg swelling occurs for no apparent reason or you also have difficulty breathing, chest pain or other warning signs of a blood clot in your lungs or a serious heart condition.

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Dizziness is a term used to describe a range of sensations, such as feeling faint, woozy, weak or unsteady. Dizziness that creates the false sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving is called vertigo.

Dizziness is one of the more common reasons adults visit their doctors. Frequent dizzy spells or constant dizziness can significantly affect your life. But dizziness rarely signals a life-threatening condition.

Treatment of dizziness depends on the cause and your symptoms. It’s usually effective, but the problem may recur.

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Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Having just one of these conditions doesn’t mean you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease. Having more than one of these might increase your risk even more.

If you have metabolic syndrome or any of its components, aggressive lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.

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Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) occurs when the leaflets of the mitral valve bulge (prolapse) into the heart’s left upper chamber (left atrium) like a parachute during the heart’s contraction.

Mitral (MY-trul) valve prolapse sometimes leads to blood leaking backward into the left atrium, a condition called mitral valve regurgitation.

In most people, mitral valve prolapse isn’t life-threatening and doesn’t require treatment or changes in lifestyle. Some people with mitral valve prolapse, however, require treatment.

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Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the pericardium, the thin saclike membrane surrounding your heart. Pericarditis often causes chest pain and sometimes other symptoms. The sharp chest pain associated with pericarditis occurs when the irritated layers of the pericardium rub against each other.

Pericarditis usually begins suddenly but doesn’t last long (acute). When symptoms develop more gradually or persist, pericarditis is considered chronic.

Most cases are mild and usually improve on their own. Treatment for more-severe cases may include medications and, rarely, surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment may help to reduce the risk of long-term complications from pericarditis.

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Peripheral artery disease (also called peripheral arterial disease) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs.

When you develop peripheral artery disease (PAD), your extremities — usually your legs — don’t receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand. This causes symptoms, most notably leg pain when walking (claudication).

Peripheral artery disease is also likely to be a sign of a more widespread accumulation of fatty deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition may be reducing blood flow to your heart and brain, as well as your legs.

You often can successfully treat peripheral artery disease by quitting tobacco, exercising and eating a healthy diet.

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Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs and the right side of your heart.

In one form of pulmonary hypertension, tiny arteries in your lungs, called pulmonary arterioles, and capillaries become narrowed, blocked or destroyed. This makes it harder for blood to flow through your lungs, and raises pressure within your lungs’ arteries. As the pressure builds, your heart’s lower right chamber (right ventricle) must work harder to pump blood through your lungs, eventually causing your heart muscle to weaken and fail.

Some forms of pulmonary hypertension are serious conditions that become progressively worse and are sometimes fatal. Although some forms of pulmonary hypertension aren’t curable, treatment can help lessen symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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Renovascular conditions harden or narrow the vessels that supply blood to the kidneys. This prevents them from correctly filtering wastes from your blood and to help regulate blood pressure.

The three most common renovascular conditions are:

  • Renal hypertension – high blood pressure in the kidney arteries
  • Renal artery stenosis – narrowing of the kidney arteries
  • Renal vein thrombosis – blockage of a kidney vein by a blood clot

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.

A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications.

The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented, and many fewer Americans die of stroke now than in the past.

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Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action, stopping blood flow to the rest of your body.

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked. However, a heart attack can sometimes trigger an electrical disturbance that leads to sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it causes sudden cardiac death. With fast, appropriate medical care, survival is possible. Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), treating with a defibrillator — or even just compressions to the chest — can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrive.

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