What is Heart Disease: Types, Causes, And Symptoms?

Heart disease is a condition that adversely affects heart health. It is also known as cardiovascular disease which is related to the heart to blood vessels. These conditions include coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems, genetic heart diseases, problems in heart muscle, heart attack, heart failure, valve disease, and unstable angina.

Heart-related diseases are the leading cause of death in many counties. Most heart diseases are connected with lifestyle and improving your lifestyle can prevent or reduce the effect of heart diseases. Like you just change your food types to reduce the symptoms, modern research has shown that consuming millet based food products in your diet can help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of heart disorders.

Types of Heart Diseases

There are many different types of heart diseases. They are grouped according to effect and function. Some heart diseases are by birth, which is known as congenital, while others are acquired during a change in lifestyle. Different types of heart diseases cause different effects and affect the heart and blood vessels in different ways. Some are very dangerous and can even cause death.

Coronary Heart Diseases

Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and is commonly known as coronary artery disease.

Coronary artery disease is caused when the arteries that supply blood to the heart are jammed with plaque. Plaque consists of cholesterol and other sticky substances which cause the arteries to shrink and jam.

Due to the jammed arteries, the blood supply is affected, and the heart is supplied with less oxygen and nutrients. The chances of heart failure and arrhythmias increase as the heart muscles are not functioning properly.

Atherosclerosis is caused when the arteries are surrounded by plaque. A complete blockage can be caused due to plaque. This further led to a stop in the blood flow and in the worst case a heart attack.

Congenital Heart Diseases

When a person is born with heart disease then it is called congenital heart disease. There are different types of congenital heart diseases: These diseases can affect the function of a person’s heart, and its working. They affect the blood flow in the entire body. The level of congenital heart disease can vary from mild to severe. The following are some of the conditions of congenital heart disease.

Atresia in which a heart valve is completely missing

Pulmonary atresia in which the valve is not formed which controls the blood flow from the lungs and heart

Atypical heart valve in which the blood leaks due to improper opening of the heart valve

Ventricular septal defect in which the two lower chambers of the heart are separated by a hole

The causes of congenital heart disease are not clear in many cases. Changes in the person’s genes and chromosomes can also cause these diseases. These diseases are not easily noticed and some become severe after some age of the individual.


Arrhythmia is caused by improper heartbeats. This disease results when the electrical waves that control the heartbeat are not in proper synchronization. This results in uneven heartbeats, i.e. either too fast or too slow. An irregular heartbeat causes an improper rate of heartbeat. While it is normal that the heart beats too fast during heavy physical activities or too slow during rest, but an uneven heartbeat rate at normal is bothersome.

There are various types of arrhythmias as the type and speed of the heartbeat. Below are the main types.

Tachycardia refers to a fast heartbeat in which the resting rate is more than 100 beats per minute.

Bradycardia refers to a slow heartbeat in which the resting rate is less than 60 beats per minute.

Premature contractions are caused by an early heartbeat.

Atrial fibrillation is a type of uneven heartbeat.

Arrhythmia may be caused when you feel like your heart rate is not normal and beating too fast or too slow and sometimes skip a heartbeat. In some cases, arrhythmias cause serious health effects.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the heart muscle is enlarged and dilated, which means that heart chambers become thin by stretching. There are many causes that can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy, but the common causes include heart attacks in the past, arrhythmia, toxins, and even genetics can be a cause that can lead to a dilated cardiomyopathy.

The symptoms can be just like the other diseases, other major symptoms include pausing in the breath and tiredness. The initial symptoms are not much noticeable, but they can even cause death in some cases. Dilated cardiomyopathy is one of the major causes of heart failure.

The chances of occurring dilated cardiomyopathy are more in men than in women.

Myocardial Infarction (MI)

Heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction (MI) can range from undetected to a major incident that can even cause death. Myocardial is caused by the complete or partial stop of the blood flow to a section known as the myocardial. They obstruct the flow of blood to the heart muscle.

Plaque or blood clots in the coronary artery is one of the main reasons for myocardial infarction or heart attack. Generally, they are accruing due to narrowing or contraction of the artery.

Obstruction is caused when a substance like fat or cholesterol is gathered in the blood vessels known as plagues. When time passes the plaques suddenly disappear, which causes a gap and allows the passage of platelets.

These platelets act as a blockage to the blood flow. The blood is gathered around the plague and causes disturb the blood flow.

When the blood flow is interrupted it may cause damage to the muscle of the heart. The damage and its effect may vary depending on the size of the blockage area. These can cause a very severe effect if the blood is not able to reach a particular part of the heart.

Heart failure

When the muscle of the heart is not effective in pumping the blood, heart failure results. Many times the blood is reverted and makes the fluid accumulate in the lungs and legs. This accumulation in the lungs and legs can cause swelling in the different parts of the body and difficulty in breathing. Further, if this continues then it may lead to the skin turning gray or light blue.

Sometimes this condition makes the heart condition so weak that it cannot function properly for pumping blood. Further, this causes thickening of the arteries in the heart and high blood pressure.

These symptoms can be overcome by modern treatments and may help the person to live a longer life. Some lifestyle changes like losing weight, regular exercise, using healthy food alternatives, and managing stress can also help to recover quickly.

Heart failure is also known as congestive heart failure and causes a life-threatening experience. There are several symptoms that can lead to the failure of the heart. In some cases, heart transplants or modern devices are required to help with the proper pumping of the heart.

Heart failure can be very complicated and cause severe effects if not handled properly, but if it is identified at an early stage it can prevent many serious issues.

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the muscle in the heart is swollen. This swollen heart muscle causes it difficult for the heart to pump blood.

A lot of time hypertrophic cardiomyopathy often goes undiagnosed because a lot of time there are few or no symptoms visible. While some of the symptoms that are visible in some patients due to swollen heart muscles include difficulty in breathing, pain in chest, irregular heartbeat, and a switch in the electrical system of the heart, and in the worst case it can even lead to death.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is generally caused due to exchange in the genes which causes the heart muscle to be swollen.

The muscular wall that is present between the two chambers of the heart on the bottom side is negatively affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The blood that flows out of the heart may be completely or partially blocked by the swollen wall, which is called obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy causes a change in the heart muscle cells, also known as myofiber disarray, in some people. This leads to arrhythmias in some people.

If any of the family members are suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, then one should test as soon as possible. Early treatment in such situations can prevent severe damage.

According to AHA hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is one of the main causes of cardiac death among young people and athletes who are under 35.

Mitral valve regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the valve in the left chamber of the heart is not able to close effectively, this leads to a leak of blood in the backside of the valve. It is the most common valvular heart disease or heart disease in the valve. This may sometimes cause serious effects as the blood leakage may increase and reduce the amount of blood flow in the heart and the rest of the body. This causes a person to feel dull or short of breath.

Mitral valve regurgitation is less effective in the starting stage but as time passes symptoms may increase. Many cases suffering from mitral valve regurgitation might not have any visible symptoms for years.

But in some situations, the progression of the mitral valve regurgitation is very fast. This led to sudden increases in the symptoms and is called acute mitral valve regurgitation. Heart murmur or the voice of blood flow through the valve, uneven heartbeat, shorten breath while lying down, fast or slow heartbeat, and bloated legs are the common symptoms of the Mitral valve regurgitation.

Mitral valve regurgitation results when the martial valve inside the heart is not properly closed and results in blood flowing backward. The backward flow of the blood leads to ineffective flow of the blood through the heart and the body and also negatively affects the chambers of the heart. This may lead to failure of the heart due to swollen heart.

Mitral Valve Prolapse

Mitral valve prolapse is a heart condition that affects the valve located in the middle of the left heart chamber. The leaflets of the valve are loose. They move backward like a balloon in the left chamber of the heart when the heart is contracted.

Mitral valve prolapse sometimes leads to the backward flow of blood across the valve, which is called mitral valve regurgitation.

Many times the mitral valve prolapse is not severe and may not require going through many treatments. But when the prolapse causes a large amount of regurgitation, it may require proper treatment or in some cases, surgery.

This condition results when the mitral valve is not properly functional. They are stuck in the left atrium, which leads to a heart murmur. Connecting tissue disorders or genetic factors can lead to this problem.

Aortic Valve Stenosis

Aortic valve stenosis, also known as aortic stenosis, is a type of valvular heart disease. In this, the value in the middle of the main body artery and the left heart chamber is slender and unable to open properly. This blocks the flow of the blood to the heart and rest of the body.

The severity of aortic valve stenosis varies and the treatment is suggested accordingly. If the condition is left untreated then it may lead to worsen the effect and even cause death in the worst condition.

The symptoms of aortic valve stenosis vary from mild to severe. When the valves are slender to severe extents then the symptoms are seen on a large scale. There are many cases where patients have very few or no symptoms for a longer period of time.

Irregular heart beats, tiredness, pain in chest, gap in the breath, unable to gain weight properly, and unable to perform heavy physical work are few symptoms of the aortic valve stenosis.

In aortic valve stenosis, the valve in the heart is swollen and not able to function properly which makes it difficult for the blood to flow into the heart.

Many people suffer due to the deposit of calcium in the valve or sometimes a person is born with this abnormal condition.

Causes of Heart Disease

The symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the type of heart disease. Also, as we saw above, there are many different types of heart diseases.

Before understanding the cause of heart disease, let us first try to understand what exactly is the heart and how it functions.

In simple ways, the heart is a muscle located in the center of the circulation system. It is divided into two parts, the upper and lower chambers. The blood vessels or pulmonary arteries on the right side of the heart transfer the blood to the lungs from the heart. The pulmonary vein then moves the oxygen from the lungs to the left side of the heart. From there the blood is circulated in the rest of the body.

Heart Valves

There are four valves in the heart i.e. aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid. The function of these valves is to move the blood in the body effectively. The valves are one-way and open as and when required. They must open properly and close tightly, so there is no leakage of other parts.


A heart beats in a continuous cycle i.e. contracts and relaxes. During the contraction, the blood flows toward the lungs and the other part of the body. The heart is filled with blood during the relaxation with the help of the ventricles.

Electrical System

The heart keeps beating with the help of an electrical system. There is the continuous replacement of oxygen-rich blood with less-oxygen blood which is controlled by the heartbeat. The continuity of this process is essential for the life of a person.

The electrical signal in the system travels from the upper right chamber to the lower chambers, which tells the heart to function properly.

Causes of Coronary Artery Disease

The most common reason for coronary artery disease is an accumulation of plaques in the arteries. The factors that lead to making the symptoms more severe include poor lifestyle, lack of physical activity, being overweight, and smoking. A healthy lifestyle and proper diet may help to reduce the symptoms of coronary artery disease.

Causes of Irregular Heartbeat

There are many causes that can lead to an irregular heartbeat. Emotional stress, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, drinking, unhealthy diet, congenital heart problems, stress or anxiety, sleep apnea, blockage in the heart, over medication without a prescription, change in the structure of the heart due to cardiomyopathy, or drug addiction.

Causes of Congenital Heart Diseases

Congenital heart diseases occur before the birth of a child or during development in the womb of a mother. After some time of conception, the baby’s heart develops. During this time, congenital heart disease occurs which changes the flow of blood in the heart. The risk associated with congenital heart diseases increases with the use of certain medications and medical conditions and genes.

Heart Infection Causes

Microbes when they reach your heart or heart valve can cause infection in the heart. This can cause heavy destruction to your heart. Heart infections are generally caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi.

Heart Valve Disorder Causes

The heart valves can lead to ineffective functioning due to various reasons. Some heart valve disorders are congenital while others are developed by external factors. Some of the causes that can lead to heart valve disorder include rheumatic fever, infections, and tissue connective diseases.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

The symptoms of heart disease vary according to the type of heart disease. Some of the common symptoms include heartburn, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, vomiting, incomplete breath, and chest pain.

Symptoms of Blood Vessel Heart Disease

The blood vessels that supply blood to the heart are commonly affected by the coronary artery. The plaques are deposited in the arteries which leads to coronary artery disorder. This collection of the plaques in the arteries is called atherosclerosis. Check pain or stroke may lead due to blockage in the blood flow to the heart and other parts.

Symptoms of blood vessel heart disease may vary in men and women. Men are more prone to chest pain while females are more prone to incomplete breath, and tiredness.

Congenital Heart Disorder Symptoms

Many times the symptoms of congenital heart disorders are not noticeable at an early stage but after a few types, you can see these symptoms as they start increasing. A few symptoms that start appearing at the time of the birth of the child include gray or blue color skin or lips, inflammation in the legs or in other parts of the body, and irregular breathing in the infant during feeding that causes poor weight gain.

Heart Muscle Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms at the early stage of heart muscle disorder are not much noticeable but as the condition gets worse, there are many symptoms that are seen. The symptoms include tiredness, headaches, irregular breath, and feeling of uneven breath during physical activities and during sleeping and awakening, quick and slow heartbeat, swollen leg and body parts, and fainting.

Heart Valve Disorders Symptoms

As discussed earlier, there are four valves in the heart, i.e. tricuspid, mitral, aortic, and pulmonary. Their function is to timely close and open for the proper movement of the blood. The valve may sometimes shrink, leak, or function improperly. These may lead to tiredness, chest pain, improper heartbeat, swollen legs, improper heartbeats, and fainting. The inner lining is also caused by an infection called endocarditis in the valve and the chamber of the heart. This may include symptoms like tiredness, spots or rashes on the skin, changes in the heartbeat, improper breath, fever and cold, dry cough, and swelling in the leg and other parts of the body.


If you are already suffering from the symptoms that are mentioned above, you can seek help from a professional and change your lifestyle for effective solutions. If you find some severe symptoms like pain in check, short breathing or uneven breathing, or fainting, you should immediately consult an expert. Remember to call 102 if you think that you or anyone around you is having a heart attack.

If you find that you are suffering from heart disease at an early stage it will be easy for you to treat it effectively. Talk to an expert if you have any concerns regarding heart health.