The CDC reports someone in the United States has a heart attack every 34 seconds. That means at least two people have a heart attack every minute! This installment, part 3, section C, provides more causes for this phenomenon.
An important cause for heart disease comes from your heart’s valves. They’re there to make sure the blood flows through your heart in only one direction without backing up. The four main valves are: the tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral (bicuspid), and aortic.
Your valves can become diseased, causing life-altering effects. The causes of this anomaly are the result of several things. They include damage from other illnesses (i.e. rheumatic fever), connective tissue disorders, particular cancer medications or radiation treatments, and congenital. Although it’s rare, another is endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of your heart’s valves and chambers.
Heart failure is another cause. It’s a condition more common than most realize. It can develop suddenly, sometimes without warning. Usually a chronic (long term) disorder, it happens because your heart can’t pump enough blood to the rest of your body. There are four main types: congestive, left side, right side, and end stage. Both sides can be affected at the same time.
Congestive heart failure occurs when your heart is too weak to pump the blood properly throughout your system. That can cause backed-up fluid to gather in other parts of your body. It appears in organs or extremities, i.e. your gastrointestinal tract, lungs, liver, and/or arms and legs.
Mostly, right and left-side heart failure comes from coronary artery disease. Other contributors include uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart attack, heart valve disease, infections, arrhythmia, and congenital heart disease. Additional culprits are emphysema, acute anemia, under-active thyroid, and/or too much iron in the body.
Heart failure symptoms can begin either slowly or quickly, whether you’re active or resting. Some of them include severe fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, cough, fast or irregular pulse/heartbeat, swollen feet or ankles, shortness of breath, and frequent night-time urination.
End-stage heart failure is severe, when most ordinary treatments no longer work. This is when your healthcare provider discusses with you and family members the options of a transplant or comfort (palliative) care.
Heart disease is an equal-opportunity condition. It knows no restrictions by age, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, or region. Its consequences are dire. That’s why it’s so important to know about every facet of this killer.