ANGINA: (Angina pectoris) Chest pain caused when heart muscle doesn't receive enough oxygen.

ARRHYTHMIA: A general term for an abnormal beating of the heart. Irregular heartbeats do not always indicate heart disease. See Symptoms of Arrhythmias. Also see Atrial Flutter, Atrial Fibrillation, Ventricular Fibrillation , Ventricular Premature Beat , and Ventricular Tachycardia

ATRIAL FLUTTER: Abnormal beats occur in the Atrium (One of the 4 chambers of the heart). Pulse is rapid, but generally regular.

ATRIAL FIBRILLATION: Heartbeats in the Atrium are very rapid and out of rhythm. Pulse is irregular.

AORTIC VALVE REGURGITATION: Leakage through the aortic valve in between heartbeats. If the aortic valve does not close properly, blood seeps back into the left ventricular chamber. Causes include rheumatic fever, syphilis, and inherited connective tissue disease. The characteristic heart murmur is usually easy to hear with a stethoscope. The backflow of blood can cause damage to the heart muscle, which may require replacement of the defective aortic valve.

AORTIC VALVE STENOSIS: Blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta is restricted due to a narrowing of the aortic valve. The obstruction can be a result of aging, rheumatic fever, or birth defects. It may be severe enough to cause dizziness, shortness of breath, unconsciousness, or even sudden death. Severe aortic stenosis requires replacement of the defective aortic valve.

ARTERIOSCLEROSIS: A disease in which the wall of an artery has become thicker, and has lost some elasticity.

ATHEROSCLEROSIS: This disease is the most common form of ARTERIOSCLEROSIS. It is caused by fatty material accumulating under the inner lining of the wall of an artery. Patches of thickening, often referred to as plaque, continue filling with materials such as cholesterol. The arteries lose elasticity, continue narrowing and collect calcium deposits. Atherosclerosis can affect the heart, brain, kidneys, other organs, arms and legs. When it develops in the coronary arteries, the arteries that supply the heart, it often causes a Heart Attack. If Atherosclerosis develops in the carotid arteries, the arteries that supply the brain, it may cause a stroke.

CARDIAC ARREST: The heart stops beating.

CARDIOMYOPATHY: affects the function of the muscular wall ventricles (the two lower chambers of the heart). Various other diseases cause this condition.

CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE: The flow of blood in a coronary artery is obstructed due to an accumulation of deposits along the artery's wall. This is the major cause of cardiovascular disease. See ATHEROSCLEROSIS

CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE: The heart does not pump enough blood to provide sufficient oxygen and nutrients. Over a period of months or years, as a result of all of the extra work it has to do, the heart enlarges. This disease is caused by many other diseases: hypertension, coronary artery disease, leaking heart valves, myocarditis, diabetes, etc.

EMBOLISM: A blood clot, after forming in a vein, artery, or heart, breaks away. It lodges somewhere else, obstructing the flow of blood. It can cause a stroke (cerebral embolism), heart attack, kidney infarction, etc., depending on where the flow of blood is obstructed.

ENDOCARDITIS: Inflammation of the interior lining of the heart, usually caused by a bacterial infection. It can cause extensive damage to the heart valves, is often life threatening, and requires hospitalization.

HEART ATTACK: (Myocardial infarction) Blood supply to the heart is cut off, usually by a blood clot in a coronary artery, and heart muscle dies. A rarer cause is spasm in a coronary artery, sometimes caused by drugs such as cocaine.

HEART BLOCK: A delay in electrical conduction. First-degree heart block, not uncommon in well-trained athletes, does not need to be treated. Third-degree block usually requires the insertion of an artificial pacemaker.

HYPERTENSION (High Blood Pressure): If uncontrolled, hypertension can eventually cause heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure. To lower blood pressure.

MITRAL VALVE PROLAPSE: A heart has four chambers: right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium, left ventricle. The mitral valve is a one-way valve that consists of two flaps. This valve opens to allow blood to flow from the left atrium into the left ventricle. Then the mitral valve shuts to prevent blood from dropping back into the left atrium. A mitral valve prolapse occurs if one or both of the flaps do not close properly each time the heart pumps. Sometimes some blood leaks backward through the valve.

MITRAL VALVE STENOSIS: A narrowing of the mitral valve opening, which interferes with the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle. If it was caused by rheumatic fever, the valve flaps are often partially fused together. It can also be caused by a blood clot, a tumor, and can be congenital.


PERICARDITIS: Inflammation of the pericardium, an exterior structure surrounding the outside of the heart. The onset of Acute Pericarditis can be sudden and painful.

SHOCK: Caused by very low blood pressure, possibly resulting from loss of blood or dehydration, heart failure, or sepsis. Is fatal if not promptly treated.

STROKE: (Cerebrovascular Accident) means some brain tissue has died because that part of the brain has not received a sufficient supply of oxygen. If either a blood clot or atherosclerosis has cut off the blood supply, then it is an ischemic stroke; if a blood vessel bursts causing blood to seep into brain tissue, then it is a hemorrhagic stroke.

SYNCOPE: (fainting) A sudden brief loss of consciousness, usually due to poor oxygen and nutrient supply to brain. Syncope can arise from a sudden drop in blood pressure.

VENTRICULAR FIBRILLATION: Is erratic electrical activity without contraction of the heart muscle. Ventricular Fibrillation is a major cause of cardiac arrest. Immediate treatment is required to prevent death.

VENTRICULAR PREMATURE BEAT: Heartbeat in the Ventricle starts too soon, and interferes with the normal rhythm. The next beat may be delayed making it feel as though a heartbeat was skipped.

VENTRICULAR TACHYCARDIA: A ventricular rate of at least 120 beats per minute, caused by abnormal electrical impulses originating in the ventricals. Victim usually has palpitations, shortness of breath, erratic heartbeat, weakness and fainting; the victim's body does not receive enough oxygen. Condition is dangerous, often fatal. VT often requires emergency treatment.


Copy© Furia 1999-2000 Updated December 2, 2000

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Dizziness Weakness

Avoid Salty Foods There is a clear relationship between hypertension and salt intake.
Stop SmokingSmoking greatly increases the chance of having a stroke.
Lose Weight If necessary, to take the extra burden off your heart.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption Alcohol increases pressure in your arteries.
Exercise Try walking 20 minutes each day
Medication Do not skip any doses. Take exactly as prescribed by your physician.