Heart disease describes any disorder that directly impacts the structure or function of the heart. Heart disease is the result of damage to part or all of the heart, poor supply of nutrients and oxygen to the heart, and damage to the coronary arteries. Some individuals have congenital heart disease, and some cases are the result of a genetic variation. A host of lifestyle choices can cause an individual to be at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Heart disease is diagnosed using electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, chest x-ray, cardiac catheterization, stress test, electrophysiology, CT heart scan, heart MRI, pericardiocentesis, and myocardial biopsy. Heart disease is treated by two main mechanisms. Numerous medications are available for the treatment of various types of heart disease, including statins, blood thinners, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers. When medication is insufficient to treat heart disease, one or more types of heart surgery are required.
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Heart Rhythm Disorders
Arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorders are a form of heart disease where an individual's heart is unable to maintain a healthy and regular rhythm or beating pattern. Heart rhythm disorders are the result of a malfunction that occurs with the electrical activity and path in the heart responsible for coordinating the heartbeat. A patient's heart may beat too slow, too fast, or in an abnormal rhythm. The electrical mechanisms in the heart can malfunction from an underlying cause such as scarred heart tissue, coronary artery disease, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, certain medications, sleep apnea, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes. Symptoms in individuals affected by heart rhythm disorders include a racing heartbeat, a slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, and lightheadedness. Common heart rhythm disorders include bradycardia, atrial fibrillation, tachycardia, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, long QT syndrome, sick sinus syndrome, conduction block, and premature heartbeats.
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