Types of Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease includes a range of different conditions:

Source: NICHD (NIH)1

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Back to: « Heart Disease

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Heart Diseases

Source: GARD (NIH)2

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of medical problems that affect the heart and surrounding blood vessels. It can take many forms, such as high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, stroke, or rheumatic heart disease.

Source: EC (EU)3

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The four most common types of vascular disease are high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and rheumatic heart disease. Other forms include arrhythmias, diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries, congenital defects, valvular heart disease, diseases of pulmonary circulation; and diseases of veins and lymphatics.

Source: NCBI, Genes and Disease (NCBI/NIH)4

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Our hearts work hard, beating all day, every day. That is why it is so important to take care of them.

Coronary heart disease is the most common form of cardiovascular disease.

Coronary heart disease is a leading cause of death for both males and females in Queensland, but males are often hospitalised with heart disease at a younger age and have a higher death rate than women.

Source: Queensland Government5

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The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD). Heart disease is also called cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease includes diseases of the blood vessels, which carry blood to different parts of your body. These include coronary artery disease, vascular (peripheral artery) disease, and stroke.

Source: OWH (DHHS)6

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What are some common types of heart problems that affect women?

Atherosclerosis. This condition happens when plaque buildup in the arteries over time causes the arteries to narrow and harden. When the plaque wears down or breaks open, a blood clot may develop. If the clot blocks blood flow to the heart, it can cause a heart attack.

Heart failure. This happens when the heart is not able to pump blood through the body as well as it should. Heart failure is a serious medical problem because many organs, such as the lungs and kidneys, are no longer able to get the blood they need. Heart failure symptoms include:

Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia [uh-RITH-mee-uh]). Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. Your heart may beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Changes in heartbeats are harmless for most people. As you get older, you are more likely to have arrhythmias, partly as a result of changing estrogen levels.2 It's normal to feel a few flutters or for your heart to race once in a while. If you have flutters along with other symptoms of heart attack, such as dizziness or shortness of breath, call 911 right away.

Atrial fibrillation (AY-tree-ul fih-brih-LAY-shun) (AF or Afib). Afib is a type of arrhythmia. Afib makes it easier for your blood to clot because your heart cannot pump as well as it should. This can lead to heart failure or stroke. Afib symptoms include heart flutters and, a fast heartbeat as well as dizziness and shortness of breath.

Heart valve disease. Heart valve disease affects the valves that control blood flow in and out of different parts of the heart. A birth defect, older age, or an infection can cause your heart valves to not open fully or close completely. This causes the heart to work harder to pump blood. Heart valve disease can lead to stroke as well as heart failure, blood clots, or sudden cardiac arrest. Heart valve disease can cause problems during pregnancy, when your heart already has to work harder than usual to supply blood to your unborn baby. Your doctor can help you prevent problems during pregnancy if you know you have heart valve disease. But, some women do not find out that they have a heart valve problem until they get pregnant.3

Source: OWH (DHHS)7

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What are some types of heart problems that affect women more than men?

Certain types of heart problems affect women more than men.

Source: OWH (DHHS)8

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These conditions are commonly grouped under the broader term of cardiovascular disease, or CVD. The most common and serious types of CVD include coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare9

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  • Coronary heart disease is the most common form of CVD. There are 2 major clinical forms—heart attack and angina. Heart attack is a life-threatening event that occurs when a blood vessel supplying the heart itself is suddenly blocked, causing damage to the heart muscle and its functions. Angina is a chronic condition in which short episodes of chest pain can occur periodically when the heart has a temporary deficiency in its blood supply.
  • Stroke occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain either suddenly becomes blocked or begins to bleed. Stroke often causes paralysis of parts of the body normally controlled by the area affected by the stroke, or speech problems and other symptoms, and is often fatal.

Other common types of CVD are:

  • Heart failure occurs when the heart functions less effectively in its role of pumping blood around the body. Although it can occur suddenly, it usually develops over many years, as the heart gradually becomes weaker and works less effectively.
  • Cardiomyopathy is a condition where there is direct or widespread damage to the heart muscle, weakening it. This can be due to various causes, such as viral infections and severe alcohol abuse. It can lead to an enlarged, thickened and dilated heart as well as heart failure.
  • Peripheral vascular disease refers to diseases of the arteries outside the heart and brain. It occurs when fatty deposits build up in the inner walls of these arteries and affect blood circulation to the arteries that supply blood to the body's peripheries, such as the legs and feet.
  • Hypertensive disease occurs when high blood pressure is severe or prolonged enough to cause damage to the heart or other organs. It can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure and cardiomyopathy, stroke and chronic kidney disease.
  • Acute rheumatic fever (ARF) is a delayed complication of an untreated throat infection from Group A Streptococcus bacteria. Inflammation caused by ARF can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle or heart valves and reduce the ability of the heart to pump blood effectively around the body; this is known as rheumatic heart disease.
  • Congenital heart disease is any disorder of the heart or major blood vessels that is present at birth. It is one of the leading causes of death and hospitalisation in the first year of life. Children with serious congenital heart disease are generally treated with surgery.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare10

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Types of CVD include:

Source: NHS Choices UK11

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Types of CVD

There are many different types of CVD. Four of the main types are described below.

Source: NHS Choices UK12

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Types of this condition may include:13 Types of heart disease:

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Types of this condition:14 Types of Heart Disease:

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Types of this condition may include:15

Types of Heart Disease:

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Types may include:16

Specific Types of Heart Disease

Coronary artery disease: The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease, which affects the blood flow to the heart and can cause a heart attack.

Source: CDC17

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Atherosclerosis: There are many different kinds of heart disease. The most common is atherosclerosis (ath-uh-roh-skluh-roh-sis), the buildup of fatty deposits or plaques in the walls of arteries. As plaque builds up, there is less space for blood to flow normally and deliver oxygen through­out the body, including to the heart. Depending on where the buildup is, it can cause a heart attack, leg pain, or a stroke. Atherosclerosis is not part of normal aging and can be serious.

Source: NIA (NIH)18

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  1. Source: NICHD (NIH): nichd.nih.gov/ health/ topics/ PCOS/ conditioninfo/ Pages/ conditions-associated.aspx
  2. Source: GARD (NIH): rarediseases.info.nih.gov/ diseases/ diseases-by-category/ 4/ heart-diseases
  3. Source: EC (EU): ec.europa.eu/ health/ major_chronic_diseases/ diseases/ cardiovascular_en
  4. Source: NCBI, Genes and Disease (NCBI/NIH): ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ books/ NBK22227/ 
  5. Source: Queensland Government: qld.gov.au/ health/ staying-healthy/ men-women/ men/ heart
  6. Source: OWH (DHHS): womenshealth.gov/ heart-disease-and-stroke/ heart-disease/ heart-disease-and-women
  7. ibid.
  8. ibid.
  9. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/ overview
  10. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/ about
  11. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ Atherosclerosis/ 
  12. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ Cardiovascular-disease/ 
  13. Source: Disease Ontology
  14. Source: Monarch Initiative
  15. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  16. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  17. Source: CDC: cdc.gov/ heartdisease/ about.htm
  18. Source: NIA (NIH): nia.nih.gov/ health/ heart-health

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.