Heart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), sinus tachycardia, and sinus bradycardia, to abnormal heart rhythms such as tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, ventricular flutter, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome, brachycardia, or heart blocks. Treatment is dependent upon the type of heart rhythm disorder. Read more: Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disorders) Article
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Atrial Fibrillation: Heart Symptoms, Diagnosis, & AFib Treatment
AFib symptoms like heart racing, fluttering, and irregular heart beat may be caused by heart disease, obesity, alcohol use,...
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Heart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may...
What Happens After a Stroke? Signs, Symptoms, Types
What is a stroke? Learn about the different types of stroke, as well as many symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness,...
Am I Having a Heart Attack? Symptoms of Heart Disease
Heart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs...
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease, arrhythmias and myopathy. Symptoms of...
Picture of Heart Detail
The heart is composed of specialized cardiac muscle, and it is four-chambered, with a right atrium and ventricle, and an...
Picture of Heart Catheter
Catheter procedures are much easier than surgery on patients because they involve only a needle puncture in the skin where the...
Picture of Heart
The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. See a picture of the Heart and learn more...
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Related Disease Conditions
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting if not enough blood is getting to the brain. Diseases and medications can also cause low blood pressure. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys; the organs do not function normally and may be permanently damaged.
Anemia: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes
Anemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased. There are several types of anemia such as iron deficiency anemia (the most common type), sickle cell anemia, vitamin B12 anemia, pernicious anemia, and aplastic anemia. Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, malaise, hair loss, palpitations, menstruation, and medications. Treatment for anemia includes treating the underlying cause for the condition. Iron supplements, vitamin B12 injections, and certain medications may also be necessary.
How the Heart Works: Sides, Chambers, and Function
The heart is a very important organ in the body. It is responsible for continuously pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. It is a fist-sized muscle that beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping a total of five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs
Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men.
Medical shock is a life-threatening medical condition. There are several types of medical shock, including: septic shock, anaphylactic shock, cardiogenic shock, hypovolemic shock, and neurogenic shock. Causes of shock include: heart attack, heart failure, heavy bleeding (internal and external), infection, anaphylaxis, spinal cord injury, severe burns, chronic vomiting or diarrhea. Low blood pressure is the key sign of sock. Treatment is dependant upon the type of shock.
Blood Clots (in the Leg)
Blood clots can occur in the venous and arterial vascular system. Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract and uterus. Risk factors for causes of blood clots include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms of a blood clot depend on the location of the clot. Some blood clots are a medical emergency. Blood clots are treated depending upon the cause of the clot. Blood clots can be prevented by lowering the risk factors for developing blood clots.
Fainting, also referred to as blacking out, syncope, or temporary loss of consciousness has many causes. Often a person will have signs or symptoms prior to the fainting episode. Diagnosis and treatment depends upon the cause of the fainting or syncope episode.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include: Smoking High blood pressure High cholesterol Diabetes Family history Obesity Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy, pneumothorax, shingles, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, angina, heart attack, costochondritis, pericarditis, aorta or aortic dissection, and reflux esophagitis. Diagnosis and treatment of chest pain depends upon the cause and clinical presentation of the patient's chest pain.
Pulmonary edema (swelling or fluid in the lungs) can either be caused by cardiogenic causes (congestive heart failure, heart attacks, abnormal heart valves) or noncardiogenic causes such as ARDS, kidney failure, high altitude, pneumothorax, pleural effusion, aspirin overdose, pulmonary embolism, and infections. The treatment of pulmonary edema depends on the cause of the condition.
Dizziness is a symptom that often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Causes of dizziness include low blood pressure, heart problems, anemia, dehydration, and other medical conditions. Treatment of dizziness depends on the cause.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life-threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers. Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Low Potassium (Hypokalemia)
Potassium is an essential electrolyte necessary for cell function. Low potassium (hypokalemia) may be caused by diarrhea, vomiting, ileostomy, colon polyps, laxative use, diuretics, elevated corticosteroid levels, renal artery stenosis, and renal tubular acidosis, or other medications. Symptoms of low potassium include weakness, aches, and cramps of the muscles. Treatment is dependent upon the cause of the low potassium (hypokalemia).
Dehydration is the excessive loss of body water. There are a number of causes of dehydration including heat exposure, prolonged vigorous exercise, and some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of dehydration include headache, lightheadedness, constipation, and bad breath. Treatment for dehydration is to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung)
A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a piece of a blood clot from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) breaks off and travels to an artery in the lung where it blocks the artery and damages the lung. The most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are shortness of breath, chest pain, and a rapid heart rate. Causes of pulmonary embolism include prolonged immobilization, certain medications, smoking, cancer, pregnancy, and surgery. Pulmonary embolism can cause death if not treated promptly.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart attack can cause chest pain, heart failure, and electrical instability of the heart.
Symptoms of 12 Serious Diseases and Health Problems
Learn how to recognize early warning signs and symptoms of serious diseases and health problems, for example, chronic cough, headache, chest pain, nausea, stool color or consistency changes, heartburn, skin moles, anxiety, nightmares, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, lightheadedness, night sweats, eye problems, confusion, depression, severe pelvic or abdominal pain, unusual vaginal discharge, and nipple changes. The symptoms and signs of serious health problems can be caused by strokes, heart attacks, cancers, reproductive problems in females (for example, cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and sexually transmitted diseases or STDs), breast problems (for example, breast cancer and non-cancer related diseases), lung diseases (for example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, lung cancer, emphysema, and asthma), stomach or digestive diseases (for example, cancers, gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic diseases, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease), bladder problems (for example, urinary incontinence, and kidney infections), skin cancer, muscle and joint problems, emotional problems or mental illness (for example, postpartum depression, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mania, and schizophrenia), and headache disorders (for example, migraines, or "the worst headache of your life), and eating disorders and weight problems (for example, anorexia or bulimia).
An arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. With an arrhythmia, the heartbeats may be irregular or too slow (bradycardia), to rapid (tachycardia), or too early. When a single heartbeat occurs earlier than normal, it is called a premature contraction.
Atrial Flutter: ECG, Symptoms, and Treatments
Atrial flutter is a problem with the atria of the heart. In atrial flutter the atria of the heart rapidly and repeatedly beat due to an anomaly in the electrical system of the heart. It is a type of arrhythmia and can be dangerous because complications can develop easily. Signs and symptoms of atrial flutter include near fainting, palpitations, mild shortness of breath, and fatigue. While the exact cause of atrial flutter is not clearly understood, it's most likely related to your health, what medical conditions you certainly have, poor diet, lack of exercise, and drinking too much alcohol. Atrial flutter is diagnosed by physical examination, medical history, and a sawtooth ECG wave pattern.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), also called "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome," is the most common type of heart valve abnormality. Usually, people with mitral valve prolapse have no signs and symptoms; however, if the prolapsed valve is severe, symptoms may appear. When symptoms of severe mitral valve prolapse do appear, they may include, fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, anxiety, migraine headaches, and pulmonary edema. Echocardiography is the most useful test for mitral valve prolapse. Most people with mitral valve need no treatment. However, if the valve prolapse is severe, treatment medications or surgery may be necessary to repair the heart valve.
Palpitations are uncomfortable sensations of the heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly. Some types of palpitations are benign, while others are more serious. Palpitations are diagnosed by taking the patient history and by performing an EKG or heart monitoring along with blood tests. An electrophysiology study may also be performed. Treatment of palpitations may include lifestyle changes, medication, ablation, or implantation of a pacemaker. The prognosis if palpitations depends on the underlying cause.
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)
Premature ventricular contractions (PVC) are premature heartbeats originating from the ventricles of the heart. PVCs are premature because they occur before the regular heartbeat. There are many causes of premature ventricular contractions to include: heart attack, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, mitral valve prolapse, hypokalemia, hypoxia, medications, excess caffeine, drug abuse, and myocarditis.
Hemochromatosis (Iron Overload)
Hereditary hemochromatosis (iron overload) is an inherited disorder in which there is excessive accumulation of iron in the body. Individuals may have no symptoms or signs, or they can have severe symptoms and signs of iron overload. The most effective treatment for hemochromatosis is therapeutic phlebotomy.
Orthostatic hypotension symptoms include: LightheadednessWeaknessBlurred vision Syncope or passing out Causes of orthostatic hypotension include: Dehydration, Anemia, Medication Blood loss Low blood pressure Heat related illnesses Parkinson's disease Diabetes Treatment of orthostatic hypotension depends on the underlying cause.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm, which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the heart. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Atrial fibrillation treatment may include medication or procedures like cardioversion or ablation to normalize the heart rate.
Hyothermia or extreme exposure to cold can be classified as either accidental hypothermia (unintentional cold exposure) and intentional hypothermia (generally induced for a medical procedure). Hypothermia is caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Risk factors for hypothermia include cold exposure and/or certain medical conditions. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering; increased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure; apathy, confusion, slurred speech, no reflexes, and dilated pupils. Medical attention is generally necessary to treat hypothermia.
Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include congested lungs, fluid and water retention, dizziness, fatigue and weakness, and rapid or irregular heartbeats. There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Treatment Drugs
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a heart rhythm disorder that causes irregular and often rapid heartbeat. The medications to treat AFib include beta-blockers, blood thinners, and heart rhythm drugs. Atrial fibrillation drugs can cause serious side effects like seizures, vision changes, shortness of breath, fainting, other abnormal heart rhythms, excessive bleeding while coughing or vomiting, blood in the stool, and bleeding into the brain.
Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea, obstructive apnea (OSA), and a mixture of central and obstructive apnea. Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to activate the muscles of breathing during sleep. OSA is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep. OSA is diagnosed and evaluated through patient history, physical examination and polysomnography. There are many complications related to obstructive sleep apnea. Treatments are surgical and non-surgical.
Atrial Fibrillation vs. Ventricular Fibrillation (AFib vs VFib Symptoms, ECG Strips)
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the heart. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Atrial fibrillation treatment may include medication or procedures like cardioversion or ablation to normalize the heart rate. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) and ventricular fibrillation (VFib) are problems with the heart that cause abnormal heart rhythms. Causes of these heart conditions include, heart disease, drugs and medications, excessive alcohol consumption, high cholesterol, advancing age, a diet that contains high levels of animal meat (fat), high blood pressure, stress, stimulants like caffeine, nicotine. Ventricular fibrillation is the more serious of the conditions because if it isn't treated immediately the person will likely die. Symptoms of AFib are confusion, anxiety, fatigue, a fluttering in the chest, and the feeling that you may pass out or faint. Atrial fibrillation is treated with medications, cardioversion therapy, and surgery. If a person with ventricular fibrillation does not seek medical help immediately they will mostly likely suffer from sudden cardiac arrest or sudden death.
Aortic Valve Stenosis (Symptoms, Causes, Surgery)
Aortic valve stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the aortic valve of the heart. The causes of aortic stenosis are wear and tear of the valve in the elderly, congenital, or scarring or scarring of the aortic valve from rheumatic fever. Symptoms include angina, fainting, and shortness of breath. Treatment is dependant upon the severity of the condition.
Chagas disease is an infection caused by the T. cruzi parasite. Symptoms of Chagas disease include rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and the Romaña sign. An ELISA test is used to diagnose Chagas disease. Treatment depends upon the phase of the disease and the patient's age.
A heart murmur is a heart problem that can occur, for example, during pregnancy or exercise, or it can be a symptom of serious heart condition, for example, congenital heart defects or heart valve disease. A heart murmur makes a whooshing or swishing sound. Symptoms of a heart murmur include swelling of the legs or feet, dizzy or lightheaded, blackouts, chest pain, rapid heart rate (palpitations), difficulty doing normal daily activities, fatigue, and a bluish tinge on the skin, lips, and fingernails. Treatment for heart murmurs in infants, children, and adults depend on the cause. Some heart murmurs can be harmless while some are serious and life threatening.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Symptoms and Signs
Atrial fibrillation or AFib is a type of heart rhythm abnormality. Early warning signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness. Treatment for atrial fibrillation includes medical procedures, surgery, and medication.
Hypercalcemia (Elevated Calcium Levels)
Hypercalcemia is a condition in which calcium levels in the blood are elevated. Hypercalcemia is associated with other conditions such as hyperparathyroidism, lung cancer, breast cancer, kidney failure, and elevated levels of vitamin D. Symptoms of hypercalcemia include constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, and kidney stones. Treatment depends on the cause of hypercalcemia.
Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT)
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT) is an abnormal conduction of electricity in particular areas of the heart. PSVT was referred to at one time as paroxysmal atrial tachycardia or PAT, however, the term PAT is reserved for as specific heart condition. Symptoms of PSVT include weakness, shortness of breath, chest pressure, lightheadedness, and palpitations. PSVT is treated with medications or procedures that return the heart to its normal electrical pattern.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest is an unexpected, sudden death caused by sudden cardiac arrest (loss of heart function). Causes and risk factors of sudden cardiac arrest include (not inclusive) abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), previous heart attack, coronary artery disease, smoking, high cholesterol,Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation after a heart attack, congenital heart defects, history of fainting, heart failure, obesity, diabetes, and drug abuse. Treatment of sudden cardiac arrest is an emergency, and action must be taken immediately.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that help decrease one's cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Omega-3s are found in salmon, sardines, walnuts, and canola oil. These fats may help reduce the risk of ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death.
Heart Attack vs. Stroke Symptoms, Differences, and Similarities
Heart attack usually is caused by a clot that stops blood flow supplying oxygen to an area of heart muscle, which results in heart muscle death. Stroke or "brain attack" is caused by a loss of blood supply to the brain (usually a blood clot) or by hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding within the brain), which results in brain tissue death. Both heart attack and stroke usually come on suddenly, produce similar symptoms, can be disabling, and can be fatal. The classic symptoms and warning signs of heart attack are different. Classic heart attack warning signs are chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, pain that radiates to the shoulders, back, arms, belly, jaw, or teeth, sweating, fainting, and nausea and vomiting. Moreover, woman having a heart attack may have additional symptoms like abdominal pain or discomfort, dizziness, clammy skin, and moderate to severe fatigue. The classic symptoms and warning signs that a person is having a stroke are confusion or loss of consciousness, sudden severe headache, speech problems, problems seeing out of one or both eyes, and numbness or weakness of only one side of the body. Moreover, a woman having a stroke may have additional warning symptom and signs like shortness of breath, disorientation, agitation, behavioral changes, weakness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, and hiccups. Recognition of stroke symptoms is vital for emergency treatment. The acronym "FAST" stands for recognition of Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and a Time for action. If you experience the symptoms heart attack or stroke (FAST) or see them develop in another person, then contact 911 immediately.
Heart Attacks in Women
Heart disease, particularly coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart attacks. Women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and high triglycerides are contributors to heart disease. Some of the common symptoms of a heart attack in women include chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint or woozy, and more. Heart disease can be prevented by lifestyle changes and controlling high blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and diseases such as diabetes.
Why Do People Sleepwalk (Somnambulism)?
Sleepwalking is a condition in which an individual walks or does other activities while asleep. Factors associated with sleepwalking include genetic, environmental, and physiological. Episodes of sleepwalking may include quiet walking to agitated running. Conditions that may have similar symptoms of sleepwalking, but are not include night terrors, confusional arousals, and nocturnal seizures. Treatment of sleepwalking generally include preventative measures. Medication may be prescribed if necessary.
Fitness: Exercises for a Healthy Heart
Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease. To achieve maximum benefits, do a mix of stretching exercises, aerobic activity, and strengthening exercise. Aim to get 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three to four times a week. Consult a doctor before exercising for the first time, especially if you have health problems.
Heart Attack Treatment
A heart attack involves damage or death of part of the heart muscle due to a blood clot. The aim of heart attack treatment is to prevent or stop this damage to the heart muscle. Heart attack treatments included medications, procedures, and surgeries to protect the heart muscle against injury.
Stress and Heart Disease
The connection between stress and heart disease is not clear. Stress itself may be a risk factor, or high levels of stress may make risk factors for heart disease worse. The warning signs of stress can be physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral. Reducing stressors in an individuals life not only can lead to a more productive life, but may also decrease the risk for heart disease and causes of heart disease.
Heart Attack Pathology: Photo Essay
A heart attack is a layperson's term for a sudden blockage of a coronary artery. This photo essay includes graphics, pictures, and illustrations of diseased heart tissue and the mechanisms that lead to coronary artery disease, and possible heart attack. A coronary artery occlusion may be fatal, but most patients survive it. Death can occur when the occlusion leads to an abnormal heartbeat (severe arrhythmia) or death of heart muscle (extensive myocardial infarction).
Heart Disease in Women
Heart disease in women has somewhat different symptoms, risk factors, and treatment compared to heart disease in men. Many women and health professionals are not aware of the risk factors for heart disease in women and may delay diagnosis and treatment. Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, tobacco use, overweight/obesity, stress, alcohol consumption, and depression influence heart disease risk in women. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes also increase women's risk of heart disease. Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), stress-ECG, endothelial testing, ankle-brachial index (ABI), echocardiogram, nuclear imaging, electron beam CT, and lab tests to assess blood lipids and biomarkers of inflammation are used to diagnose heart disease. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women saves lives. Heart disease can be prevented and reversed with lifestyle changes.
Biologic rhythms, or biorhythms, are how our bodies respond to the regular phases of the sun, moon, and seasons. A medical chronobiologist studies how the "body clock" or biorhythms affect diseases and how the body clock responds to treatment of diseases and conditions at different times of the day.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart's main pumping chamber is enlarged and weakened. Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include chest pain, heart failure, swelling of the lower extremities, fatigue, weight gain, fainting, palpitations, dizziness and blood clots.
Loeys-Dietz syndrome is an inherited genetic syndrome characterized by aortic aneurysms in children. Children with Loeys-Dietz syndrome are at a greater risk of dying from aortic aneurysms, because the aneurysms are prone to rupture at a smaller size than other aneurysms. Physical characteristics of the syndrome include early fusion of the skull bones, widely spaced eyes, and split uvula or cleft palate. Treatment includes surgical repair fo the aneurysms.
Heart Attack Prevention
Heart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
Learn about mitochondrial disease, genetic disease in which include a group of neuromuscular diseases that are caused by damage to the mitochondria Common mitochondrial myopathies include Kearns–Sayre syndrome, myoclonus epilepsy, and mitochondrial encephalomyopathy. Symptoms of mitochondrial disease include heart failure, exercise intolerance, dementia, muscle weakness, movement disorders, deafness, blindness, stroke-like episodes, and more. There is no specific treatment for mitochondrial disease.
Congenital Heart Defects
Congenital heart defects are heart problems that are present at birth. Genetics may play a role in some heart defects. Symptoms can range from nonexistent to severe and life-threatening. Fatigue, rapid breathing, and decreased blood circulation are a few possible symptoms of congenital heart defects. Many cases do not require any treatment. Procedures using catheters and surgery may be used to repair severe heart defects.
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are fitness programs that fit any age or lifestyle.
Khat (Abyssinian tea, African salad, oat, kat, chat, and catha) is a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Khat is usually chewed like tobacco, however, it can be smoked or sprinkled on food. Using Khat can cause a variety of health consequences. Khat is illegal in the United States.
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a condition in which abnormal electrical pathways in the heart cause arrhythmias. Symptoms of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome include: tachycardia, dizziness, palpitations, fainting, and shortness of breath. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a common cause of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is caused by mutations in the PRKAG2 gene.
Heart Disease Treatment in Women
Heart disease treatment in women should take into account female-specific guidelines that were developed by the American Heart Association. Risk factors and symptoms of heart disease in women differ from those in men. Treatment may include lifestyle modification (diet, exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, stress reduction), medications, percutaneous intervention procedure (PCI), and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Heart disease is reversible with treatment.
What Happens If Arrhythmia Is Left Untreated?
Untreated arrhythmia in some individuals may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, dementia, and heart failure. It may lead to the inadequate blood supply to multiple organs because the heart may not function properly.
Alpha thalassemia is a disorder in which the alpha globin protein is underproduced. There are two pairs of genes that carry the code for the alpha chains of hemoglobin. When one gene is impaired, that person is in a carrier state and suffers no medical problems. When four genes are impaired, the production of fetal and adult hemoglobin is prevented, resulting in hydrops fetalis and leading to death before birth.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the rarest form of cardiomyopathy, is a condition in which the walls of the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) are abnormally rigid and lack the flexibility to expand as the ventricles fill with blood. The pumping or systolic function of the ventricle may be normal but the diastolic function (the ability of the heart to fill with blood) is abnormal. Therefore, it is harder for the ventricles to fill with blood, and with time, the heart loses the ability to pump blood properly, leading to heart failure.
Smoking and Heart Disease
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease in women and men. Nicotine in cigarettes decrease oxygen to the heart, increases blood pressure, blood clots, and damages coronary arteries. Learn how to quit smoking today, to prolong your life.
Stroke is the third leading killer in the United States. Some of the warning signs of stroke include sudden confusion, trouble seeing with one or both eyes, dizziness, loss of balance, and more. Stroke prevention and reatable risk factors for stroke include lowering high blood pressure, quit smoking, heart disease, diabetes control and prevention.
Heart Attack Prevention Overview
Heart attacks are the major causes of unexpected, sudden death among men and women. A heart attack also is a significant cause of heart failure. The process of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) begins early in life. Heart attack prevention should begin in childhood because the atherosclerosis process can not be reversed. The risk of having a heart attack increases if you have diseases or conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and other heart conditions.
Can You Tell if Your Heart Is Healthy?
Your heart pumps blood throughout your body. You can tell if your heart is healthy by taking 10,000 steps per day and having good blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers.
Local ResourcesFind a local Cardiologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- What Are The Four Heart Sounds?
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Parathyroidectomy Surgery
- What Is the Difference Between Electrocardiogram and Electrocardiograph?
- How Is A Sternotomy Done?
- What Are Three Signs of Cardiac Tamponade?
- How Is Coronary Heart Disease Diagosed?
- What Is a Pharmacologic Stress Testing Used For?
- What Is a Mitral Valvuloplasty Procedure?
- How Is PDA Surgery Performed?
- What Is PDA Heart Surgery?
- Why Are Ventricular Repair (Cardiorrhaphy) Procedures Performed?
Medications & Supplements
- Beta Blockers (Drug Class, List of Brand and Generic Names)
- Anticoagulants (Anticoagulant Drug Class)
- erythromycin (Ery-Tab, PCE)
- Nitrates (Medication)
- Metoprolol vs. propranolol
- Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
- Beta Blocker Side Effects (Adverse Effects)
- Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
- carvedilol (Coreg)
- Aldactone (spironolactone)
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- amiodarone, Cordarone, Nextrone, Pacerone
- digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxin Pediatric)
- propranolol, Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
- Digoxin vs. digitalis
- diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Tiazac, Cartia XT, Diltzac, Dilt-CD, and several oth)
- Digoxin vs. metoprolol
- Eliquis (apixaban)
- magnesium sulfate (injection)
- atropine (Atreza)
- phenylephrine hydrochloride (NeoSynephrine, Neofrin)
- lidocaine injection (Xylocaine)
- Digoxin vs. amiodarone
- nadolol (Corgard)
- quinidine (Discontinued Brands: Cardioquine, Cin-Quin, Duraquin, Quinidex, Quinora, Quinact)
- propafenone (Rythmol)
- Sectral (acebutolol)
- atenolol and chlorthalidone, Tenoretic
- timolol (Betimol)
- Digoxin vs. dobutamine
- procainamide, Pronestyl; Procan-SR; Procanbid (These brands no longer are available in the U.S.)
- Betapace (sotalol)
- Optiray (ioversol)
- Verquvo (vericiguat)
- Sorine (sotalol hydrochloride)
- Sotylize (sotalol hydrochloride)
Prevention & Wellness
- Cardiac Arrest? Someday, Drones May Come to Save You
- Safeguarding Your Heart During, After Hurricane Ida
- 'Alexa, Is My Heartbeat Healthy?'
- Wide Variations Found in 'Normal' Resting Heart Rate
- AHA News: Baby Survived 27 Minutes Without a Heartbeat
- AHA News: Heart Problems Ended His NFL Career, But Magic Provides a Second Act
- AHA News: She Thought Her Dizziness, Exhaustion Came From Being A Mom
- AHA News: Deadly Heart Problem Might Not Be So Deadly
- Bans Not Keeping Drivers With Implanted Defibrillators off the Road
- Airport Scanners OK for People with Implanted Heart Devices: Study
- Quick Test Helps Predict Hospital Readmission Risk After Heart Attack
- Your Life Span May Be Foretold in Your Heart Beats
- AHA News: Teen's Trip to the Mall Could Have Been Her Last
- Your Apple Watch Might Help Spot a Dangerous Irregular Heartbeat
- You've Fainted. How Long Do You Need to Stay in the ER?
- How Long Should Fainting Patients Be Monitored?
- AHA: New Report Emphasizes Safety of Statins
- Sudden Death Risk in Epilepsy Can Wane Over Time
- Noisy Neighborhood? Your Heart May Pay a Price
- How Steroid Abuse Put an Aging Bodybuilder in the Hospital
- Coffee Safe for Many With Abnormal Heart Rhythms: Review
- Smartwatch App Might Help Detect A-Fib
- Could Hackers Target Heart Devices?
- MRIs Safe With Older Pacemakers, Study Finds
- Avoiding Alcohol Helps the Heart Beat Better
- Undiagnosed Heart Condition 'AFib' May Be Common, Study Suggests
- Lifesaving Drugs From Pfizer in Short Supply: FDA
- Oktoberfest Study Links Boozing to Heart Woes
- Heart Devices 101: Guide to the Tools That Keep You Ticking
- Beta Blockers May Not Be Best Heart Drugs for Dementia Patients
- Many With Common Irregular Heartbeat Unaware of Stroke Risk
- Marijuana Use Tied to Rare, Temporary Heart Malfunction
- No Link Between Caffeine, Irregular Heartbeat in Heart Failure Patient Study
- Message for Heart Failure Patients: Exercise
- Women in Cardiac Arrest May Be Less Likely to Receive Help
- Weight Loss May Help Control Common Irregular Heartbeat
- Botox Might Prevent Irregular Heartbeat After Bypass Surgery
- Implanted Defibrillators Restore Healthy Heart Function to Many: Study
- Test Endurance Athletes for Heart Woes While They Exercise: Study
- Device May Pose Dangers for Patients With Irregular Heartbeat: Study
- 'Wireless' Pacemaker Working Well So Far, Researchers Say
- Scientists Spot How Bacterial Pneumonia Damages the Heart
- Heart Medication Digoxin Linked to Higher Risk of Death for Some
- Pacemakers Common for Those With Dementia and Irregular Heartbeats
- Scientists Use Gene Therapy to Create 'Biological Pacemaker' in Pig Hearts
- Low Blood Sugar May Affect Heartbeat in People With Diabetes
- Whites at Highest Risk for Irregular Heart Rhythm, Study Finds
- FDA Sets Rules for Smartphone Medical Apps
- New Defibrillator Works Without Wires Touching Heart
- Fish Oil Supplements Don't Protect Against Heart Trouble: Study
- Common Heart Meds May Boost Recovery From Non-Cardiac Surgeries
- Higher Heart Rate Tied to Earlier Death, Even in Fit People
- Study Links Stillbirth to Genes Tied to Dangerous Heart Rhythm
- Energy Drinks Linked to Changes in Heart Rhythm
- FDA Renews Heart-Risk Warning for Antibiotic
- Yoga May Help With Common Heart Rhythm Disorder
- Implanted Defibrillator Patients Prefer Device Off if Very Ill: Survey
- Antidepressants Celexa, Lexapro Tied to Irregular Heartbeat: Study
- ER Visits Linked to Energy Drinks Double: Report
- Overactive Thyroid May Raise Risk for Common Irregular Heartbeat
- Device Offers Hope for Battery-Free Pacemakers
- Heart Attacks, Strokes Jumped After Japan Earthquake, Study Finds
- Survival More Likely With Exercise-Related Cardiac Arrest: Study
- Close Relative's Early Death May Raise Your Heart Risk: Study
- Implantable Defibrillators Linked to Decline in Cardiac Arrests
- Health Tip: Living With a Pacemaker
- Coffee in Moderation May Lower Heart Failure Risk
- FDA Rejects New Use for Blood Thinner Xarelto
- Can Too Much Exercise Be Harmful?
- Heart Rhythm Disorder May Raise Older Women's Stroke Risk
- Palpitations May Signal Future Heart Rhythm Problem
- Black Africans Less Apt to Develop Heart Rhythm Disorder Than Whites
- Tasers Can Trigger Fatal Heart Trouble: Study
- Stopping Blood Thinners Raises Stroke Risk for Patients With Irregular Heartbeat
- Pacemakers, Defibrillators Sources of Deadly Infections: Study
- Could Caffeine Help Dry Eye?
- Incontinence Drugs: Benefits and Harms Compared
- FDA Adds More Warnings to Antidepressant's Label
- Defibrillator Implantation May Be Riskier for Underweight Patients
- Family Tree May Aid Treatment of Inherited Heart Disorders
- Study Links 'Body Clock' to Sudden Cardiac Death
- Even When Silent, Irregular Heartbeat Linked to Stroke Risk
- Handheld Metal Detectors Don't Seem to Affect Pacemakers: Study
- Home Monitoring of Heart Device May Be Safe