There are many types of heart disease and, consequently, there are many possible causes. Types of heart disease include the following:
- Cardiovascular disease, which involves the blood vessels as well as the heart
- Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
- Cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart)
- Diseases of the heart valves
- Infections like pericarditis or endocarditis
What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries”, is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease, which is the most common cause of death in the US. Cardiovascular disease includes strokes, heart attacks and peripheral vascular disease.
Atherosclerosis itself is caused by a buildup of fatty plaque within the arteries that eventually makes them narrower and impedes blood flow. Eventually, the plaque can block blood flow altogether. Such blockages can cause pain in the affected area, and they can also rupture and let blood clots form within the artery. When this happens within the heart, the patient has a heart attack; when it happens within the brain, the patient has a stroke.
Atherosclerosis is progressive, and it is preventable. Researchers found that nine risk factors were involved in 90 percent of all heart attacks – and all nine were related to lifestyle. Patients wanting to avoid atherosclerosis and its resultant ills should avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight, get plenty of exercise and devise a healthy way to handle stress.
What is Dilated Cardiomyopathy?
Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type of cardiomyopathy. Dilated cardiomyopathy is characterized by an enlarged and weak left ventricle, which is the heart’s main pumping chamber.
Dilated cardiomyopathy thus reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood. In some cases, it also keeps the heart from relaxing and filling with blood as it normally does. The disease can eventually affect the other chambers in the heart.
While dilated cardiomyopathy causes few or no symptoms in many patients, it can cause symptoms in others which worsen as the disease progresses. They include fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and blood clots.
Dilated cardiomyopathy can be caused by a birth defect, but it can also be caused by alcoholism, diabetes, viral infections of the heart, thyroid disease and certain drugs that can damage the heart.
Are All Heart Diseases Due to Unhealthy Lifestyles?
No. Some are due to birth defects. In fact, birth defects involving the heart are the most common type of congenital defect. About one percent of babies in the US are born with a heart defect every year. The defects range in nature from so mild as to not need treatment to life-threatening.
The seven most severe congenital defects are collectively described as Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD), and they affect one out of 4,800 babies born. Infants with CCHD have hearts and/or major blood vessels that are misshapen, missing or misplaced. Youngsters with such conditions often need surgery, including heart transplants.
At the other end of the spectrum are conditions like septal defects. These are the so-called “hole in the heart” defects, and some of them are small enough to heal on their own. Larger holes in the septum (the wall between the atria) will require surgery.
Learn More Today
With Stemgevity™, based out of San Clemente, Dr. Steenblock uses bone marrow stem cells as an effective way to treat symptoms of heart disease. During your consultation, he can assess your unique situation and come up with the right treatment plan for you.
Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more about heart disease causes, symptoms, and treatments with Stemgevity™.