Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is a widespread term used to describe the range of different conditions that can affect your heart. Sometimes associated with a build-up of fatty substances in the arteries, there are a number of different types of heart disease, each with their own causes - but with similar prevention methods, these include:

  • Coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Heart infection
  • Valvular heart disease

See also: 10 Simple Tips for a Healthy Heart


What is heart disease and how can it be prevented?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States [1]. This disease refers to any condition that affects the heart.

As previously noted, there are a number of different types - the majority of which can be preventable.

Some simple lifestyle changes that can be made to help prevent heart disease include:

  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying physically active
  • Managing stress
  • Eating a health, balanced diet
  • Taking control of health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes

See also: What Does High CRP Mean?


What are the causes of heart disease?


While the exact causes of heart disease, or cardiovascular disease as it’s also known, are unclear, there are a number of risk factors that can possibly increase your risk of getting it.

Some of the most common risk factors of heart disease include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Older age
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Excessive alcohol use

Having said that, there are a number of types of cardiovascular disease, each of which are believed to have their own unique causes, these include:


Coronary heart disease or Coronary artery disease


Coronary heart disease, also referred to as coronary artery disease, is typically caused by a build-up of fatty substances in the arteries surrounding the heart which can ultimately interrupt the heart's blood and oxygen supply [2].

Some risk factors associated with coronary heart disease include:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Inactivity
  • Diabetes

See also: Coronary Heart Disease: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes


Congenital heart defects


Congenital heart disease is a form of heart disease is a defect within the heart that you’re born with. This defect can have an effect on the way blood flows to your heart - although some may not cause any problems [3].

Some risk factors associated with congenital heart defects include:

  • Family history of congenital heart disease
  • Diabetes during pregnancy
  • Rubella during pregnancy
  • Drinking alcohol while pregnant
  • Smoking while pregnant

Arrhythmia


Arrhythmia is a problem with the heart's rhythm. According to Mayo Clinic, this occurs when the electrical impulses that coordinate the hearts beat aren’t functioning properly [4].

Some risk factors associated with arrhythmias include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Congenital heart defects

Cardiomyopathy


Cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart which can make it difficult for your heart to pump blood around the body. There are three types: dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive. Although the primary cause is unknown, there are possible factors that may increase the risk of the disease [5].

Some risk factors associated with cardiomyopathy include:

  • Chronic rapid heart rate
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Heart tissue damage
  • Untreated high blood pressure

Heart infection


A heart infection, also known as an endocarditis, is an infection in the lining of the heart caused by bacteria or virus reaching your heart muscle.

Some risk factors associated with heart infection include:

  • Infection
  • Syringes
  • Bacteria
  • Virus
  • Parasites

Valvular heart disease


Valvular heart disease refers to a disease of the heart valves, it’s commonly associated with damage to one of four of the heart valves.

Some conditions that may damage the heart valves include:

  • Connective tissue disorder
  • Infections
  • Rheumatic fever

Can heart disease be cured?


While heart disease cannot be cured, a combination of great treatments and the right healthy lifestyle changes, undesirable symptoms such as pain or discomfort and chest pain, can be maintained and managed to help your heart health.

According to the American Heart Association, making smart choices such as the preventive measures mentioned above, will help in keeping your heart healthy and potentially lower the risk of heart disease [6].


Some of the most common signs and symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or numbness in the legs or arms (as a result of restricted blood flow)
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, back or upper abdomen

If you are experiencing any of the above signs or symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor right away.


If you require a risk assessment for cardiovascular diseases or heart conditions, a CRP Test may be recommended. This can be done with a trip to your doctor or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test. It’s important to note that while the test is non-specific, it can indicate risk of cardiovascular problems.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home CRP Test can help in indicating risk of degenerative disorders or damage that you may not be aware of. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated medical team will be available to help every step of the way.

You should consider taking a CRP test if:

  • You are at risk for chronic inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or vasculitis
  • You are at risk for Crohn's disease
  • You are at risk for bowel disorders
  • You are overweight
  • You require a risk assessment for cardiovascular diseases
  • You require a risk assessment for cancers


References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart Disease Facts. Online: Cdc.gov, 2020
  2. Mayo Clinic. Coronary Heart Disease. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2020
  3. Mayo Clinic. Congenital Heart Defects. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2020
  4. Mayo Clinic. Heart arrhythmia. Online: Mayoclinic,org, 2020
  5. NHS. Cardiomyopathy. Online: NHS.uk
  6. American Heart Association. How to Help Prevent Heart Disease At Any Age. Online: Heart.org