Heart Disease

∞ generated and posted on 2016.03.26 ∞

Diseases and conditions of the circulatory system particularly as associated with the heart.

Diseases or conditions of the heart (heart diseases/cardiovascular disorders, cardiovascular disease, and see also cardiopulmonary diseases) include abnormal heart rhythms, angina pectoris, atherosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, endocarditis, heart failure< heart murmur, heart valve disorders, hypertension, myocardial infarction, pericardial disease, pericarditis, prolapse, small vessel disease, etc.

This page contains the following terms: Angina pectoris, Atherosclerosis, Congestive heart failure, Heart murmur, Hypertension

Angina pectoris

Chest pain resulting from inadequate blood flow through coronary arteries.
Angina pectoris, typically described simply as angina, results from reduced coronary artery functioning that is often a consequence of atherosclerosis (an arterial plaque-associated partial blockage of arteries). Angina pectoris is not a heart attack (myocardial infarction) which instead is a consequence of reduction in blood flow through a coronary artery to the point where heart muscle tissue literally starts dying. Angina under certain circumstances, and particularly angina that is worsening, can indicate a prelude to a heart attack, however. Nonetheless, and other than that the pain or other symptoms of angina pectoris are uncomfortable, one can view angina pectoris more as an indication of chronic circulatory problems, particularly involving the heart, rather than a critical disease in and of itself.

The above video walks through both angina and the underlying causes.


Accumulation of deposits of calcium, lipids, and body cells on artery walls.
This depositing, as associated with what are known as arterial plaques, results in a thickening of artery walls, bulging inward and thus reducing the cross sections of arterial lumens. That is, arteries become partially blocked, reducing blood flow, increasing blood pressure (due in part to a loss of elasticity of arterial walls), and increasing the potential for blocks giving rise to a thrombus (detached blood clot). Thrombi that are released in the course of the rupturing of these deposits can block downstream vessels.

Atherosclerosis is a form of arteriosclerosis (i.e., "hardening of the arteries") that is specifically due to the deposition of these plaques. There is also the term arteriolosclerosis, which refers to a hardening of arterioles. The blockage of vessels that can be a consequence of atherosclerosis results in what are known as infarctions, which is the death of tissues that are otherwise fed by the now blocked vessel and a myocardial infarction, a.k.a., a heart attack, is the consequence of such a blockage of a coronary artery. Note that symptoms of atherosclerosis during its often multi-decade development can be few, resulting in diagnosis only once substantial disease is present.

The above video provides a moderately detailed computer-generated animation look at arterial plaque formation.

The above video is a brief though incomplete look at myocardial infarctions, i.e., heart attacks consist of.

Congestive heart failure

Inability of the heart during somewhat normal contraction to adequately pump blood.
The symptoms of heart failure can vary in part depending upon whether it is the left versus the right side (or both) of the heart that is not adequately pumping blood. In left side failure – more strictly "congestive heart failure" versus simply "heart failure" – symptoms can appear that are due to inadequate drainage of blood from the lungs.

The result of congestive heart failure is an accumulation of fluid in association with the lungs (pulmonary edema) and hence the use of the qualifier, "congestive". In addition, symptoms result from poor circulation to the body, including to the brain which can result in reduced brain functioning.

Right-side failure, that is, simply "heart failure", by contrast results in a buildup of fluids in the body generally, since the heart is not adequately pulling blood from systemic circulation back through it. The result is the noted fluid accumulation throughout the body (edema) other than the lungs. This fluid accumulation, however, can lead to reduced functioning, e.g., of the liver.

Note that a failure in heart functioning can also occur more acutely, involving less than normal contraction, i.e., as seen with myocardial infarctions.

The above video provides a nice, short, overview of what congestive heart failure consists of.

Heart murmur

Excessive noise that results from inappropriate blood flow through heart valves.
Though heart murmurs are a sign of a pathology, the pathology is not necessarily severe enough to require treatment. In any case, the noises associated with heart murmurs are detectable using a stethoscope.

The above video bills itself as "Heart Murmur for Beginners", though by "Beginners" what they mean are beginning medical students!


Chronic high blood pressure.
High blood pressure (chronic) can be defined as a sustained systolic pressure over diastolic pressure of 140/90. This is in units of millimeters of mercury, i.e., a column of mercury that is 140 mm or higher and/or a column of mercury that is 90 mm or higher (which in turn is a measure of pressure). Normal, non-hypertensive blood pressure, by contrast, is found in the range 100-140 mm mercury over 60 to 90 mm mercury, though even here at the higher end of these ranges the blood pressures are indicative of what can be described as prehypertensive.

Chronic high blood pressure leads to a variety of ailments including aneurysms (i.e., rupture of blood vessels), heart disease, stroke (i.e., blockage of the blood supplies to the brain), and also kidney disease as well as reduction in life expectancy in general. Treatments can involve application of drugs and/or dietary modification and increased exercise. Exercise, BTW, can lead to non-chronic increases in blood pressure, which is normal, whereas chronic high blood pressure is not normal.

Links to terms of possible interest: Diastolic pressure, Hypertension, Prehypertension, Systolic Pressure

The above video provides a quick overview with consideration of hypertension.

Consequences of hypertension, with mention of Al Capone.