disease affects the blood vessels and the heart. When a person learns they have
heart disease, it’s important for them to make lifestyle changes to slow the
progression of the disease. Heart disease can cause many potentially fatal
complications, if left untreated.
failure occurs when the heart cannot adequately pump blood throughout the body.
This can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, confusion, and the buildup of
fluid in the body, causing swelling.
heart attack occurs when the coronary arteries narrow so much that they cut off
blood supply to the heart. The heart cells begin to die as they are deprived of
oxygen. Symptoms include shortness of breath and severe chest pain that may
radiate to the back, jaw, or left arm.
When the heart isn’t
working effectively, blood clots are more likely to form in the blood vessels.
A stroke occurs when one of these clots lodges in a blood vessel in the brain
and cuts off blood flow. Stroke symptoms include:
on one side of the body
of balance or coordination
A pulmonary embolism
is similar to a stroke, but the blocked blood vessel is in the lungs instead of
the brain. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain on breathing, and
Cardiac arrest occurs
when the heart suddenly stops beating. It’s usually caused by an electrical
disturbance in the heart. Arrhythmias caused by heart disease can lead to
cardiac arrest. This will lead to death if not treated immediately.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
The same narrowing that
occurs in coronary artery disease can happen in the arteries that supply blood
to the arms and legs. The main symptom of PAD is severe leg pain when walking.
The long-term outlook
for heart disease patients depends upon many factors. These include: the type
of underlying heart disease, the person’s reaction to the medications, and the extent
and severity of impairment.
Heart disease is
considered a chronic condition, and there can be complications following
periods of medication-induced improvement. However, the long-term outlook for
people with heart disease is better each year because of the development of new
medications and treatment options.