The 411 on Heart Diseases II
Cardiomyopathy is a serious disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn’t work as well as it should. There may be multiple causes including viral infections.
Cardiomyopathy can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary cardiomyopathy can’t be attributed to a specific cause, such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, artery diseases or congenital heart defects.
Secondary cardiomyopathy is due to specific causes. It’s often associated with diseases involving other organs as well as the heart. There are three main types of cardiomyopathy — dilated, hypertrophic and restrictive.
Congestive Heart Failure:
A common form of heart failure that results in a patient retaining excessive fluid, often leads to swelling of the legs and ankles and congestion in the lungs.
Congenital Heart Disease:
Congenital means inborn or existing at birth. Among the terms you may hear are congenital heart defect, congenital heart disease and congenital cardiovascular disease. The word “defect” is more accurate than “disease.” A congenital cardiovascular defect occurs when the heart or blood vessels near the heart don’t develop normally before birth
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It’s defined in an adult as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mm Hg systolic pressure or greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). High blood pressure directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease (which leads to heart attack) and stroke, especially along with other risk factors.
High blood pressure can occur in children or adults, but it’s more common among people over 35. It’s particularly prevalent in African-Americans, middle-aged and elderly people, obese people, heavy drinkers and women who are taking birth control pills. It may run in families, but many people with a strong family history of high blood pressure never have it. People with diabetes mellitus, gout or kidney disease are more likely to have hypertension.
Syncope is temporary loss of consciousness and posture, described as “fainting” or “passing out.” It’s usually related to temporary insufficient blood flow to the brain. It’s a common problem, accounting for 3 percent of emergency room visits and 6 percent of hospital admissions.