Heart disease is a term that can refer to several health conditions related to the cardiovascular system. Two of the most prevalent forms of heart disease in North America and Europe are heart failure and heart attacks. Medical researchers have developed several methods to treat these conditions, but 25.4 percent of the deaths in the United States every year are caused by heart disease.
For most people, preventative measures are the best ways to avoid the negative effects of heart disease. Some, however, have congenital conditions that require medical attention throughout life.

Heart Attacks--Heart attacks, technically referred to as myocardial infractions (MI) and acute myocardial infractions (AMI), occur when blood flow does not reach part of the heart.
This causes the heart’s cells to die, which can cause a variety of related health conditions for the person experiencing the attack. Heart attacks can cause death when not treated immediately.
Heart attacks usually occur because a blocked artery will not allow blood to flow into the heart. The resulting palpitations can cause significant pain.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack-The severity of a heart attack relates to the type of symptoms that a person experiences. Someone who has a mild heart attach might only feel a slight discomfort in the chest that might be mistaken for indigestion. Someone experiencing a massive heart, however, will usually experience intense pain in the chest and other parts of the body, including the jaw, teeth, arms, shoulders, and stomach.
Most people experiencing heart attacks feel pain for more than 20 minutes. For some, the pain recedes and returns.

Other common symptoms of a myocardial infarction include
• Coughing
• Anxiety
• Vomiting
• Nausea
• Fainting
• Extreme sweating
• Shortness of breath
• Heart palpitations

In some cases, people have heart attacks but never experience symptoms. These are known as silent heart attacks. They most commonly happen to elderly people, women, and diabetics.

Causes of Heart Attacks-Heart attacks usually occur because of plaque that builds in the arteries. This plaque, which primarily consists of cholesterol, blocks the artery, preventing blood flow. A heart attack can also occur when a blood clot created by cracked plaque in the artery completely blocks off the flow of blood.

Preventing Heart Attacks-There are several risk factors that increase the likeliness that a person will experience a heart attack. Most of these risk factors are easy to control. Others, such as aging and being male, are outside of a person’s control. Some of the most common risk factors for heart attacks include:

• Using tobacco products
• Eating a diet that is high in fat
• Having diabetes
• Having a family history of heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Chronic kidney disease
• Aging over 65 years

Individuals can prevent heart attacks by leading healthy lifestyles that include a well balanced diet and plenty of cardiovascular exercise. People should also avoid tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption. Note that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol daily could decrease one’s risk of having a heart attack. Moderate drinking is usually described as one or two drinks per day.

Receiving Treatment for a Heart Attack-After experiencing a heart attack, one should go to the hospital for medical attention. There is a high risk that heart attack patients could die of an irregular heartbeat within a few hours of the attack. Staying in a hospital makes it easier to detect and treat arrhythmia.
Angioplasty is commonly used to treat those who have had heart attacks. This method opens the arteries to prevent further blockages. Ideally, it should be performed within a couple hours of the heart attack. Coronary artery stents are also commonly used to keep arteries open. These area metal meshes that expand, keeping the artery open.
In some cases, coronary bypass surgery is necessary to prevent future heart attacks.
After having a heart attack, a patient should take a daily regimen of aspirin and clopidogrel. Doctors might also prescribed pain relievers.

Heart Failure-Heart failure occurs when your heart cannot pump a sufficient amount of blood to your body. Many people confuse heart attacks with heart failures. In actuality, though, the two can exist independently. In many cases, though, heart failure is a direct result of damage sustained during a heart attack.

Causes of Heart Failure-Heart failure is often caused by related illnesses such valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease. Any condition that degrades the heart’s performance can potentially lead to heart failure.

Symptoms of Heart Failure-Common symptoms of left-sided heart failure include:

• Wheezing
• Dizziness
• Confusion
• Shortness of breath
• Lethargy and fatigue
Common symptoms of right-sided heart failure include
• Swelling of the feet and hands
• The frequent need to urinate during the night
• Enlarged liver
• Swelling of the abdominal cavity

Treating Heart Failure-Although it might not be possible to completely reverse damage, there are treatment options that can help prevent further damage and decrease the negative effects of heart failure. There are lifestyle, drug, and surgical options.
Changing one’s lifestyle can help prevent future damage to the heart and improve signs of heart failure. This includes eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco products. Having one or two glasses of alcohol a day can improve one’s heart health, but over consumption has the opposite effect.

Drugs commonly prescribed to patients with heart failure include beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and oral loop diuretics. Individuals with heart failure caused by ischemic heart disease cannot reverse the damage that they have already experienced. Those who qualify may receive a heart transplant. If this is not a possibility, then the patient should consider palliative care.

Other Types of Heart Disease-While these are the most common forms of heart disease, there are others. These include inflammatory heart disease; hypertensive heart disease; cardiomyopathy; and cardiovascular disease. Recovering from these conditions requires help from a medical professional. In some cases, a patient’s best option is to stop the disease from progressing.