Name and describe common examples of disorders involving the heart.
Cardiovascular disease takes many forms, a couple of common disorders are as follows: Congestive heart failure is a hugely common disease process whereby the heart is failing as a pump. The main function of the myocardium is to pump oxygen rich blood to the body as a whole. When the pump (heart) is defective, blood regresses or "backs up" into the organ. This causes pulmonary congestion and leads to shortness of breath. The person may suffer from dyspnea at rest or when exerting themselves (dyspnea on exertion, DOE).
A second very common disorder of the myocardium is the heart murmur. Heart murmurs are heard or auscultated by the trained physician or nurse. They are distinct sounds made by the flow of the blood as it travels through the heart muscle. Most murmurs are insignificant causing no real compromise in cardiac function. Other murmurs can be a real concern because of the fluid dynamics as the blood makes its way through the heart. Murmurs are classified as being systolic or diastolic and are graded by the health care practitioner.
There are many disorders of the heart. Here are a few more:
- Heart Block or AV (atrioventricular) Block- When a person has this heart disorder it means that the heart is beating too slow because the electrical signals that tell the heart to contract are blocked, either entirely or partially. The block occurs between the upper chambers of the heart and the lower chambers of the heart.
- Sick Sinus Syndrome-Sick Sinus Syndrome occurs when the sinus node does not work properly. The sinus node contains pacemaker cells which are responsible for pace and rhythm. The heart may beat too fast or too slow and can be caused by a defect in the heart itself or other problems going on within the body.
- Long QT Syndrome-Long QT Syndrome is a disorder of the electrical system of the heart. It is caused by a dysfunction of the cells in the ion channels and causes abnormal heartbeat and fainting. It may also cause sudden and unexplained death in children and adults, although it is not certain.
There are over a dozen disorders which affect the heart and it wouldn’t be possible to explain all of them here. A few disorders that can lead to fatal consequences are:
Atrial Fibrillation: This causes the heartbeat to be irregular and rapid, commonly reaching 300 beats a minute. Although that would not kill a person this disorder leads to other rhythm problems, chronic fatigue and congestive heart failure. It also increases the chances of having a stroke to a large extent.
Ventricular Tachycardia: This is a serious heart disease and requires prompt medical attention. Medication with radio frequency ablation and surgery are used to treat this. It requires monitoring and treatment as it can lead to the heart stopping to function.
Myocardial Infarction: This is caused when the arteries are clogged, reducing or even stopping the flow of blood to the heart muscle. A lack of oxygen kills the heart muscles and it can no longer pump blood to the various organs of the body.