Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD)
This is the condition that gives rise to Angina and Heart Attacks, It is the most common heart disease in the UK and occurs due to blockages within the heart arteries by fatty deposits called, "Plaques".
Risk factors for IHD include smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high levels of fat (cholesterol) within the blood. IHD can however also occur without any risk factors. Important symptoms include chest pain or breathlessness, particularly on exertion such as exercise.
Treatments for IHD vary from medications to prevent progression, to stents to open up blocked arteries through to procedures such as coronary bypass operations. The treatments required depend on the severity and extent of coronary disease.
Palpitations are the sensations of pounding or fluttering in the chest due to an abnormal heart rhythm. Palpitations are very common and can be due to many different heart rhythm problems which may be completely safe and benign or much more rarely can be more dangerous. The key to treatment for palpitations is the clinical assessment of the patient and the nature of the symptoms. Tests such as Holtor monitoring can be helpful to clarify the nature of heart rhythm disturbance (see tests)
Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart no longer works effectively as a pump. This can be because either the heart muscle is impaired and doesn't squeeze blood out of the heart efficiently or if the heart muscle is stiff and therefore doesn't fill with blood effectively. Symptoms of heart failure include breathlessness, ankle swelling, shortage of breath especially on lying flat or waking up in the night with breathlessness. One of the more common but often unrecognised symptoms of heart failure is general tiredness or lethargy.
Heart failure can be a very serious condition but fortunately modern treatment has vastly improved outcomes for patients with heart failure. Treatments range from tablet therapy, specialised pacemakers, stenting of coronary arteries and even cardiac transplantation.
This term applies to a wide range of conditions that effect the heart muscle. These can range in severity from very mild and benign to severe and life threatening. Often symptoms do not exist. The condition may cause blackouts, shortage of breath or even cardiac arrest. Some forms of cardiomyopathy run in the family and screening for family members of patients with some forms of cardiomyopathy may be recomended.
Hypertension means high blood pressure. Although often not associated with symptoms, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stoke as well as kidney failure. Management of high blood pressure is via lifestyle modification such as diet and exercise, as well as tablet therapy.