diseases are also known as heart diseases. Cardiac
diseases is a very broad term for a number of conditions
that affect the heart and as of 2007, it is the one
of the leading cause of death in England, Wales and
the United States.
The most leading cause of cardiac disease is a
narrowing of the lumen of arteries which supply
blood to the heart, commonly called coronary artery
There are various other heart conditions that come
under the umbrella of cardiac diseases.
Types of Cardiac
* Cardiovascular diseases
A number of conditions that affect the heart itself
or any of the arteries or veins leading to and from
the heart are called cardiovascular diseases. Long
studies have suggested that women are more prone
to conditions that affect the blood vessels themselves
while men are more prone to conditions that affect
the heart muscles. Most common conditions that cause
cardiovascular diseases are:
a) High blood pressure
c) Increased fats (lipids) in blood
The most common type of cardiovascular disease
* Coronary heart disease
A disease of the heart itself where the arteries
supplying the heart muscles are clogged by atheromatous
An atheroma is a collection or a swelling on the
vessel wall composed of fats, cell debris, calcium,
connective fibrous tissues etc.
a) Angina - chest pain due to insufficient blood
supply to the heart
'Ischemic heart disease', is another term used
to denote a condition where blood supply to the
heart is reduced.
* Congenital heart disease
Structural problems of the heart present right
from birth are known as congenital heart disease.
Genetic defects are to blame for this condition.
The heart cannot function properly because it is
incompletely or improperly developed. There is an
abnormal flow of blood through the heart. There
occur abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias), structural
abnormalities and cardiomyopathies (abnormalities
of the heart muscles). Abnormal connections between
two arteries occurring outside the heart, valvular
defects, or presence of holes within the muscular
walls of the heart are some of the conditions frequently
found. Common conditions are:
a) Atrial septal defects (ASD): A hole in the septa
(membrane) dividing the atria (the upper chambers
of the heart) allows oxygen-rich blood from the
left atrium to flow into the right atrium instead
of flowing to the left ventricle as it should. Many
children with this defect show few symptoms, if
Most ASDs are small and need no treatment. Occasionally,
medium sized ASDs require surgical correction with
a catheter procedure.
b) Ventricular septal defects (VSD): A hole in
the membrane dividing the ventricles (lower chambers
of the heart) oxygen rich blood to flow from the
left ventricle into the right ventricle instead
of flowing into the aorta and out to the body as
it should. VSDs can be large or small.
Large VSDs overload the left side of the heart
and increase the pressures within the right side
of the heart and within the lungs. There is more
than usual volume of blood flowing into the lungs
and within the right atrium. As the load on the
heart increases, the patient can develop heart failure
(also called congestive heart failure). Increased
back-pressure on the lung can damage delicate arteries
in the lungs. Hence, large VSDs need to be surgically
repaired (open heart surgery) as soon as possible.
* Valvular heart disease:
Valves are flap-like structure present at the openings
of the atria into the ventricles, and at the openings
into the large blood vessels arising from the heart.
They prevent the back-flow of the blood as it passes
(or is pumped) through the heart chambers. Any structural
abnormalities of these valves bring about multifold
changes in the dynamics of blood flow.
Common terms for valvular defects seen are:
a) Stenosis: or narrowing of the lumen because
the valves do not open properly. This means that
the heart has to pump with added force to make the
blood pass through the lumen.
b) Atresia: this defect means that the valves do
not develop correctly. They are ill-formed and mostly
the lumen appears completely closed. So there is
no opening from which the blood can pass through.
c) Regurgitation: here the valves do not close properly.
Hence, there is regurgitation or back-flow of the
blood pumped, into the cambers.
The most common valvular defect encountered is:
Pulmonary valve stenosis.
Through this valve, the blood flows from the right
ventricle to the lungs where it picks up oxygen.
When the valve is stenosed, the severity ranges
from mild to severe. Mild forms require no treatment.
Just occasionally, an abnormal heart sound (murmur)
can be heard. Correction of the condition when necessary,
it done by a catheter procedure.
* Complex congenital heart defect:
The commonest complex congenital heart defect seen
worldwide is known as 'the Fallot's tetralogy'.
This defect has a combination of the following:
a) A large VSD
b) Right ventricular hypertrophy - the muscles of
the right ventricle enlarge due to the excess stress
of pumping more than usual blood volumes.
c) Overriding of the Aorta - the aorta is a large
vessel carrying blood from the left ventricle to
various body parts. Normally, its origin is in the
left ventricle only. In the Fallot's tetralogy,
the aorta is placed above the left as well as the
right ventricle as opposed to normal. Thus, impure
blood from the right ventricle gets mixed with the
pure (oxygenated) blood from the left ventricle.
d) Pulmonary valve stenosis - this occasionally
causes the presence of a murmur.
Cardiomyopathy means any disease of the heart muscles
themselves. The heart muscle is referred to as the
'myocardium'. Any condition that causes impaired
functioning of this muscle is considered as a cardiomyopathy.
The heart muscles become inflamed and don't work
as they should.
Common structural changes seen in the heart are:
Dilatation of heart muscles
Restricted contractility of the heart muscles
Increased (hypertrophy) size of the heart muscles.
Previous heart attacks, viral and bacterial infections
and many other conditions cause cardiomyopathies.
? Cardiomyopathies caused by outside factors
? Ischemic cardiomyopathy: means there is deficiency
of blood (oxygen) supply to the heart muscles themselves.
This is the most leading cause of cardiomyopathy
caused by coronary artery disease (CAD).
? Alcoholic cardiomyopathy: This is a form of dilated
cardiomyopathy. Toxins from alcohol directly attack
the heart muscle cells. Eventually, the heart is
unable to pump properly and there is heart failure.
? Hypertensive (high blood pressure) cardiomyopathy:
this is the most common cause of death in Western
? Congenital heart diseases
? Valvular cardiomyopathies
? Coronary artery disease
? Nutritional deficiencies causing cardiomyopathies.
? Metabolic diseases causing cardiomyopathies
? Cardiomyopathies caused by intrinsic factors:
weakness of the heart occurring form no identifiable
external cause. The major types are:
? Restrictive: least common cardiomyopathy. Ventricular
walls are stiff and occasionally thickened. Since,
for optimal filling of ventricles, they need to
be relaxed, this condition impairs normal filling.
? Dilated: this is most common form. The left ventricles
are commonly affected and they cannot pump blood
received with adequate force.
? Hypertrophic: the walls of the heart appear thicker,
and they obstruct the normal floe of blood. This
is mostly due to a genetic defect. It is a genetic
? Arrythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
(ARVC): scar tissues replace normal tissues due
to improper electrical circuits.
? Hypertensive (high blood pressure) cardiomyopathy
Is heart disease caused by high blood pressure.
High blood pressures increase the load acting on
heart. Over a period of time, the left ventricle
thickens and cannot pump sufficient blood. Factors
that cause this condition are
a) Coronary heart disease
b) Left ventricular hypertrophy
c) Arrhythmias (irregular heart beats)
d) Congestive heart failure
e) Hypertensive cardiomyopathy
? Inflammatory heart disease
Inflammation of the heart and the tissues surrounding
Any viral or bacterial infections can set off an
inflammatory heart disease in a susceptible person.
This inflammation can be either in the inner layer
of the heart (the endocardium) or in the muscular
part of the walls (myocardium). The conditions are
then called endocarditis or myocarditis respectively.
? Valvular heart disease:
Any disease that affects the valves can over a
prolonged period of time cause impaired functioning
of the heart.
Homeopathy is based on the principle that disease
is a total affliction of body. Moreover homeopathy
recognizes importance of the underlying causes such
as genetic and inherited factors as the root of
any ailment of the body. Homeopathic medicines prescribed
on such criteria plays a crucial role in management
of many deep-rooted, chronic, difficult diseases.