What is Heart Disease?

the heart
the heart. SEBASTIAN KAULITZKI/Getty Images

No other organ in the body has such a direct impact on every other organ as the heart. It is the heart’s job to pump blood, with its life-giving oxygen and nutrients, to all the tissues of the body. If this pump falters, vital organs like the brain and kidneys suffer. And if the heart stops working altogether death occurs within minutes. Life itself is completely dependent on the efficient operation of the heart.

This is what makes heart disease such a serious matter.

Heart disease comes in many varieties. Some heart disease affects the heart muscle, some affects the heart valves, some affects the heart’s electrical system, and some affects the coronary arteries. These different kinds of heart disease can affect the heart in several ways.

But the ultimate problem with all varieties of heart disease is that, in one way or another, they can disrupt the vital pumping action of the heart.

Here is a survey of heart disease in its many forms. By following the following links you can go as deeply as you want to in learning about the various types of heart disease. This survey is divided into three parts:

  • Part 1 - A 15-minute Primer on the normal heart and how it works.
  • Part 2 - Heart Disease In Depth - introduction to the major forms of heart disease, with links to in-depth coverage
  • Part 3 - How To Prevent Heart Disease - Many kinds of heart disease can be prevented, if you know what to do

    Part 1 - The Normal Heart - A 15-Minute Primer

    Here is a quick review of the normal heart, and how it works:

    Part 2 - Heart Disease in Depth

    Coronary Artery Disease and Heart Attacks

    Coronary artery disease damages the blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle.

    It is the most common form of heart disease in Western countries, and the most deadly. These articles will help you get started in learning what you should know.

    Heart Failure

    Heart failure can be the end result of many different types of heart disease - which makes heart failure a distressingly common problem. Many patients can live quite well with heart failure, however. They (and their doctors) will need to understanding the different types of heart failure, their causes, and how to choose the optimal treatments.

    Heart Valve Disease

    Valvular heart disease can lead to heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, and other problems. Here’s what you should know.

    Cardiac Arrhythmias

    Cardiac arrhythmias are actually quit common, and thankfully, most are benign. However, some cardiac arrhythmias can kill suddenly, and others, while not lethal, can disrupt your life. These articles will help you sort it all out.

    Women and Heart Disease

    Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Worse, the kind of heart disease women get, and the ways in which the womens' heart disease behaves, is often different than in men. You can find what you should know about heart disease in women here.

    Other Cardiovascular Conditions

    Part 3 - Preventing Heart Disease

    The Cardiac Risk Factors and Assessing Your Risk

    Knowing is half the battle. Start by measuring your risk of heart disease, then take steps to reduce your risk.

    Cholesterol and Triglycerides

    Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Here is what you need to know.

    Smoking and Heart Disease

    Smoking is a significant cause of heart attacks. Getting rid of the tobacco in your life is critical if you want to have a healthy heart.


    Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Properly diagnosing and adequately treating hypertension is important for reducing your risk of heart disease

    Diet and Heart Disease

    How is your diet related to heart disease? Read about it here:

    Exercise and Heart Disease

    Avoiding a sedentary life is crucial to reducing your risk of heart disease. Read about the kinds of exercise you should consider, how much you need.

    Control Your Blood Sugar

    Diabetes and metabolic syndrome greatly increase your risk of heart disease. Learn how you can reduce that risk.

    Stress and Heart Disease

    Stress does indeed play a role in in heart health, but it may surprise you to know what kind of stress is involved and why it has the effect it does. You can de-stress your way to a healthier heart.

    Continue Reading