The pericardium is a sac that encompasses the heart. Pericardial disease is inflammation (pericarditis), stiffness (constrictive pericarditis), or fluid accumulation (pericardial effusion) of the pericardium. Pericardial disease can be caused by many things such as occurring after a heart attack.
Congenital heart disease is a form of heart disease that develops before birth. Congenital heart disease is an extremely broad term. However, these diseases usually affect the formation of the heart muscle, chambers, or valves. A few examples include coarctation or a narrowing of a section of the aorta; atrial or ventricular septal defect is referred to as holes in the heart. Congenital heart disease should be classified more accurately as an inborn defect that occurs in around 1% of births. Congenital heart disease may be inherited (heredity), or caused by certain infections such as German measles contracted while pregnant. However, researchers are currently studying factors that may cause congenital heart disease.
Heart failure is another type of heart disease characterized by the heart’s inability to effectively pump enough blood to the body’s organs and tissues. When the body’s vital organs do not receive enough blood flow certain signs and symptoms can occur such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid retention. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure that leads to fluid buildup in the body. It is important to note that not all heart failure is congestive. Heart failure may result from other cardiovascular diseases such as cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease. Heart failure may come on suddenly or develop over many years.
The month of February is the National Heart Disease awareness month. However, heart disease awareness should be each and every day. With staggering statistics, awareness begins with understanding the different types of heart disease. A diet and lifestyle that is conducive to heart health can mean the difference between life and being a statistic.