Heart disease is an overall term for a range of conditions that affect your heart such as:
Atherosclerosis (also called coronary artery disease)
This is the most common type of heart disease. It happens when cholesterol and other material called plaque builds up on the inner walls of your arteries. This build up, called atherosclerosis, causes your arteries to narrow making it difficult for blood to flow through the arteries and reach your heart. When this happens, your heart doesn’t get the blood and oxygen it needs. A coronary calcium screening can help detect the amount of plaque in your body and your risk for heart attack before it happens.
Chest pain and heart attack (chest pain is also called angina)
This happens when blood flow is blocked from reaching part of your heart. This deprives your heart of the oxygen the blood carries, and without oxygen your heart starts to die. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of heart attack and seek treatment immediately.
Heart failure (also called congestive heart failure)
This happens when your heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should. While there is no cure for heart failure, the right care can help you manage and improve your symptoms so you can take part in many of the activities you enjoy. The key is to know the symptoms and seek treatment early.
This is caused by an abnormal or irregular heart rhythm.
Heart valve problems
This happens when the valves in your heart either do not open enough to let blood flow through or the valves let blood leak through.
Vascular disease affects your arteries and/or veins. Common conditions we treat include:
Carotid artery disease
Your carotid arteries are the two large blood vessels in your neck. These arteries carry blood to your brain. Carotid artery disease happens when these arteries become narrow. If a blood clot sticks in the narrowed arteries, blood doesn’t reach your brain. This is one of the causes of a stroke.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) or peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
This happens when the arteries and veins outside of the heart become narrow and affect blood flow. It is most common in the legs but can also occur in the stomach, arms and neck. If you have peripheral artery disease (PAD) in your legs, symptoms include feeling pain while you walk that goes away when you rest. This is a circulatory disease, and sometimes referred to as ‘poor circulation’.
Peripheral venous disease
Valves inside your veins open and close to control blood flow. When the valves are open, blood flows through your veins. When valves close, this keeps your blood flowing in one direction through your veins. With peripheral venous disease, your valves are weakened or damaged and cannot close completely. This allows your blood to flow in both directions instead of only one direction. When this happens, your blood pools causing swelling in your veins and your blood moves slower through your veins, which can cause blood clots.
The aorta is your body’s main artery that carries blood from your heart throughout your body. An aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area or bulging in this artery. It can happen anywhere in the body but is most common in the stomach (abdominal aortic aneurysm) or the upper body (thoracic aortic aneurysm). The size of the aneurysm and how fast it is growing determines your treatment plan. Aortic aneurysms can cause blood clots that can break free from the aneurysm and flow throughout your body. If the aneurysm bursts, it can cause severe bleeding that can lead to death.
Varicose veins are enlarged veins, generally in your legs or feet. For many, it is a mild irritation and cosmetic concern. But, for others varicose veins can cause ongoing pain and lead to serious problems.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Blood clots in the veins, also called deep vein thrombosis, can be life threatening. These blood clots often occur in the legs. Symptoms include leg swelling, pain and tenderness.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)
This happens when the walls of your veins or the valves in your leg veins are not working properly. This makes it difficult for blood to return to your heart from your legs. The condition will only get worse over time, so it is important to see your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Swelling in the lower legs and ankles
- Pain, aching and tiredness in your legs
- New varicose veins
- Skin that looks leathery