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Heart disease

Definition

Heart disease is any disorder that affects the heart's ability to function normally. Various forms of heart disease include:

Alternative Names

Cardiovascular disorders

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The most common cause of heart disease is a narrowing of or blockage in the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle (coronary artery disease). Some heart diseases are present at birth (congenital heart disease).

Other causes include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Abnormal heart valve function
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Weakening of the heart's pumping ability, often caused by infection or toxins (cardiomyopathy)

References

Criqui MH. Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 49.


Review Date: 10/5/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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