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Government Resources: Health, Disability, Safety, Nutrition and Fitness: Heart and Heart Disease

Heart Disease

If you're like most people, you think that heart disease is a problem for others. But heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S. It is also a major cause of disability. There are many different forms of heart disease. The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. This is called coronary artery disease and happens slowly over time. It's the major reason people have heart attacks.

Other kinds of heart problems may happen to the valves in the heart, or the heart may not pump well and cause heart failure. Some people are born with heart disease.

You can help reduce your risk of heart disease by taking steps to control factors that put you at greater risk:

Source: MedlinePlus

 

Congenital Heart Defect

A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart. It is present at birth. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. The defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins near the heart. They can disrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart. The blood flow can slow down, go in the wrong direction or to the wrong place, or be blocked completely.

 Doctors use a physical exam and special heart tests to diagnose congenital heart defects. They often find severe defects during pregnancy or soon after birth. Signs and symptoms of severe defects in newborns include

 •Rapid breathing

 •Cyanosis - a bluish tint to the skin, lips, and fingernails

 •Fatigue

 •Poor blood circulation

 Many congenital heart defects cause few or no signs and symptoms. They are often not diagnosed until children are older.

 Many children with congenital heart defects don't need treatment, but others do. Treatment can include medicines, catheter procedures, surgery, and heart transplants. The treatment depends on the type of the defect, how severe it is, and a child's age, size, and general health.

Source: MedlinePlus

Heart and Heart Disease: Men

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