Information in simple English

what is heart disease?

Heart disease or cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to a group of illnesses affecting the heart and blood arteries.



The blood vessels are involved in a variety of cardiovascular disorders. Vascular diseases are what they're called.

  • Coronary artery disease CAD (also called coronary heart disease CHD and ischemic heart disease IHD) - accumulation of plaque in the arteries that provide oxygen-rich blood to the heart, may lead to heart attack.
  • Peripheral arterial disease PAD - a blood vessel disorder that causes leg pain while walking (claudication).
  • Cerebrovascular disease - a damage or deformation of the brain's blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. This may cause ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Renal artery stenosis RAS - narrowing of one or both of the renal arteries (paired arteries that supply blood to the kidney). This may obstruct blood flow to the target kidney, resulting in renovascular hypertension.
  • Aortic aneurysm - enlargement of aorta (largest artery of the human body) leading to abdominal, back or leg pain.

There are also many cardiovascular diseases that involve the heart.

  • Cardiomyopathy - the cardiac muscles become harden or grow weak to pump blood throughout the body, resulting in heart failure.
  • Hypertensive heart disease - cardiac illnesses caused by elevated blood pressure or hypertension lead to mortality.
  • Heart failure - the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood to the tissues to meet their metabolic requirements.Blood backs up and fluid builds up in the lungs, resulting in shortness of breath.
  • Pulmonary heart disease - a failure and enlargement at the right side of the heart with respiratory system involvement results in Right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH) or dilatation.
  • Cardiac arrhythmias or dysrhythmias - abnormalities of heart rhythm may lead to serious consequences as cardiac arrest or stoke.
  • Inflammatory heart disease:
    • Endocarditis - inflammation of the inner layer of the heart, the endocardium (a single layer of endothelial cell lining the chambers). Complications include material embolism from the vegetations, a leaky valve, a heart block, and ulcers surrounding the valve.
    • Inflammatory cardiomegaly - a medical condition involving enlargement of heart. This may cause obesity and coronary artery disease.
    • Myocarditis - inflammation of the myocardium (the muscular part of the heart), induces fast or irregular heart beats by reducing the heart's capacity to pump blood (arrhythmias).
    • Eosinophilic myocarditis - inflammation of the myocardium caused by pathologically activated eosinophilic white blood cells, weakens the heart, resulting in a lack of body supply. Causes clotting in the heart, leading to a stroke or heart attack.
  • Valvular heart disease:
    • Congenital heart disease CHD  - heart structure malformations existing at birth. Some abnormalities are not life-threatening, while complications from complex defects can be deadly.
    • Rheumatic heart disease - heart muscles and valves perpetually damage because of rheumatic fever, may cause major health issues, such as heart failure.