Your heart is a complex organ with a demanding job. Each day, your heart may beat 100,000 times or more. Blood vessels, special cells that carry electrical signals, and valves must work properly for the heart to keep working properly day after day.
When they don’t, they may cause these common heart problems:
Coronary heart disease
A network of arteries in your heart – the coronary arteries – keeps heart muscle supplied with blood. A substance called plaque can build up in the walls of these arteries, reducing the bloodflow through them.
If your heart becomes starved for blood, it may cause a type of pain or discomfort in the chest called angina. If you have angina, it’s a sign that you may be at higher risk of a heart attack. If a clot forms in a narrowed artery and blocks the bloodflow, it can trigger a heart attack. A common cause of death in the United States, heart attacks require treatment in an emergency room.
Heart rhythm disorders
A system of special cells runs through your heart, carrying electrical signals. These signals cause the heart’s chambers to contract in the right order and at the right speed. This moves the blood properly through the organ and out to your body.
Sometimes, though, the heart doesn’t beat at the right speed or with the proper motion. For example, your heart may beat too fast or slow. Another problem, called atrial fibrillation, causes signals to pass through the heart in a disorderly manner. The heart can’t pump blood properly, and it pools within the organ. The blood may form clots, which can travel out of the heart and trigger a stroke.
In some cases, heart rhythm problems are treated in a heart hospital.
Four valves in your heart act as doorways between the heart’s chambers that keep blood flowing in the proper direction. If a valve doesn’t close properly, blood may flow backward instead of continuing through the heart like it should. And if a valve becomes thickened or stiff, it may not let enough blood pass through as the heart beats.
Some valve problems develop in childhood or adulthood, but sometimes babies are born with these issues. In some cases, a valve needs to be replaced with a surgical procedure.
This occurs when the heart can no longer pump enough blood. Coronary heart disease, valve disease, and heart rhythm problems can lead to heart failure. In some cases, heart failure is treated in a cardiology hospital.
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center has been providing top-notch cardiology care for more than four decades. We provide a full range of heart care, from diagnosing heart problems to open heart surgery to cardiac rehabilitation. To find a Los Robles Hospital physician who specializes in heart care, contact Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center toll-free at (877) 888-5746.