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Men and Heart Disease

When you think of heart disease in men, you likely think of coronary artery disease (narrowing of the arteries leading to the heart), but coronary artery disease is just one type of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease includes a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart. They can include:

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Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are a feeling that your heart is beating too hard or too fast, skipping a beat, or fluttering. You may notice heart palpitations in your chest, throat, or neck. Heart palpitations can be bothersome or frightening. They usually aren't serious or harmful, though, and often go away on their own. Most of the time, they're related to stress and anxiety or to consumption of stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol. Palpitations also often occur during pregnancy. In rare cases,...

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  • Coronary artery disease (including heart attack)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
  • Pericardial disease
  • Aorta disease and Marfan syndrome
  • Vascular disease (blood vessel disease)

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. It is important to learn about your heart to help prevent heart disease. And, if you have heart disease, you can live a healthier, more active life by learning about your disease and treatments and by becoming an active participant in your care.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is atherosclerosis, or hardening, of the arteries that provide vital oxygen and nutrients to the heart.

 

Abnormal Heart Rhythms

The heart is an amazing organ. It beats in a steady, even rhythm, about 60 to 100 times each minute (that's about 100,000 times each day!). But, sometimes your heart gets out of rhythm. An irregular or abnormal heartbeat is called an arrhythmia. An arrhythmia (also called a dysrhythmia) can involve a change in the rhythm, producing an uneven heartbeat, or a change in the rate, causing a very slow or very fast heartbeat.

Heart Failure

The term "heart failure" can be frightening. It does not mean the heart has "failed" or stopped working. It means the heart does not pump as well as it should.

Heart failure is a major health problem in the U.S., affecting nearly 5 million Americans. About 550,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year. It is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65.

Heart Valve Disease

Your heart valves lie at the exit of each of your four heart chambers and maintain one-way blood-flow through your heart.

Examples of heart valve disease include mitral valve prolapse, aortic stenosis, and mitral valve insufficiency.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is a type of defect in one or more structures of the heart or blood vessels that occur before birth.

It affects about 8 out of every 1,000 children. Congenital heart defects may produce symptoms at birth, during childhood, and sometimes not until adulthood.

In most cases scientists don't know why they occur. Heredity and genetics may play a role, as well as exposure to the fetus during pregnancy to certain viral infections, alcohol, or drugs.

Cardiomyopathy or Enlarged Heart

Cardiomyopathies, also called an enlarged heart, are diseases of the heart muscle itself. People with cardiomyopathies have hearts that are abnormally enlarged, thickened, and/or stiffened. As a result, the heart's ability to pump blood is weakened. Without treatment, cardiomyopathies worsen over time and often lead to heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms.

WebMD Medical Reference

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