The Causes Of Heart Disease

Causes of Heart Disease

The causes of heart disease will vary depending on the type of heart disease.  If you are unsure about the type of heart disease you are concerned about then you should look at the different symptoms for the different types of heart disease.

The Causes Of Cardiovascular Heart Disease

Cardiovascular heart disease can refer to a range of problems with the heart or the blood vessels.  However, the term is generally used to refer to damage to the heart or blood vessels caused by atherosclerosis.  This is a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries.  The plaque buildup will thicken and stiffen the walls of the artery and this will inhibit the flow of blood through the artery to your tissues and organs.

Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of cardiovascular heart disease.  It is also a cause which can be corrected by looking at the root cause.  The root cause could include an unhealthy diet, being overweight, a lack of exercise and smoking.

The Causes Of Heart Arrhythmia

There are a number of common causes of arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythms including:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart defects such as congenital heart defects
  • High blood pressure
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Drug abuse
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Excessive use of caffeine or alcohol
  • Certain over the counter medications, prescription medications, herbal remedies and dietary supplements

A healthy person with a normal healthy heart is unlikely to suffer from a fatal arrhythmia without an external trigger such as an electrical shock or drug use.  This is primarily due to the person’s heart being free from abnormal conditions which have caused the arrhythmia like areas of scarred tissue.

However, if someone has a heart which is deformed or diseased the electrical impulses that help the heart work may not start properly or travel correctly.  This will increase the chances of arrhythmia.

The Causes Of Congenital Heart Defects

Heart defects will generally develop while the baby is still in the womb.  The defects can develop as the heart forms around a month after conception and change the flow of blood to the heart.  There are some medical conditions where genetics and medication can play a role in heart defects.

It is also possible for heart defects to form in adults.  When you age, the structure of the heart can change which will cause the heart defect.

Causes Of Cardiomyopathy

The causes of cardiomyopathy which is an enlarging or thickening of the heart muscles will depend on the type:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy – The most common cause of this type if unknown. It could be caused by a reduction in blood flow to the heart known as ischemic heart disease, infections, certain drugs or toxins.  It could also be genetic and inherited from a parent who suffers from this.  It is usually the left ventricle that enlarges or dilates.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – The most common cause of this type where the heart muscles become abnormally thick is genetics. It is also possible that this will develop over time due to aging and high blood pressure.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy – This is the least common type and will generally be caused when the heart muscle becomes less elastic or too rigid and occur for no known reason. It is possible that it can be caused by diseases such as connective tissue disorders and excessive iron buildups.  Some cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy can also cause this.

The Causes Of Heart Infections

Heart infections like endocarditis, myocarditis and pericarditis are caused by an irritant.  This irritant such as a virus, bacterium or chemical will cause the infection when it reaches your heart muscles.  The most common causes of these infections are:

  • Parasites
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses

The Causes Of Valvular Heart Disease

There are many different causes of disease which affect the valves in the heart.  It is possible to be born with valvular disease or the valves could be damaged by other conditions including:

  • Infections such as infectious endocarditis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Connective tissue disorders