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What is heart disease?

Heart diseases refer to a range of conditions that affect the heart and its blood vessels. Today, heart diseases are one of the most common causes of death and include conditions like arrhythmia, coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease. Heart attack and heart failure are two of the commonest types of heart diseases around the world.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Symptoms associated with an atherosclerotic (blood vessel narrowing) disease include:

  • Chest tightness, pain (common among men) and discomfort (common among women).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Chest pain radiating to the jaw, neck, back and lower abdomen
  • Numbness, pain and weakness in the arms and legs

Symptoms associated with arrhythmias are:

  • Fluttering feeling in the heart.
  • Palpitations and dizziness.
  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate).
  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate).
  • Breathlessness.

Symptoms associated with heart defects or heart failure are:

  • Pale, bluish skin colour in infants.
  • The infant may have poor weight gain due to shortness of breath while feeding, thus an aversion to food.
  • Swelling in the hands, legs and stomach.
  • One may easily feel tired after exercises or certain physical activities.

Symptoms associated with heart infections include:

  • Night sweats and chills.
  • Cough.
  • Heart murmurs.
  • Pain in the chest, abdomen, fingers and toes.

What are the main causes?

The causes of heart diseases differ according to the type of disease and may include:

  • Atherosclerotic heart disease: Unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, being overweight and smoking.
  • Arrhythmias: Congenital (present since birth) heart defects, diabetes, high blood pressure, drug abuse, smoking and stress.
  • Heart defects: Certain medications or health conditions of the pregnant mother or genetic factors affect the development of the foetal heart.
  • Heart infections: Caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites reaching the heart through the bloodstream. Rheumatic heart disease, syphilis, valvular heart diseases and surgeries of the heart or oral cavity make the heart more susceptible to infections.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

History and physical examination along with a number of investigations aid in diagnosing heart diseases.

Investigations include:

  • Blood test to assess cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Stress test.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG).
  • Echocardiogram (2D Echo).
  • Tilt tests.
  • Electrophysiologic tests.
  • Coronary angiogram.
  • CT (computed tomography) scan.

Treatment of heart diseases involves a number of lifestyle changes apart from medications. Avoid smoking and drinking excess alcohol.

Your doctor will advise you to eat a low-fat diet and indulge in exercises or walk for at least 30 minutes every day. Medications will be required in order to lower high blood pressure and reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Depending on the type and extent of disease, your doctor may advise surgery. Blockages in the coronary arteries of the heart might need placement with a metal stent (angioplasty) or creation of a new pathway for the blood vessels (bypass surgery) by placing a clear blood vessel from the leg or the chest region (graft).

  1. Pain in your feet could be a red flag for heart health
  2. Medicines for Heart Disease

Medicines for Heart Disease

Medicines listed below are available for Heart Disease. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine NamePack SizePrice (Rs.)
XtorXtor 10 Mg Tablet42
AtherochekAtherochek 10 Mg Tablet109
LiponormLiponorm 10 Mg Tablet40
ClopitorvaClopitorva 10 Mg/75 Mg Capsule143
AtocorAtocor 10 Mg Tablet66
LipicureLipicure 10 Mg Tablet138
AstinAstin 10 Mg Tablet45
TonactTonact 10 Tablet71
Tonact TgTonact Tg 10 Mg Tablet264
AztorAztor 10 Tablet72
AtorvaAtorva Tablet72
Ecosprin Av CapsuleEcosprin-AV 150 Capsule36
FibrovasFibrovas 10 Mg/160 Mg Tablet140
StorvasStorvas 10 Tablet72
PolytorvaPolytorva 10 Mg/150 Mg/2.5 Mg Kit84
Sorbitrate HF SORBITRATE HF 20/37.5MG TABLET 10S49
Potrate MPotrate M 375 Mg/1100 Mg Syrup103
AtorvastatinAtorvastatin 10 Mg Tablet5
AtorzapAtorzap 10 Mg Tablet63

Do you or anyone in your family have this disease? Please do a survey and help others


  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; About Heart Disease
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; One in five women in the United States die from heart disease. But there’s a lot you can do to protect your heart.
  3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Heart Disease Fact Sheet
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; How to Prevent Heart Disease
  5. National Organization for Rare Disorders. Endocarditis, Infective. [Internet]

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