What are the four most common types of heart diseases?

The heart is the most pivotal organ of the human body. It supplies Oxygen and nutrients as well as collects metabolic waste such as carbon dioxide and toxins to bring it to the lungs and kidneys for removal from the body. It works tirelessly under the influence of the Autonomous Nervous System and pumps blood to each part of the body. 

Human heart is divided into four chambers, the right and left atria, and ventricles. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the body and pumps it to the right ventricle. The right ventricle then pumps it through the pulmonary artery to the lungs. The lungs oxygenate the blood and send it back to the left atrium via the pulmonary vein. The left atrium then pumps it to the left ventricle, and it supplies the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body through the mighty aorta.

Due to the amount of work it performs continuously and the stress it undergoes, the muscles of the heart become fatigued easily. As a result, a malfunction occurs and leads to persistent heart conditions. A lot of environmental factors such as living at high altitudes, extreme hot or colder regions, etc. as well as lifestyle choices such as alcoholism, smoking, high cholesterol diet, lack of physical exercise, etc., can lead to a malfunction and mostly chronic heart diseases. 

The four most common heart diseases are:
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Arrhythmia
  • Heart Valve Disease
  • Heart Failure
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD):

The main arteries that supply the blood to the heart muscles themselves are the right and left coronary arteries. When large amounts of plaque build-up inside the arteries, it reduces their width which affects the flow of blood to the heart. The limited flow makes the muscles work more vigorously and this leads to hypertension, shortness of breath, and even a heart attack.

Coronary Artery Disease can occur for several reasons, the most common being high cholesterol intake and consumption of unhealthy foods. Others include smoking and lack of exercise. Some chronic health conditions can also lead to CAD such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Thrombosis, etc.


When the heart pumps the blood through its four chambers and then to the vast network of blood vessels branching out through the body, it follows a steady rhythm. An average human heart beats 60-100 times per minute. Due to some underlying condition, if it beats in an irregular fashion and there is an inconsistency with the rate and rhythm of the beats, we term it arrhythmia.

If the heart is beating slower than normal, we call it bradycardia and if it beats faster than normal then it is known as tachycardia. The major causes of arrhythmia include a Heart attack, Coronary artery disease, Cardiomyopathy, Diabetes, High blood pressure, Severe viral/bacterial infection, etc. 

Heart Valve Disease:

The four chambers of the heart work in an orderly fashion to ensure the supply of adequate blood to the rest of the body. But these chambers have valves between them to control the flow and direction of the blood gushing through them. The four main valves are:

  • Tricuspid Valve – the three-lobed valve that allows deoxygenated blood to pass from the right atrium to the right ventricle.
  • Mitral (Bicuspid) Valve – the two-lobed valve that allows oxygenated blood to pass from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
  • Pulmonary Valve – valve on the pulmonary trunk that allows the pulmonary artery to take the deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle to the lungs.
  • Aortic Valve- the valve on the aorta that allows the left ventricle to pump the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.

The flaps of the valve open and close with each heartbeat. In case of disruption in the blood flow, symptoms of heart defect are seen, most likely due to malfunction of any of these valves. This condition can be congenital as well as due to old age. The most common signs of it include chest pain, heart murmur, abdominal swelling, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, swelling of feet and ankles, and fainting. The major heart valve defects are:

  • Regurgitation: The flaps of the valve fail to close properly resulting in leakage or reverse flow.
  • Stenosis: the flaps of the valve have become thick and fuse together leading to narrow opening and reduced blood flow.
  • Atresia: the valve hasn’t formed properly instead a solid layer of tissue blocks the flow of blood.

Any of these defects can cause serious complications such as Heart failure, Stroke, Blood clots, etc. and in worst-case scenarios, it may prove to be fatal.

Heart Failure:

The term heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart has stopped functioning completely, instead, it means that it isn’t working as efficiently as it should and is failing to compensate for the needs of the body. Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition where the muscles of the heart can no longer keep up with their workload.

At first, the heart tries to make up for the lack of function by enlarging and trying to pump faster. The body also tries to compensate by narrowing the blood vessels and keeping the blood pressure optimum. Also, it diverts the blood flow from the less important organs (such as the Kidneys) to more important organs (such as the Brain, Heart, Lungs). When these temporary measures seem ineffective and the heart failure worsens, the person starts to experience fatigue, shortness of breath and eventually requires immediate medical help. Most people have such conditions but are oblivious to them. Hence, the lack of knowledge and proper guidance in such cases can be catastrophic. At Vivid Medical Centre, we have a well-equipped Cardiovascular Department with efficient machines and qualified staff to assist and identify the problem at an early stage and avoid critical consequences later in life. We encourage people to get regular check-ups and ensure that they have a healthy body. So that, they can enjoy their life to the fullest without worrying about unpleasant revelations later.