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Health Illustrated Encyclopedia Multimedia - Disease

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Heart disease

Definition

Heart disease is any disorder that affects the heart's ability to function normally. Various forms of heart disease include:

Alternative Names

Cardiovascular disorders

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The most common cause of heart disease is a narrowing of or blockage in the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle (coronary artery disease). Some heart diseases are present at birth (congenital heart disease).

Other causes include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Abnormal heart valve function
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Cardiomyopathy - weakening of the heart's pumping ability, often caused by heart disease, viral infection, or toxins

References

Goldman L. Approach to the patient with possible cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 48.


Review Date: 11/14/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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