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What is Heart Disease?

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Updated November 13, 2011

The heart is the organ that pumps blood, with its life-giving oxygen and nutrients, to all tissues of the body. If the pumping action of the heart becomes inefficient, vital organs like the brain and kidneys suffer. And if the heart stops working altogether, death occurs within minutes. Life itself is completely dependent on the efficient operation of the heart.

There are many kinds of heart disease, and they can affect the heart in several ways. But the ultimate problem with all varieties of heart disease is that, in one way or another, they can disrupt the vital pumping action of the heart.

Heart Disease - A Quick Primer

How the heart works - a 15 minute primer
A quick review of the heart and how it works

A brief survey of common heart problems
A survey of the common heart problems: valvular heart disease, heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), coronary artery disease, and heart arrhythmias.

Heart Disease in Depth

Coronary Artery Disease
Surviving and thriving after you have coronary artery disease means both you and your doctor have to do the right things. Here's what you need to know about coronary artery disease, angina, and heart attacks.

Heart Failure
Study after study show two things: 1) receiving appropriate treatment for heart failure makes you feel better and live longer, and 2) many doctors fail to give the appropriate therapy. Here's what you need to know.

Heart Rhythm Problems
A primer on the cardiac arrhythmias - PVCs, atrial fibrillation, SVT, IST, and other heart arrhythmias - their causes, the symptoms they produce, and how they should be treated.

Cholesterol and Triglyceride Disorders
High cholesterol and high triglycerides, good cholesterol and bad cholesterol -they're important but confusing. We try to straighten it all out here.

Women and Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Worse, the kind of heart disease women get, and the ways in which the womens' heart disease behaves, is often different than in men. You can find what you should know about heart disease in women here.

Miscellaneous Heart Problems
Articles on miscellaneous topics including the dysautonomias, pericarditis, valvular heart disease, and others.

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