The 7 most common types of cardiovascular disease (and symptoms)

According to the World Health Organization (2017), cardiovascular disease is a collection of heart and vascular disorders that are currently the leading cause of death worldwide. These diseases cause a higher number of deaths in low-income countries (at least three quarters of deaths).

In this article we will see what are the 7 most common types of cardiovascular disease, As well as their main symptoms and risk factors.

    How is cardiovascular disease defined?

    Cardiovascular disease, also called “heart disease”, is defined as a group of disorders that affect the cardiovascular system. The latter is responsible for transporting blood from the heart to the circuit of elastic tubes called blood vessels; where different types of veins, arteries, arterioles and capillaries are included.

    They can start in different parts of the cardiovascular system. In other words, that is to say they can manifest directly in the heart (cardiac type) or they can be peripheral, Which means that they are present in the surrounding organs. In addition, cardiovascular disease can occur all at once or develop chronically. For the above, cardiovascular disease has been divided into several types.

    7 types of cardiovascular disease and their symptoms

    Usually, the pathological activity of the blood vessels and the heart does not show any previous symptoms, although the disease has started to develop. In other words, cardiovascular disease they can have asymptomatic phases. Likewise, they usually become visible until an attack on the heart, brain, or nearby organs occurs.

    The general symptoms of the latter are persistent pain in the chest, arms, left shoulder, jaw or back (both are more common in women). This pain may be accompanied by difficulty breathing (dyspnea), nausea or vomiting.

    Following the data provided by the World Health Organization (2018), we will describe below the 7 main types of cardiovascular disease: hypertension, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart failure, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathies.

    1. High blood pressure

    Arterial hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, Occurs when pressure levels indicate a minimum systolic pressure of 140 mmHg; or 90 mmHg diastolic pressure.

    The above values ​​indicate that blood is not flowing properly and smoothly through the vessels, which can lead to a heart attack. Some symptoms are headache, lightheadedness or lightheadedness, rash, vision and hearing disturbances, among others.

    However, as we said above, many people do not have any signs or symptoms, until these result in a medical complication. High blood pressure is considered a type of chronic cardiovascular disease, which is also an important precursor to other more serious cardiovascular diseases or events.

    2. Coronary heart disease

    It is also known as myocardial infarction. In that case the blood vessels that carry blood to the heart are affected. It is characterized by a narrowing of the latter, which prevents enough blood and oxygen from reaching the muscle pump.

    The narrowing of the blood vessels is usually caused by hardening of the arteries, such as consequence of the accumulation of fat and other substances. Symptoms include severe chest discomfort, pain associated with heavy physical or emotional activity, a feeling of heaviness and fatigue.

    3. Cerebrovascular disease

    In this case, the vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the brain are also affected. This can cause permanent or temporary damage to the brain.

    When the disease occurs suddenly, it can also be called a stroke and is usually caused by intracerebral bleeding or a blood clot deposited in the brain. Depending on the specific area can cause blindness, dizziness, ataxia, visual disturbances, amnesia, dysphagia, urinary incontinence, mutism, hemiplegia, aphasia, among other manifestations related to the brain activity.

    Cardiovascular disease can lead to cerebrovascular accidents (stroke), which consist of disruption of blood flow and oxygen that travels to the brain as a result of tissue loss in the latter. Along with coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease is the cause of the highest number of deaths in the world.

      4. Heart failure

      Heart failure is characterized by difficulty for the muscle pump (heart) to pump blood regularly. It is also known as congestive heart failure. Symptoms of heart failure include tachycardia, shortness of breath, and dyspnea (difficulty breathing). Heart failure can also be caused by other illnesses such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, or obesity.

      This disease, in turn, is divided into different types based on their particular characteristics. For example, it can manifest itself as an accumulation of fluid in the lungs which mainly generates dyspnea; or in the abdomen, which causes fluid retention and swelling. In the specific case of the heart, this can occur due to a lack of contraction of the left ventricle or a lack of filling of the left ventricle.

      5. Rheumatic heart disease

      Rheumatic heart disease it comes from inflammation caused by rheumatic fever (A pathological response of the body to infections caused by strep bacteria). The main feature of rheumatic heart disease is the existence of damage to the heart valves and myocardium. In other words, it manifests as damage to the heart valves, which occurs as a result of scarring caused by rheumatic fever. The latter, rheumatic fever, is particularly common in children living in very poor areas.

      Its main symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain, constant fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and fainting.

      6. Congenital heart disease

      The main feature of congenital heart disease, as the name suggests, is the existence of heart defects that occur from birth. It can be cyanotic or non-cyanotic, depending on whether it is also manifested by a lack of oxygen. Symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the development of the same condition. Some of the congenital conditions that can be accompanied by heart disease are Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, Turner syndrome, trisomy 12, among others.

      7. Cardiomyopathies

      Cardiomyopathies are acquired diseases that arise directly in the heart, also known as heart muscle or myocardium. They can be caused by difficulty in performing contractions or relaxations, which prevents the heart from pumping blood properly.

      This difficulty is in turn a manifestation of impaired heart function. Therefore, cardiomyopathies greatly increase the chances of suffering from a myocardial infarction. Some of the more common cardiomyopathies are dilated, hypertrophic, and restrictive cardiomyopathy. The most common symptoms these are dyspnea, irregular palpitations and heart failure.

      8. Other types

      Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are also considered cardiovascular diseases. They consist of the formation of clots in the blood vessels of the veins of the legs, which come off easily and move to the heart or lungs. Among its main symptoms, there is severe pain in one or both legs. severe difficulty breathing and a high likelihood of having a heart attack.

      Main risk factors

      risk factors are the circumstances that increase the likelihood of developing a health problem. These are situations that can be detected even before the signs and symptoms appear, preventing the development of various sufferings. In the case of cardiovascular disease, some of the risk factors are high blood pressure, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and a history of cardiovascular disease.

      The risk factors related to habits and lifestyle include harmful consumption of tobacco and alcohol, lack of physical activity, unbalanced diet. All of these factors are also considered “intermediate risk factors” because they can lead to high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, overweight and obesity.

      Prevention and treatment

      Medical research into cardiovascular disease has shown that reducing a diet high in salt, consuming fruits and vegetables, being physically active, and reducing tobacco and alcohol consumption significantly reduce the risk of them. develop. The latter with prescription of pharmacological treatments that help control high blood pressure, diabetes, blood clotting or any of the possible causes.

      also surgery may be necessary which acts on coronary arteries or blocked arteries; or even a heart transplant. Among the medical devices used to regulate the activity of the nervous system are valve replacements to encourage artificial respiration, pacemakers, or certain plaques in the chambers of the heart.

      Bibliographical references:

      • World Health Organization (2018). Descriptive note. Cardiovascular illnesses. Accessed July 3, 2018.Available at
      • World Health Organization (2018). Health problems. Cardiovascular illnesses. Accessed July 3, 2018.Available at

      Leave a Comment