At Samuel Family Cardiology, our team of experienced and skilled cardiologists treats a variety of heart conditions or heart diseases. These conditions all impact the functioning of the heart in different ways and need specialized treatment plans focused on improving the heart’s ability to work efficiently.
Heart disease can be a worrying problem, but knowing what is happening within your body and devising a personalized treatment plan to address concerns can go a long way to put your mind at rest.
Knowing how the heart functions can help you understand the various types of heart conditions better.
The heart is divided into four chambers. There are two upper chambers - left and right atria; and two lower chambers - left and right ventricles. With every heartbeat, a two-part pumping action pushes blood from the atria to the ventricles and the rest of the body.
Let’s look at what aspects are involved in this pumping action.
As blood collects in the atria (upper chamber), the electrical signals in the heart cause both the right and left atria to contract. This pushes the blood to the ventricles.
When the ventricles are full of blood, the heart's electrical signals cause the lower chambers to contract, causing the pulmonary and aortic valves to open. The blood is then pushed from the right ventricle into the lungs to pick up oxygen.
Next, the oxygen-rich blood flows from the left ventricle to the heart and other parts of the body through the arteries.
Once the blood moves into the aorta and the pulmonary arteries, the cycle begins again. This process occurs with every single beat of the heart.
Heart conditions arise when the smooth functioning of this process of the heart is interrupted or hampered in any way. Here are some of the most commonly seen heart conditions we treat at Samuel Family Cardiology.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is caused when the heart’s blood vessels - the coronary arteries - become narrowed or blocked, leading to a limited blood supply to the heart. CAD is one of the most often seen heart problems in patients.
It can result in a decrease in blood flow to the heart muscle, limiting its oxygen supply. The disease may start due to atherosclerosis, a condition that results in the hardening of the arteries.
Coronary heart disease can cause pain in your chest, called angina, or lead to a heart attack.
When the pattern of your heartbeat is not regular, the condition is called arrhythmia. Arrhythmia may cause your heartbeat to be too slow, too fast, or irregular.
The electrical system within the heart muscle helps to stimulate the heartbeat. If the electrical signals are interrupted or disturbed, it can change the pattern of your heartbeat, making it beat too quickly (tachycardia), too slowly (bradycardia), or in an irregular way.
Arrhythmia can feel like a fluttering or racing heart and are usually harmless or cause minor discomfort. However, for some people, arrhythmias can cause potentially life-threatening symptoms.
The standard resting heart rate ranges between 60 to 100 beats a minute. If you have an arrhythmia, your heart rate may be less than 60 beats per minute or more than 100 beats per minute.
Heart failure occurs when your heart cannot pump blood as well as it should to meet your body's needs. If the heart’s pumping action can’t work effectively, your heart muscle can’t meet your body’s demand for blood and oxygen, and your body develops symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath.
The condition is called heart failure because of the failure of your heart to work efficiently.
It is usually caused by CAD, but it can also happen because you have other conditions, such as thyroid disease, high blood pressure, heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), etc.
There are four valves in your that open and close to direct blood flow between the heart’s chambers, lungs, and blood vessels. These valves open and close to regulate the flow of blood through the heart.
If a valve is unable to open and close properly due to an abnormality, it may block blood flow, or blood can leak into the wrong chamber. Such problems with the valves can increase your heart's workload and put extra strain on your heart muscle.
There are two types of heart valve disease:
Endocarditis - It is caused by the presence of bacteria that enters the heart through the blood. It can be treated with antibiotics. However, endocarditis can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Rheumatic heart disease - It develops when the heart muscles are damaged or weakened due to rheumatic fever.
Cardiomyopathy causes the structure of the myocardium (heart muscle) to change. The heart muscle may thicken, stiffen, or thin out, reducing its ability to pump blood. The condition can also cause the heart to enlarge to an abnormal size.
Genetic heart conditions may cause cardiomyopathy, reactions to certain drugs or toxins (such as alcohol), or infections from a virus. Sometimes, chemotherapy may cause cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy can also cause internal bleeding or result in blood collecting in the lungs. Both these cases are critical and need immediate medical intervention.
Cardiomyopathy worsens over time and weakens your heart, causing fatigue, shortness of breath, and pressure in the chest. However, with treatment, its progression can be slowed and help you improve the quality of your life.
In severe cases, cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.
Congenital heart disease happens when something goes wrong while the heart forms in a baby still in the womb. Heart abnormality sometimes leads to problems right after birth, but other times there aren't any symptoms until you become an adult.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 4 babies diagnosed with congenital heart disease have critical conditions requiring surgery or other procedures in their first year of life. However, early detection and treatment can help children have active and healthy lives.
Heart abnormality can lead to problems immediately after birth, but some congenital problems may not be detected until adulthood.
Septal abnormalities or holes in the wall separating the left and right sides of the heart are among the most common congenital heart problems. The condition can be treated with a surgical procedure.
Another type of abnormality is called pulmonary stenosis. This occurs when a narrow valve causes a decrease in the flow of blood to the lungs. In such cases, a valve replacement procedure may be performed.
Congenital heart problems can affect the heart’s walls, valves, or blood vessels. Treatment usually depends on the type and severity of the defect and can include medication, implanted devices (pacemakers), catheter-based procedures, or open heart surgery.
Dr. John Samuel and Dr. Paulraj Samuel have extensive experience in treating a wide range of heart conditions, including hypertension, vascular diseases, atherosclerosis, heart failure, and more. During your consultation, they take the time to understand your unique history and needs and then create a targeted treatment plan to reduce the likelihood of any heart condition.
To schedule a cardiology consultation with one of our experienced cardiologists, please contact us at 281-446-2999 or contact us online.
Cherish your life, for it is precious! We look forward to helping you achieve optimal heart health.