Heart Disease Causes

Heart Disease Causes

How the heart works

Your heart is a pump. It’s a muscular organ about the size of your fist, situated slightly left of center in your chest. Your heart is divided into the right and the left side. The division protects oxygen-rich blood from mixing with oxygen-poor blood. Oxygen-poor blood returns to the heart after circulating through your body.

  • The right side of the heart, comprising the right atrium and ventricle, collects and pumps blood to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries.
  • The lungs refresh the blood with a new supply of oxygen. The lungs also breathe out carbon dioxide, a waste product.
  • Oxygen-rich blood then enters the left side of the heart, comprising the left atrium and ventricle.
  • The left side of the heart pumps blood through the aorta to supply tissues throughout the body with oxygen and nutrients.

Heart valves

Four valves within your heart keep your blood moving the right way by opening only one way and only when they need to. To function properly, the valve must be formed properly, must open all the way and most close tightly so there’s no leakage. The four valves are:

  • Tricuspid
  • Mitral
  • Pulmonary
  • Aortic


A beating heart contracts and relaxes in a continuous cycle.

  • During contraction (systole), your ventricles contract, forcing blood into the vessels to your lungs and body.
  • During relaxation (diastole), the ventricles are filled with blood coming from the upper chambers (left and right atria).

Electrical system

Your heart’s electrical wiring keeps it beating, which controls the continuous exchange of oxygen-rich blood with oxygen-poor blood. This exchange keeps you alive.

  • Electrical impulses begin high in the right atrium and travel through specialized pathways to the ventricles, delivering the signal for the heart to pump.
  • The conduction system keeps your heart beating in a coordinated and normal rhythm, which keeps blood circulating.

Various heart disease causes

The causes of heart disease vary by type of heart disease.

Causes of cardiovascular disease

While cardiovascular disease can refer to different heart or blood vessel problems, the term is often used to mean damage to your heart or blood vessels by atherosclerosis (ath-ur-o-skluh-ROE-sis), a buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries. Plaque buildup thickens and stiffens artery walls, which can inhibit blood flow through your arteries to your organs and tissues.

Atherosclerosis is also the most common cause of cardiovascular disease. It can be caused by correctable problems, such as an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking.

Causes of heart arrhythmia

Common causes of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or conditions that can lead to arrhythmias include:

  • Heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine
  • Drug abuse
  • Stress
  • Some over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, dietary supplements and herbal remedies
  • Valvular heart disease

In a healthy person with a normal, healthy heart, it’s unlikely for a fatal arrhythmia to develop without some outside trigger, such as an electrical shock or the use of illegal drugs. That’s primarily because a healthy person’s heart is free from any abnormal conditions that cause an arrhythmia, such as an area of scarred tissue.

However, in a heart that’s diseased or deformed, the heart’s electrical impulses may not properly start or travel through the heart, making arrhythmias more likely to develop.

Causes of congenital heart defects

Heart defects usually develop while a baby is in the womb. Heart defects can develop as the heart develops, about a month after conception, changing the flow of blood in the heart. Some medical conditions, medications and genes may play a role in causing heart defects.

Heart defects can also develop in adults. As you age, your heart’s structure can change, causing a heart defect.

Causes of cardiomyopathy

The cause of cardiomyopathy, a thickening or enlarging of the heart muscle, may depend on the type:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy.The cause of this most common type of cardiomyopathy often is unknown. It may be caused by reduced blood flow to the heart (ischemic heart disease), infections, toxins and certain drugs. It also may be inherited from a parent. It usually enlarges (dilates) the left ventricle.
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.This type, in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, usually is inherited. It can also develop over time because of high blood pressure or aging.
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy.This least common type of cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle to become rigid and less elastic, can occur for no known reason. Or it may be caused by diseases, such as connective tissue disorders or excessive iron buildup in your body (hemochromatosis), or by some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Causes of heart infection

Heart infections, such as pericarditis, endocarditis and myocarditis, are caused when an irritant, such as a bacterium, virus or chemical, reaches your heart muscle. The most common causes of heart infections include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasites

Causes of valvular heart disease

There are many causes of diseases of your heart valves. You may be born with valvular disease, or the valves may be damaged by conditions such as:

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Infections (infectious endocarditis)
  • Connective tissue disorders


11 thoughts on “Heart Disease Causes”

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      1. Dr. Umesh Nareppa
      Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon
      Consultant , MBBS, MS, MCh, 14 years of experience
      Bangalore , India

      2. Dr. B.S. Chakrapani
      Consultant , Fellowship, DM, DNB, MBBS, 30 years of experience
      Bangalore , India

      3. Dr. Ravindranath Reddy
      Interventional Cardiologist
      Consultant , MBBS, MD, DM, 13 years of experience
      Bangalore , India.

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    1. Dr ASHOK SETH – Fortis Escort Delhi

      Dr. Ashok Seth is the current Chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi and Head, Cardiology Council of Fortis Group of Hospitals. His contributions in the field of Cardiology, especially Interventional Cardiology have been recognised extensively in India as well as across the world. During his career span of 30-years, he has pioneered numerous angioplasty techniques Directional Atherectomy, Angioscopy, Stents, Thrombectomy devices and Drug Eluting Stents, use of Impella heart support device failing heart, Bioabsorbable Stents and TAVI and implemented it successfully both in India and other regions in Asia Pacific. He has performed one of the highest number of angiographies and angioplasties which has been mentioned in the ‘LIMCA Book of Records’.

      He has been a part of the Focused Advisory Group and seminal studies for development and clinical applicability of Bioresorbable Scaffold (BRS) Stent which is highly recognised technique worldwide.

      For his unique achievements & contributions he has been honoured with the prestigious National Honour of “Padma Bhushan” and “Padma Shri” Award by the President of India in 2015 and 2003 respectively, the National Award of Republic of Spain “Officer’s Cross Order of Isabella the Catholic” in 2010, ‘Mason Sones Award’ from SCAI (USA) in 2010 and numerous other awards.

      Dr. Seth has been the President of the Cardiological Society of India and Vice President of the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology. He was elected Board of Trustee of SCAI (USA) for the period 2007-2010 and is presently a member of the SCAI Nominating Committee and Voting Selector of the MSCAI Nominating Committee. He has been invited to lecture on and demonstrate complex angioplasty techniques in more than 400 international training courses and meetings across the globe including live transmissions of complex cases from India to the TCT and EuroPCR Meetings. He is on the Editorial Board of JACC Cardiovascular Interventions, CCI, Euro Intervention, Indian Heart Journal and others.

      He has been honoured by Doctorate from four prestigious Universities in India. He has more than 250 publications to his credit in prestigious Indian and International medical journals, written and edited chapters in 10 text books of Cardiology and Medicine & edited two books in Cardiology. He has trained more than 350 cardiologists from India and abroad in advance techniques of angioplasty.

      2. DR Naresh Trehan – Medanta the Medcity
      MBBS, Diplomate – Surgery, Diplomate – Cardiothoracic Surgery

      Chairman and Managing Director – Heart Institute

      41 Years of Experience, 11 Awards ,

      Expertise: Cardiothoracic Surgery, Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, MIDCAB Surgery

      Dr. Naresh Trehan is a celebrated and world-renowned cardiologist, cardiothoracic and cardiovascular surgeon. He serves as the founder and managing director of the prominent Medanta Hospital Gurgaon. Having performed over 50000 open heart surgeries, he has created a niche in this field. The super-surgeon has a global repute and over 50 years of rich professional experience.

      Dr. Trehan is a graduate of King George Medical College, Lucknow. He has held important clinical positions at the New York University Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital and Veterans Administration Hospital. He is also the founder of Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre. Prior to setting-up Medanta, he worked at Apollo Hospitals New Delhi.

      Dr. Naresh Trehan has countless achievements credited to his name. He has served as a personal surgeon to the President of India in 1991. He holds the esteemed Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Rajiv Gandhi National Unity, and many more awards. Dr. Trehan has over 350 scientific publications which represent his on-going academic curiosity. His excellent record and passion for medicine have changed the public opinion about heart ailments in India.

      1. Dr. Ajay Kaul – BLK Super Speciality New

        MBBS, MS – General Surgery, MCh – Cardiothoracic Surgery

        Chairman and HOD – Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery

        39 Years of Experience

        A highly experienced and qualified Cardiac Surgeon, Dr.Ajay Kaul is a distinguished name in the field of Cardiac Surgery. He pursued his Masters degree in Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery from Bombay University. He holds a number of Fellowships in Cardiac Surgery, Cardiac Transplant, and Minimally Invasive Surgery, from eminent international institutions, such as, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (Sydney), Royal Melbourne Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), Hannover Medical School (Germany), and Leipzig Cardiac Centre (Germany). His surgical experience includes 10,000 Cardiac Operations, with 4000 Total Arterial Coronary Bypass Surgeries. Considered a national expert in the field of Cardiac Surgery, Dr. Kaul has served various prestigious hospitals, in India and abroad, such as B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre (Kolkata), Institute of Medical Sciences (Varanasi), Hannover Medical School (Germany) Bombay Hospital , and L.M. Tilak Medical College & Sion Hospital (Mumbai). He has to his credit over 70 publications in national and international journals. His special interest lies in Off pump Coronary artery surgery (OPCAB), Off pump Total Arterial Revascularization,Paediatric cardiac surgery,Mitral Valve Repair,Aortic Root Replacement & Aortic Aneurysm surgery.He is also a member of CSI and Association of Cardiothoracic Surgery of India.

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    1. Here is the top Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeon in Chennai

      1. Dr. Govini Balasubramani – Gleneagles Global Chennai


      Senior Consultant, Heart and Lung Transplantation

      Dr Govini got his degree in medicine from Sri Siddhartha Medical College, Karnataka. He completed his masters in General Surgery and later went to complete his masters in Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery form SVIMS University, Andhra Pradesh.

      In his professional career of 14+ years, Dr Govini has participated in over 7000 open and closed heart surgeries in adults and children, Heart and Lung Transplantation. He is a pioneering surgeon who is competent in Video-assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS), Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery (MICS) for various heart and lung diseases. Dr Govini is an expert in Beating Heart Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (OP-CABG), Heart and Lung Transplantation, Heart Valve Repair or Replacement (Adult & Paediatric), Re-operative Cardiac surgery, Laser Lung surgery, Tracheal Reconstruction, Cardiac Surgery and Lung Surgery (Adult & Paediatric).

      He is recognized for his ability to perform a variety of complex cardiac and lung procedures on patients of all ages. Those under his care, enjoy a high level of satisfaction that is in line with his exceptional results.

      Expertise :
      Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
      Single and Double Valve Replacement
      Congenital Cardiac Defects Correction
      LIMA, RIMA, Radial Artery Harvesting
      Saphenous Vein Harvesting
      Chest Trauma Care
      Diaphragmatic Hernia Repair
      Tracheal Reconstruction
      Central Venous Catheterisation
      Arterial Cannulations
      Ventilatory Management

      2. Dr. Girinath M R – Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon
      Consultant , MBBS, 45 years of experience
      Currently he is associated as Cardiothoracic surgeon with Apollo Hospital, Chennai.Prior work experience of 45 years includes- 3 years of working in Auckland.Head of Cardiac surgery unit of Apollo hospitals, Chennai since 1984.Under his guidance unit has done 40,000 heart operations of which 29,000 have been coronary bypass operations including 14,000 on a beating heart.Pioneered congenital heart surgery and heart valve surgery in India.Trained 30 heart surgeons in India.He has performed over 25,000 open heart surgeries in the last 16 years.One of the first surgeons to receive MCh degree in India.
      Pioneer in cardiac surgery for infants, coronary bypass surgery, multivalve replacement and cardiac transplantation.

      3.Dr Y Vijaya Chandra Reddy – Apollo Main Hopsital Chennai
      Dr. Y Vijaya Chandra Reddy is a Senior Consultant & Interventional Cardiologist at Apollo Main Hospitals, Chennai, since March 2009. He completed MBBS from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati in 1988, MD – General Medicine from Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education And Research, Chandigarh in 1991 and DM – Cardiology from Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow In 1994. Following the completion of his studies in India, Dr. Reddy underwent various fellowships abroad including FACC – Fellow of American College of Cardiology, FCSI – Fellow of Cardiological Society of India and British Commonwealth Scholar in Interventional Cardiology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK

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