• Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
    The aorta is your body's main artery. It carries blood down along the front of your spine to the parts of your body below your heart. If the wall of your aorta in your abdomen weakens and balloons outward, you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It's a serious condition, and one that often has no warning signs.
  • Anatomy of the Heart
    The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood throughout your body. It is positioned behind the lungs, slightly to the left side of the chest. Your heart is a bit larger than the size of your fist. Let's examine the structures of the heart and learn how blood travels through this complex organ.
  • Aortic Dissection
    This is a tear in the wall of your aorta. Your aorta is the large blood vessel that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The wall of the aorta is made of three layers. An aortic dissection is a tear in the aorta's inner wall. Blood flows through the tear and separates the aorta's inner and middle layers. Blood that normally flows to other parts of your body fills this space, forming a bulge.
  • Aortic Stenosis (Aortic Valve Stenosis)
    This is a narrowing of the heart's aortic valve. That's the valve that opens to the aorta (the main vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body). With stenosis, the valve doesn't fully open. That makes it hard for your heart to pump enough blood out to your body.
  • Arrhythmia
    If your heart beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly, you have an arrhythmia. It's a problem with the rhythm of your heart. For many people, an arrhythmia is harmless. But for some, it can be life-threatening.
  • Arterial Insufficiency
    This condition results from an inadequate flow of blood through the arteries. It can develop from a variety of causes, and it may affect many different parts of the body.
  • Atherosclerosis
    This disease is a buildup of a sticky, fatty substance called "plaque" on the inner walls of your arteries. Plaque buildup limits the flow of blood. This can lead to serious health problems.
  • Atrial Fibrillation (A-fib; AF)
    This is a problem with the rhythm of your heart. We call it "A-fib." With it, your heart beats much faster than normal. And, the upper and lower chambers of your heart don't work together like they should. For some, A-fib goes away on its own. But for others, it's a long-term problem.
  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
    This condition, commonly called "a hole in the heart," is an abnormal opening in the wall that separates the left and right atria. These are the heart's upper chambers. This congenital defect creates abnormal blood flow through the heart. ASD may result in a murmur that can be heard during an exam. It can be diagnosed by an echocardiogram.
  • Coarctation of the Aorta
    This is a heart problem that some babies are born with. It's a narrowing of the aorta. That's the main vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body. This narrowing makes it hard for blood to pass through.
  • Coronary Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease)
    Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that feed your heart muscle. If the arteries harden and narrow, your heart muscle can't get the blood it needs to work well. Coronary heart disease can lead to a heart attack. It is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
    This condition is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep inside the body. This type of clot most commonly develops in the legs. This condition is dangerous, because the clot can break free and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs.
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)
    This disease is caused by a weakening of the heart muscle. It primarily affects the left ventricle, the hearts main pumping chamber. In a heart with dilated cardiomyopathy, the diseased muscle fibers have stretched and the chamber has enlarged to make up for its lost pumping power. A heart affected by dilated cardiomyopathy has difficulty supplying enough blood flow to meet the bodys needs. This can result in heart failure.
  • Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction; MI)
    This is a blockage in one of your coronary arteries. They're the vessels carrying blood to your heart's tissue. A heart attack can strike suddenly, often without any warning.
  • Heart Attack Warning Signs
    Fast action during a heart attack can be the difference between life and death. Fortunately, most heart attacks start slowly. Many begin with telltale warning signs. If you know how to spot these signs, and if you act quickly, you can get the help you need before it's too late.
  • Heart Attack Warning Signs in Women
    Many people don't realize that women and men often experience heart attack differently. We tend to think of a heart attack as a dramatic, chest-clutching event. But for many women, the signs are more subtle. Some women may mistake them for symptoms of heartburn, the flu, or aging. This can be dangerous.
  • Heart Disease and Oral Health
    Many people who have heart disease also have problems with their teeth and gums. Researchers are trying to find out if there is a direct link between the health of your heart and the health of your mouth.
  • Heart Failure
    This condition, also called "congestive heart failure," is when your heart becomes so weak it can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. It doesn't mean that your heart has stopped beating. But it's a serious condition, and it needs medical care.
  • Heart Murmur
    This is a sound we hear when your heart beats. It's made by blood flowing through your heart's valves, or through the large vessels near your heart. There are different types of heart murmurs. Many are harmless, but some are dangerous.
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
    When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries. This creates pressure against the artery walls. If this pressure is too high, you have high blood pressure. It's a common disease. But if you don't manage it properly, it can cause health problems.
  • High Cholesterol
    Your doctor says you have high cholesterol. You know that's not good. But what is cholesterol, exactly? Why is it in your blood vessels, and why is high cholesterol bad for you?
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
    This is a thickening of the heart muscle. It makes it harder for your heart to pump blood. Your heart may have trouble pumping enough blood to meet your body's needs. This can lead to serious problems.
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
    This is a heart problem that is present at birth. In a heart with this syndrome, the left side doesn't fully develop. The underdeveloped left side can't pump enough blood out to the body.
  • Kawasaki Disease
    This rare disease most commonly affects infants and young children. With it, blood vessels can become inflamed. Sometimes this inflammation affects blood vessels throughout the body. This can cause damage to the heart muscle and the heart valves.
  • Left Brain Stroke
    Your brain is divided into left and right halves, called "hemispheres." They specialize in different things. Because of this, a stroke on the left side of your brain can be very different from a stroke on the brain's right side. Let's look at some symptoms of a left brain stroke.
  • Metabolic Syndrome
    This is a name we give to a group of conditions. Together, they raise your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Five conditions make up this syndrome. They are a large waistline, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, a high level of triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood), and a low level of HDL cholesterol. That's the "good" cholesterol.
  • Mini-Stroke Warning Signs (Transient Ischemic Attack; TIA)
    You can have a stroke that lasts for only a few minutes and then seems to go away. We call that a "mini-stroke." It happens when part of your brain's blood supply is blocked for a short time. But even if your symptoms disappear, a mini-stroke is a dangerous event. You need to seek help right away.
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse
    This is a problem with the heart's mitral valve. That's the valve between the chambers on the left side of the heart. The mitral valve opens when the heart expands, and closes when the heart contracts. But with this condition, one or both of the valve's flaps are floppy or stretchy. They don't close the way they should. Instead, they bulge into the upper chamber. Blood may leak through the valve.
  • Myocarditis
    This inflammation of the heart muscle makes it hard for your heart to pump properly. It can lead to serious problems.
  • Overweight and Obesity
    Staying fit is a challenge for many people. Carrying too much body fat is bad for your health. Being "overweight" means you weigh more than what we consider normal for your body type. If you keep gaining weight, you may become "obese." Let's take a few minutes to learn about weight and your health.
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
    When a baby is in the womb, it doesn't use its lungs. The oxygen in its blood comes from its mother. Because of this, an unborn baby has a special blood vessel called the "ductus arteriosis." It connects the baby's aorta and pulmonary artery. Soon after birth, this vessel should close. But with this condition, it stays open. This can cause serious issues.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
    This narrowing of arteries reduces blood flow to your arms or legs. It most often affects the legs and feet. Smoking and diabetes raise your risk for this disease. So do obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, age and other factors.
  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE)
    This is a clog in an artery in your lung. It can happen suddenly, even in a healthy person. It's a serious medical condition that can be fatal.
  • Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)
    This is high blood pressure inside your pulmonary arteries. Those are the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your lungs. With this condition, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your lungs. This is bad for your heart. It can cause serious health problems.
  • Pulmonary Valve Stenosis
    This is a heart defect. It narrows the opening of your hearts pulmonary valve. This slows your blood flow. Pulmonary valve stenosis can be mild or severe.
  • Right Brain Stroke
    Your brain is divided into left and right halves, called "hemispheres." They specialize in different things. Because of this, a stroke on the right side of your brain can be very different from a stroke on the brain's left side. Let's look at some symptoms of a right brain stroke.
  • Shortness of Breath
    Sometimes you find yourself fighting for air. No matter how hard you try, you just can't seem to get enough. It's scary. It leaves you feeling worried and uneasy. How does this happen? Well, it's usually linked to a problem with your lungs or your heart.
  • Spot the Signs of a Stroke (The F-A-S-T Method)
    Fast action during a stroke can be the difference between life and death. Fortunately, there are many stroke warning signs. To help you remember the signs and how to respond, just use the word "FAST." That's F-A-S-T.
  • Stress and High Blood Pressure
    We know stress is bad for your health. So is high blood pressure. But is there a link between the two? Could the stress you feel be the cause of your high blood pressure? Well, we aren't completely sure, because it's complicated. Let's learn more about stress and blood pressure.
  • Stroke
    This is a slow down or blockage of the blood that normally flows to part of your brain. When it happens, your brain cells don't get the oxygen and nutrients they need. Within minutes, they begin to die.
  • Stroke Warning Signs
    During a stroke, fast action is key. Getting help quickly can be the difference between life and death. Fortunately, there are many warning signs that show you a stroke is happening. So get help immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
    This heart problem is present at birth. It's a combination of four heart defects that change the way blood flows through the heart and to the lungs. As a result, blood can't get all the oxygen it needs to supply the body's cells.
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA)
    This condition is a reversal of the two major arteries that carry blood away from the heart. These are the aorta and the pulmonary artery. In a heart with TGA, these arteries switch places during the heart's formation. They connect to the wrong chambers of the heart.
  • Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
    This condition, commonly called "VTE," occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein deep within your body. This can happen in your leg, or in another part of your body. The clot travels through your circulatory system. When it reaches your lungs, it blocks an artery within them. This prevents oxygenation of your blood. This is a pulmonary embolism. It can be fatal.
  • Venous Ulcer
    This is an open sore that usually forms on your leg above your ankle. Venous ulcers can be painful, and they can become infected. They are often slow to heal.
  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
    This common heart problem is present at birth. It's a hole in the wall between the heart's two lower chambers. These chambers are called the "ventricles," and the wall between them is called the "septum." The hole lets oxygen-rich blood flow back to the lungs, instead of out to the body where it's needed.
  • Vertebrobasilar Disease
    This is a problem with arteries that carry blood to the back part of your brain. These are the vertebral arteries and the basilar arteries. With this disease, not enough blood flows through them. Your brain doesn't get the blood it needs.