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Types of Heart Diseases

by Natalie Samara

Hello everyone! This is the second article in our Cardiovascular series, which covers different heart disease that occur. Happy reading!


One of the most complex organs in the body is the heart. This organ helps pump blood through the body as the heart beats and sends oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. But what if the heart one day stops doing its normal functions, will the heart stop beating? There are a variety of diseases that occur in the human body, one of the many occurring in the heart. A heart disease is a condition that affects the heart. Cardiovascular diseases can range from coronary heart disease to congenital heart defects. Let’s start with the risk factors and causes of some of the most common heart diseases.

Some risk factors are lifestyle-based whereas others are simply genetic. Controlled risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Uncontrolled factors include family history, sex, ethnicity, and age.

The most common heart diseases are coronary heart disease and heart failure. Coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease and occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart start to narrow or harden from the build-up of the plaque. Plaque is composed of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that are found in the blood. Common symptoms include chest pain (angina) and a progressive heart attack also known as congestive heart failure which is the heart not being able to normally pump blood. Heart failure occurs slowly and after an injury to the heart muscle. Injuries can be caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart attack, or the damaged heart valves. Symptoms include shortness of breath, weight gain, fatigue, weakness, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and a persistent cough.

A rarer heart disease is Brugada Syndrome. Brugada Syndrome is a congenital disorder affecting the electrical system of the heart. The main cause is a mutation in the SCN5A gene, which codes for the a-subunit protein in the voltage-gated Nav1.5 is a sodium channel that is found primarily in the cardiac muscle where the Na+ ions cross the cell membrane, in which results in the fast depolarization phase where the action potential is caused by an opening of the sodium channels, and it plays a major role in the impulse propagation through the heart. In other words, the disease affects the cardiac sodium channels of the heart. If there is dysfunction of those channels, it leads to a local conduction blockage in the heart. The most common symptoms are irregular heartbeats, which can prove to be fatal and if it is not treated.

These diseases have shown how the heart is impacted, along with its function and other parts of the body reacting to it. There may be still a lot more of these diseases out there, and doctors are still researching and are seeing if those are similar to other heart disease or they have different symptoms, risk factors, etc. By studying both rare and common heart diseases, hopefully better care will be able to be provided to patients suffering from heart diseases.

Thanks so much for reading the second article in our Cardiovascular series! We hope you learned more about cardiovascular diseases, and various common and rare heart conditions.

If you enjoyed this article, head on over to our Pectus Excavatum feature article by Ellison Morgan, who has shared his personal experiences living with Pectus Excavatum.

Until next time,

Natalie and the Writing Committee :)


Donovan, Robin. “Heart Disease: Risk Factors, Preventon, and More”. Updated Feb 27th, 2020. Reviewed by Whitworth, Gerhard.

Felman, Adam. “Heart disease: types, causes, and treatments.” Updated July 20th, 2021. Reviewed by Kohli, Payal.

Unknown Author. “Types of Cardiovascular Diseases”. Revised Dec 2012.

Unknown Author. “Brugada Syndrome - NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders)”. Unknown Date.

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1 Comment

Aug 03, 2022

A very information piece! It is evident that you researched this topic immensely, Natalie.

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