Some common cardiovascular diseases include coronary artery disease, abnormal heart rhythms, congenital heart disease and heart failure, according to WebMD. These conditions affect the function or structures of the heart.
Coronary artery disease occurs when the major blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen, blood and nutrients become damaged, mainly due to inflammation and buildup of cholesterol-containing deposits. This action causes narrowing of coronary arteries, reducing the amount of blood flowing to the heart, which can cause breathlessness, chest pain or a heart attack, states Mayo Clinic.
An abnormal heart rhythm is a condition in which the heart's electrical impulses do not function properly, causing the heart to beat irregularly, too slow or too fast, explains Mayo Clinic. Causes include excessive alcohol use, smoking, high blood pressure and scarring of heart tissue.
Heart failure is where the heart does not pump blood correctly, causing shortness of breath, swelling and water retention, states WebMD. Pressure increases in the heart and blood moves at a slower rate, causing the heart to pump insufficient nutrients and oxygen to the body parts, notes MedicineNet.
Congenital heart disease is a defect of blood vessels or structures of the heart that occurs before birth, according WebMD. Scientists do not completely understand its cause, but viral infections and drugs or alcohol use during pregnancy and heredity could be contributing factors.