The heart is vulnerable to numerous diseases including, but certainly not limited to: ischemic heart disease, rheumatic heart disease and congenital heart disease. Some heart conditions are inherited, while some are the result of infection. Others have no obvious cause, according to the World Heart Federation.
Ischemic heart disease is characterized by restricted blood flow to the heart. This often takes the form of coronary artery disease, in which the blood vessels feeding the heart muscle itself have narrowed or stiffened. This is a common cause of heart attacks, according to the World Heart Federation.
Rheumatic heart disease is often a complication of rheumatic fever, often contracted during childhood, which scars the cardiac tissue so badly that its function is impaired. This is usually a result of scarring on or around the heart valves, which inhibits their ability to open and close, reducing the efficiency of each stroke, states the World Heart Federation.
Congenital heart disease is the result of malformation, often present at birth, which produces a weakened or misshapen heart. Congenital heart disorders may be minor and difficult to detect, or they may be fatal. Any heart condition is potentially very serious and must be evaluated by a doctor for lifestyle and treatment options.