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Heart Disease

heart diseaseHeart disease is a type of heart defect or problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth. Heart disease can involve the interior walls of your heart, valves inside your heart, or the arteries and veins that carry blood to your heart or out to your body.

Heart defects occur while the fetus is developing in the uterus and are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths.  Congenital heart defects may produce symptoms at birth, during childhood, and sometimes not until adulthood. About 500,000 adults in the U.S. have heart disease.

What Types of Heart Disease Are There?

There are many different types of congenital heart defects. They range from simple heart defects with no symptoms to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms. They include:

  • Heart valve defects. A narrowing or stenosis of the valves or complete closure that prevents proper blood flow. Other valve defects include leaky valves that don't close properly, causing blood to leak backwards.
  • Defects in the walls. Defects between the atria and ventricles of the heart (atrial and ventricular septal defects)
  • Heart muscle abnormalities. These can lead to heart failure