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Terms You Need to Know for Your Heart Health

BLOG 2.22.18The cardiovascular system is a complicated and intricate network of veins and arteries. It’s no surprise then that the terms used to describe it can be equally as complicated. Chances are you’ve heard of things like atherosclerosis and atrial fibrillation – but it can be difficult to decipher their true meaning. We’re here to clear up the confusion and equip you with the knowledge you need to keep up with your physician at your next check-up. Here are some of the most common cardiac terms you need to know:

  • Arrhythmia: An irregular heartbeat that occurs when the heart’s electrical impulses are out of sync. This may cause your heart to beat too fast or too flow, which impacts the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively throughout your body.
  • Tachycardia: A rapid heartbeat that exceeds 100 beats per minute (BPM). A regular heartbeat ranges between 60 and 100 BPM.
  • Atherosclerosis: A disease where plaque builds up in the arteries, causing the artery walls to thicken. This subsequently results in reduced blood flow because the arteries are narrower than they should be.
  • Cardiac Ischemia: A condition that limits the amount of blood flow to the heart muscle. It is usually caused by atherosclerosis and, if left untreated, may result in a heart attack.
  • Angina: A term used to describe chest pain that is caused by poor blood circulation to the heart muscle.
  • Atrial Fibrillation (aka A-Fib or AF): An irregular heart rhythm, which may cause blood clots, stroke or heart failure. A-Fib occurs when the two chambers of the heart, known as the atria, beat irregularly. This, in turn, limits the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently into the heart’s ventricles.
  • STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction): A term used to describe the most dangerous type of heart attack. A STEMI occurs when blood flow to the heart is almost completely cut off for a prolonged period of time.

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