Heart disease is a general term to include a wide range of conditions that affect the heart. This section includes links to the common causes of heart disease.
Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in New Zealand. It is also a major cause of disability. There are many different forms of heart disease.
Types of heart disease or heart conditions
- Angina – chest pain or tightness due to coronary heart disease.
- Atrial fibrillation - an irregular heart rhythm.
- Cardiovascular disease – broad term for narrowing of the arteries resulting in coronary heart disease and stroke and still the number one cause of death in New Zealand and most countries around the world. Also a top cause of ongoing health problems.
- Coronary heart disease or ischaemic heart disease – blockage of the coronary arteries, supplying blood to the heart and the major cause of heart attacks.
- Congenital heart disease – the heart hasn't developed properly and something people are born with.
- Heart attack – occurs when blood flow to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked due to coronary heart disease.
- Heart failure – the heart can't pump as well as it needs to.
- Rheumatic fever – often causes damage to the valves of the heart.
- Heart valve disease – damaged heart valves.
Reducing your risk of heart diseaseYou can help reduce your risk of heart disease by taking steps to control factors that put you at greater risk:
- Control your blood pressure.
- Lower your cholesterol.
- Be smoke-free - quit or avoid second-hand smoke.
- Eat wisely - heart-healthy eating pattern
- Get enough exercise.
How does your heart work?
What happens when I am discharged from hospital?
For more information about the recovery process, see the Heart Foundation’s booklet Living well after a heart attack and/or visit HeartHelp First Steps, a step-by-step guide to life after a heart attack.