Heart Disease

What is heart disease? 

Heart disease describes a variety of conditions which affect the performance of your heart. Also known as coronary artery disease, it refers to the failure of the coronary circulation to supply adequate oxygen and blood to the heart or in some cases the body. This is commonly equated to ischaemic heart disease (heart attack or coronary artery bypass grafts). However, it can be due to other causes such as valve disease, pericardial disease, vascular disease or rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias).  

In Ireland, heart disease remains the most common cause of death, currently accounting for a third of all deaths and one in five premature deaths. 

What are coronary arteries? 

The heart is supplied with blood through the coronary arteries. This blood carries oxygen and nutrients which are required for healthy heart tissue. If blockages develop in the coronary arteries, blood supply around the body can be reduced which may cause some of the heart muscle to die. This is referred to as a heart attack or myocardial infarction. 

What are the symptoms of a heart attack ? 

Symptoms of a heart attack include: 

  • Breathlessness 
  • Feeling faint 
  • Diaphoresis (sweating) 
  • Nausea
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest known as angina