Principle of Cardiology
Cardiology is a medical specialty that deals with pathologies of the heart and other elements of the circulatory system.
Thus, it diagnoses and treats:
congenital heart defects,
coronary heart disease,
valvular heart disease
and finally electrophysiology.
Moreover, even if the cardiovascular system is in fact associated with blood, cardiology is not interested in hematology and its pathologies.
It should be noted that cardiovascular pathologies are today the main cause of death in Belgium, as in most Western countries.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of conditions treated by cardiology.
The following are considered cases of cardiological emergencies:
myocardial infarction (destruction of part of the heart muscle, the myocardium),
flare-up of hypertension (sudden rise in blood pressure)
or the aneurysm (lateral pocket formed by dilation of the wall of an artery or the heart)
It is the inability of the heart to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Thus, it is a serious pathology which results, among other things, in disproportionate fatigue and constant shortness of breath.
Heart defects alter the normal flow of blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. These are often malformations of the pulmonary artery and the pulmonary valve, resulting in abnormal blood circulation between the right ventricle and the lungs.
Thus, there are different types of congenital heart pathologies such as tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary stenosis, pulmonary atresia, or transposition of the great vessels.
Rhythm and conduction disorders
It is a pathology linked to the abnormal variation in the rhythm of heartbeats, which disrupts its functioning. These disorders can be of varying severity.
Heart valve pathologies refer to a dysfunction of the heart valves, which disrupts intracardiac blood flow and can result in a short and weak breath on a daily basis.
Cardiomyopathies (or myocardiopathies) correspond to a group of diseases that affect the myocardium, in other words the heart muscle that allows the heart to carry out its pumping mission. Thus, by altering the muscle tone of the heart, cardiomyopathies prevent the heart from functioning normally, and therefore from circulating blood throughout the body.
Atherosclerosis is a disease of the vessels whose caliber decreases due to the accumulation of lipids in the walls.
High blood pressure
This pathology accelerates heart fatigue by increasing the work of the heart muscle which, as it grows, becomes less efficient. This disease is one of the first risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Coronary heart disease is a disease that affects the arteries whose function is to supply the heart with blood. It is often associated with atherosclerosis, a buildup of plaques inside the walls of the arteries. Thus, this accumulation gradually narrows the interior of the arteries and slows the flow of blood.
Peripheral vascular disease
Peripheral vascular disease results in decreased blood flow to arteries in the trunk, arms, and legs.
Finally, in collaboration with neurology, cardiology treats cerebrovascular pathologies.