Three Main Categories of Heart Disease

The term heart disease is pretty broad, and it’s not just one thing. It’s a catchall term for anything that affects the health of the heart, and there are many complex systems that go into maintaining a healthy and regular heart.

There are three different types of irregularities that can be summed up by the term heart disease: electrical, circulatory and structural.


The heart muscle is controlled by electrical impulses that happen at regular intervals, just like the timing of the internal combustion engine of a car. And just as bad timing can make an engine run rough, your heart can be affected by a poor or malfunctioning electrical system as well.

Some electrical issues in the heart are minor and pose little risk, while others carry a serious risk of sudden cardiac events that can cause death. Most electrical issues with the heart can be controlled with a pacemaker or defibrillator or a cardiac ablation procedure. With many electrical problems in the heart, there’s also an elevated risk of stroke, which is often treating with a blood thinning medication.


Structural problems are caused by physical damage to the heart. Some people are born with malformed parts of their heart—these congenital defects can cause heart murmurs or other issues that can lead to complications. 

Physical damage to the heart is also considered structural. When physical damage to the heart builds up due to cardiac events, it can lead to heart failure where the heart becomes too weak to pump blood effectively. Diagnosis and treatment can slow the rate of progression or even stop it, but it has to be caught early. 

Heart valve problems are structural, too, and affect the ability of the heart to push blood between chambers and out to the body. Valve issues can be managed with medication, or in some cases, surgical intervention.


Circulatory problems tend to be the more debilitating, well-known cardiac issues, like heart attacks and even strokes. Though strokes are caused by blockage or reduced blood flow to the brain, abnormal heart rhythms can cause clots that lead to a stroke.

Heart attacks are the most well known heart issue and are caused by reduction or stoppage of blood flow to the heart. This keeps oxygen from reaching the heart and damages or kills tissue. In the case of a heart attack, the faster medical attention is received, the better chance of damage being limited or prevented.

No matter what heart problem you have, Oklahoma Heart Hospital has the experienced physicians and treatment options to help. Call to make an appointment today to learn more about what we can do for your cardiac health.