Learn what big heart terms mean

Heart disease can be the result of a congenital or hereditary defect or may be induced by smoking, poor diet or obesity. Whatever the cause, most heart conditions, detected in good time, can be treated or cured by modern medicine.

When a cardiologist explains symptoms, treatments or technicalities in unfamiliar terms it is easy to become confused and frightened.

To help, get to know these terms related to diseases of the heart and their treatment.


Ischemia means “blood restriction.”

To function properly, the heart needs a constant flow of blood. When the vessels around it become narrowed, blood cannot flow properly, Dr. Arthur Schoenstadt explains.

The tissue of the heart muscle — the myocardium — is highly sensitive, and when arteries become constricted, the heart becomes starved of vital oxygen which. If left untreated, can result in serious damage.

Myocardial ischemia is also known as angina.


Atherosclerosis is an accumulation of plaque on the artery walls, Dr. F. Brian Boudi says.

The easiest way to visualise what is happening is to compare the arteries with domestic water pipes. Over a period of time, if your water contains excessive lime, the pipes will become obstructed and water flow diminished.

In the same way, coronary arteries can become clogged — not with lime scale, but with cholesterol, calcium or other substances. Although some causes of atherosclerosis, such as aging and congenital disease, are beyond our control, factors like smoking, obesity and a diet high in sugars are things we can change to alleviate or prevent the problem.


Endocarditis is an