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Acquired Heart Disease - Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment

Published on Mar 22, 2022 and last reviewed on Nov 22, 2022   -  6 min read


Acquired heart diseases are a group of conditions that affect the heart and its associated blood vessels after birth. To know more, read the article below


What Is Acquired Heart Disease?

In contrast to the congenital heart diseases present during birth, the conditions that develop during the person's lifetime after birth and affect the heart and its associated blood vessels are known as acquired heart diseases. There are many acquired heart diseases, and each one has its own signs, symptoms, and treatment. In a few, lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in improving health. While some people may also need surgery for their heart to function well. The following are the types of acquired heart diseases,

  1. Coronary artery disease.

  2. Rheumatic heart disease.

  3. High blood pressure.

  4. Valvular heart disease.

  5. Kawasaki's disease.

Acquired Heart Diseases

1. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD):

Coronary artery disease is a common heart problem that occurs due to the blockage of the coronary arteries, which is the vessel that supplies blood to the heart. So, in CAD, it leads to decreased blood flow to the heart muscle, resulting in a lack of oxygen supply.

Causes - This disease mainly occurs as a result of atherosclerosis, which is also called the hardening of the arteries. The other causes are:

Symptoms - The patients with coronary artery disease do not show any symptoms, and at the later stages, there may be:

Risk Factors - The factors that increase the risk of CAD are:

Treatment - The goal is to slow down the development of significant blockages for which prescribed medicines such as Aspirin or Plavix, cholesterol-lowering agents, and blood pressure-lowering medications are given. Surgical procedures such as bypass surgery and cardiac catheterization (placement of stents) will help improve CAD.

Also, smoking cessation, intake of low fat and high fiber diet, and practicing moderate exercises (walking, gardening, cycling, playing tennis, running, dancing) 30 minutes a day for 4 to 6 days a week helps to prevent CAD.

2. Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD):

This disease develops when the heart muscle is damaged by rheumatic fever, linked to strep throat and scarlet fever. Rheumatic heart disease was more common earlier, but now doctors are able to prevent this disease with the use of antibiotics. Early recognition and treatment of strep throat led to a significant decrease in the incidence of rheumatic heart disease.

Causes - The causes of rheumatic heart disease are:

Symptoms - Approximately two to three weeks after the initial strep infection, patients present with clinical features of rheumatic fever, and they are:

Treatment - When the above symptoms are taken care of, it may not lead to rheumatic heart disease. The symptoms of RHD usually show up many years after the infection, and the treatment of RHD involves a 10-day course of Erythromycin or oral Penicillin V to eradicate streptococcal infection. Surgical treatment is needed when there is a severe valvular disease, or a valve replacement is done.

3. High Blood Pressure:

Hypertension or elevated arterial pressure is a silent killer. When left untreated or in cases of long-standing hypertension, it can damage the arteries and veins and leads to long-term consequences such as:

Symptoms - The majority of patients do not show symptoms and could be identified only on blood tests. However, the symptoms of high blood pressure are:

Complications - The persistent high blood pressure leads to the following complications.

Treatment - The management of high blood pressure includes general measures and drug therapy. The prescribed antihypertensive drugs by the health care provider should be taken to avoid unwanted complications. Also, lifestyle modifications such as the following should be practiced.

4. Valvular Heart Disease (VHD):

There are four valves in the heart; they are mitral, tricuspid, aortic, and pulmonic valves. When any of the valves in the heart are damaged or diseased, it is known as valvular heart disease.

Causes - Acquired valve diseases are problems in the valve that was once normal. It could be due to a result of infections such as infective endocarditis and rheumatic fever. It can also occur due to the changes in the structure of the valve, such as:

Valvular heart disease may also occur due to:

Sometimes the cause of acquired valvular heart disease is unknown.

Symptoms - The symptoms of valvular heart disease may develop quickly or over a long period. There may be no symptoms when it develops very slowly until the condition is quite advanced. The symptoms seen later are:

Treatment - This condition could be managed with medicines when it is not too severe. Surgery may be recommended when the valve is more seriously diseased and causing severe symptoms. In some conditions, the valve is replaced by open heart surgery.


Acquired heart disease causes significant risks, and these risks should be explained to people, or people should be aware of such conditions to reach a doctor. Any abnormal signs you developed recently should be noted and conveyed to the doctor to avoid complications and get treated in the earlier stage.

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Last reviewed at:
22 Nov 2022  -  6 min read




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