Circulatory System Diseases and Disorders List

There have been witnessed many mild and fatal diseases of cardiovascular system which not only have adverse effects on its functioning but may also lead to the death of victim. If the fluid circulating in closed system in the body gets infected by some germs or other disease causing substances, the whole body becomes sick and none of the processes can be completed successfully. It is that vital component of your body, the health of which proves to be the token of overall wellbeing of an individual. Some of the most common and deadly diseases of this system are being elaborated in this section, the timely awareness of which can save you from unbearable and lifelong miseries and make you enjoy this life at its very best.

The major causes of many heart maladies include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and lack of regular exercise. The very dilemma of some of the disorders is that the diagnostic signs are not noticeable in their early stages when it is possible to nip them in the bud. Unfortunately, they are visible only when the diseases have advanced to a dangerous and irreversible extent. Anyhow, in case of heat-attack, emergency treatment and immediate hospitalization become quite inevitable for the survival of victim.

Heart Conditions

Coronary Artery Disease

Abbreviated as CAD, the condition is one of the chronic and fatal heart disease which is considered as the major cause of death in the United States of America and some other countries of the world. This heart condition is characterized by narrowing of the vessels of coronary circulatory system that is responsible for proper blood supply to heart muscles. However, later on, certain severe symptoms are quite visible like angina or acute pain in chest region which may last from a few seconds to a few minutes, accompanied by the shortness of breath. Cure through medication includes the prescription of nitroglycerin and isosorbide dinitrate which are the rapidly-acting and longer-acting nitrates, respectively.


Heart pumps the blood with continuous and alternative contractions and retractions with the help of electric current produced therein by pacemaker. If there is any irregularity or disturbance in the conduction of electrical impulses, the condition is known as arrhythmia or rhythm disorder which results in irregular and uncontrolled beating of heart. As a consequence, there is improper supply of blood to various tissues of the body. The most obvious symptoms of abnormal heart rhythms include fainting, paleness, shortness of breath, chest pain and sweating, and the treatment measures include electrical-shock therapy and short-term heart pacemaker implantation.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

A serious disorder in which heart is incapable of pumping enough blood as required by cells to meet their oxygen requirements. Some of the common symptoms include weakness, severe fatigue, shortness of breath, dry cough, loss of appetite and anxiety. Spironolactone, vasodilators and digoxin are usually recommended as treatment measures but under extreme cases, surgical therapy becomes unavoidable.


A condition resulting in the abnormal enlargement, thickening and stiffening of heart muscles. Such an abnormal state hinders the working capability of heart and leads to palpitation, fatigue, fainting, chest pain and stroke. The symptoms can be relieved by medication, but if there are no signs of improvement, heart transplant may also be recommended.


Caused by kidney failure, an autoimmune condition or viral infections, it is characterized by acute or chronic inflammation of pericardium. Some of the most obvious symptoms include swelling in legs and abdomen, chest pain, difficulty in breathing and fatigue which can be relieved by the use of antibiotics, analgesics, diuretics and partial or complete removal of pericardium.

Pulmonary Embolism

Thrombus or a clot of blood travels towards and blocks pulmonary artery which may originate either from a leg vein or the right chambers of heart. Sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, anxiety and loss of consciousness are the diagnostic signs which are treated with analgesics, supplemental oxygen and immediate surgical removal.

Heart Valve Disease

Affecting at least 5 million Americans annually, the malady assumes several shapes, like Valvular Insufficiency disorder and Valvular Stenosis. The symptoms can be palpitation, rapid weight gain, chest pain and shortness of breath which are healed through medication and preventive measures.

Heart Murmur

As detected by stethoscope, some sounds produced by heart are benign, but the others are harsh ones that are the indication of heart murmuring disorder. This is because of the valvular abnormality which may be an offshoot of abnormal birth, heart attack or rheumatic fever. Drug treatments, surgery, and prophylactic antibiotics are generally recommended by the health care provider as some of the treatment measures.


Serious infection of heart valves which may cause severe inflammation not only in valves but also in the inner lining of the heart. The symptoms are revealed after one or two weeks of the fungal or viral attack that include fever, fatigue, night sweats, weight loss and bleeding under the finger nails. Antiviral and antifungal medicines are usually recommended by the heart specialists who may also advise surgery, if medication doesn't work.

Mitral Valve Prolapse

Though mild, it is one of the most common heart diseases in which the valve that regulates blood flow from left atrium to left ventricle, after closing, bulges a little backward which may even lead to leakage of blood back into the upper chamber. Such a situation poses difficulty in the pumping activity of heart that may lead to its damage. The symptoms like palpitation, pounding and chest pain are common, and depending upon the severity of the case, medications or surgery may be prescribed by your health care provider.

Sudden Cardiac Death

Resulting from the sudden loss of heart function, it is a fatal disease which is responsible for as many deaths as caused by all other heart diseases collectively. It claims the life of victim without prior abnormal signs, but if revealed, the symptoms include rapid heartbeat, dizziness and sudden cardiac arrest. If immediate treatment is made available to the patient, it is curable with about 90% success rate, but as the time passes, each minute reduces the chances of survival by 10 percent.

Heart Stroke

Exposure to unbearably hot environment adversely affects the internal heat regulating mechanisms in the body leading to rise in body temperature up to 104 F, headache, muscle cramps, racing heartbeat, dry & hot skin and vomiting. Emergency treatment is necessary by gradual cooling of patient, replacement of fluids and electrolytes and drug administration, etc.

Heart Attack

Also known as Myocardial Infarction, a medical emergency which arises when a portion of heart is not supplied with oxygenated blood due to blockage in any of the coronary arteries of coronary circulatory system. The symptomatic conditions include severe chest pain, profuse sweating, shortness of breath, anxiety and a chocking sensation. Treatment involves medications, like aspirin, nitroglycerin, antihypertensive drugs, and the stopped heartbeat is to be restored through CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) or an electrical defibrillator.

Other Circulatory System Diseases


Affecting each 10,000th male, it is a hereditary disorder of circulatory fluid caused by the absence of one of the blood clotting factors, called anti-hemophilic factor or Factor VIII. However, Hemophilia B is caused by the genetic deficiency of Factor IX. As the disease is typically associated with X-Chromosome, females are not affected and only pass the disorder to their offspring. The symptoms include excessive bruises, spontaneous, prolonged and painful bleeding, blood in urine and paralysis. Hospitalization, physical therapy and preventive measures may be prescribed by your health care provider depending on the severity of the situation.


Characterized by the loss of elasticity, stiffness and hardness in blood vessels, it causes hindrance in pulsation and effective flow of circulatory fluid through channels. First, there occurs blistering in arteries accompanied by the accumulation of lipids, like cholesterol which ultimately leads to high blood pressure, gangrene, heart-stroke and even heart attack. Drug administration, restricted fat diet and angioplasty are recommended and the choice of treatment depends on the health condition of the patient.

Rheumatic Fever

Named for similarity with rheumatism, it is caused by gram positive, spherical bacteria called streptococci that infect not only heart but also joints, kidneys, skin and brain. After two to three weeks of the infection, there appears painful swelling in various parts of the body, like heart, skin, joints and central nervous system which can be relieved by antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and preventive doses of penicillin.

Aortic Aneurysm

Characterized by a vulnerable or weak spot in aortic wall which is the primary artery carrying blood from heart to the head and other distant parts of the body. Usually, there are no alarming symptoms; however, hoarseness, severe chest pain and feeling of coldness in the legs may appear later on. Regular physical exams, medication, and surgery are advised and applied by the health providers.

Varicose Veins

Twisting and inflammation of veins near the skin surface that occurs when defective or weak valves cannot regulate the flow of deoxygenated blood in one direction. In this way, the blood flows either backwards or gets stagnated inside the veins. The diagnostic signs include the development of knotted and swollen clusters in vein along with pain, itching and skin discoloration. Some preventive measures, sclerotherapy and surgical ligation may also be recommended by your health care provider.


A condition when varicose veins affect the scrotum of the victim and cause a painful or painless swelling and sensation in the affected region. Treatment is very necessary in severe cases that can be carried out through surgical removal and X-ray approach, called angiography.


Also known as High Blood Pressure, it is characterized by a persistently increasing force of blood against the walls of arteries (carrying oxygenated blood to various parts of the body). Blood pressure increases from its optimum level (120/80 mm Hg) to 140/90 mm Hg which indicates the onset of the disorder. Nose-bleeds, palpitation, dizziness, numbness and severe headache are the symptoms of dangerously high blood pressure. Primary hypertension can be cured by preventive measures and some drugs, like diuretics, but the secondary one has to be timely identified and treated.

Von Willebrand's Disease

One of the most common genetically inherited diseases affecting blood clotting process due to the absence of Von Willebrand's Factor. The factor is beneficial for blood clotting in two different ways: Firstly, it assists in gathering and adherence of platelets to the site of injury, and, secondly, it carries a crucial protein, called Factor VIII. Common symptomatic conditions of Von Willebrand's disorder include frequent nose-bleeds, blood in stool or urine and severely aching joints that are cured through the infusion of desmopressin, cryoprecipitate and so on.


Partial or complete obstruction of blood flow to heart muscles (pericardium) which adversely affects the pumping activity of heart that may even cease, thus causing the death of victim. It is characterized by tightness, pain and squeezing in the chest region where heart is located. To avoid the possibility of stroke or heart attack, preventive measures, individual medication, combination therapy and surgery are usually recommended by a heart specialist.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

A contagious viral disease that quickly spread and claimed hundreds of lives worldwide in 2003, is characterized by high fever, dry cough, diarrhea and headache. Severe symptoms of SARS can be relieved by fever & cough medication, supplemental oxygen and bronchodilator.

Pulmonary Vascular Disease

The narrowing and stiffening of veins and arteries that supply blood to the lower extremities of body caused by the buildup of plaque which may result in pain, fatigue, cramps at night and burning of feet while you are at rest. Mild cases are treated with changes in lifestyle and medications, like aspirin, but severity of the condition may require stent placement or angioplasty.

Buerger's Disease

Caused by addiction or exposure to tobacco, it may require amputation of some parts of the body like toes and fingers. The malady affects medium sized and small veins, arteries and nerves and blocks the blood supply to toes, hands, and fingers. Severe pain and inflammation occur in legs, feet, hands and arms along with the death of tissues. Though there is not perfect solution available, immediate quitting of tobacco or its products can stop the further progression of the disease and save you from the amputation of your body parts.

Ventricular Trachycardia

Characterized by racing heartbeat due to the abnormal functioning of ventricles it can even be life-threatening as it may cause asystole, ventricular fibrillation, and sudden death. The treatment strategies include defibrillation, cardiac ablation, anti-arrhythmic drug therapy, electrical cardioversion, and so on.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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