Heart Disease

This section provides information about the different types of heart disease, what causes heart disease and how you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. You may be:

  • A patient suffering from heart disease
  • A carer looking after someone affected by heart disease
  • A family member looking for general information about heart disease
  • A member of the public looking for information on how to reduce your risk of having heart disease

You can find information on how the heart works, how to reduce your risk of being affected by heart disease and information about various different types of heart disease.

How the heart works

This section is designed to help you understand how the heart works and what can go wrong. It cannot address every aspect of heart disease but is more of a general introduction to the most common problems that affect people.

Preventing Heart Disease

This information journey provides details on ways to reduce the risk of heart disease through healthy living and by being aware of any risk factors you may have.

Topics cover the effects of smoking, cholesterol, obesity, alcohol intake and diet.

It can be useful for people who have not suffered from heart disease (primary prevention) or for people who have already suffered from heart disease and want to reduce their risk (secondary prevention).

Tests to investigate heart disease

There are many types of tests which can help diagnose heart disease. This section provides details of these.


Angina is a symptom, not an illness in itself. It is the heart complaining that it is not getting enough oxygen during exertion or stress and is temporary.

The discomfort associated with stable angina will usually pass when you stop the activity that brought it on or after taking a Glyceryl Trinitrate (GTN) tablet or spray (medication to relieve the pain of angina).

Unstable angina is when angina attacks occur more frequently, with less and less activity. This may be an indication of a worsening condition and you should see your doctor urgently.

This information journey covers the symptoms and causes of angina, the tests and treatments for angina and how to manage angina.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, if untreated, can damage blood vessels and lead to serious problems including strokes, angina, heart attacks and heart failure. The good news is that by detecting high blood pressure and treating it, these problems can be prevented.

This information journey provides information about the symptoms and causes of high blood pressure and how it can be managed through lifestyle changes and medication.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition which results in an irregular, and often fast, heart beat. The irregular beat, or arrhythmia, is caused by abnormal electrical impulses in the heart and can be a complication of a number of diseases. Severe symptoms can be life-threatening but most people with AF have no or only mild symptoms.

This information journey provides information about the symptoms and causes of AF, the tests and treatments and how to manage AF.

Acute Coronary Syndrome (including Heart Attack)

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) describes a range of problems affecting the heart from unstable angina (a threatened heart attack) to an actual heart attack (myocardial infarction) depending on how much the arteries of the heart are blocked.

This information journey provides information about the symptoms and causes of ACS, the tests and treatments for ACS, recovery following ACS, cardiac rehabilitation and how to manage your risk of ACS.

Heart Failure

Heart Failure is a condition where the heart muscle has become weakened and is unable to pump blood around the body as efficiently as before.

This information journey provides information about the symptoms, causes, and drugs used to manage heart failure symptoms.

Air Travel Information

This section provides key information for people who want to fly following cardiac surgery or after being diagnosed with heart disease.