Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Overview Of Heart Disease

One of the most widely recognized causes of premature death worldwide today is heart disease. Although this may sound very depressing, the reality is that the incidence of premature deaths caused by heart disease has significantly declined in recent years. Although progress has been made in the treatment of heart disease, additional effort needs to be made to prevent this illness as much as possible. Heart disease often takes a toll on the sufferer's and his family's lives. Treating heart disease can also be very complicated, requiring specialized human resources, equipment and medication. The costs of such treatments are also very high. In summary, prevention is better than the cure. Let's now review the other factors.

Who Are At Risk?

People who have a family history of heart disease are probably the most at risk. So, bear in mind that if hereditary heart disease is prevalent in your family it would probably be a wise step to discuss this aspect with your doctor and to have regular annual appointments with him to check for potential problems. Be assured that if you do this, your chances of circumventing heart disease will be so much better.

Heart Disease Is A Leading Cause For Fatalities

Although more men are prone to heart disease than women, it is the most widely recognized cause of death in women. Strangely enough the observation that women live longer than men is also still true. Women therefore have to take certain measures to prevent the onset and development of heart disease.

Recognition Of The Problem Often Occurs Too Late

Doctors and specialists today, armed with improved technologies, are able to diagnose and treat heart disease more comprehensively than ever in the past. Unfortunately, by the time most people realize that they are suffering from heart disease, it would have escalated to an advanced stage that poses a treatment challenge for physicians. Often the onset of the illness only comes to light when the person has already been afflicted by a stroke or heart attack.

Of the many contributing factors of heart disease in people, smoking cigarettes is the most critical. Other factors such as elevated blood cholesterol levels as well as obesity, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyles and diabetes heighten the incidence of heart disease. The person who does not deny these risk factors will have a better understanding and chance of survival should he or she be afflicted by some form of heart disease. Obviously it will mean making some necessary lifestyle changes.

Tremendous advances in medical technology have been made in many areas and also in terms of treatment protocols for sufferers of coronary heart disease. The development of drugs specifically designed to prevent heart attacks has increased and are readily available. Surgical techniques have advanced tremendously since the days of Dr. Chris Barnard and the first heart transplant. Both drug and surgery treatment protocols are designed for the elimination of heart problems and the restoration of proper heart function. The success of these developments is documented by the sharp decline of fatalities due to heart disease.

Steps Forward In Dealing With Heart Disease

Many new preventive measures have been developed to reduce the problems associated with heart disease. In addition to the advances in medical treatment for people suffering from heart disease, public awareness for these illnesses has increased dramatically. People are educating themselves with regards to the good benefits of a healthy lifestyle, staying away from smoking and drugs and working out to a cardiovascular exercise routine that is specifically designed to exercise the heart to make it stronger.

This statement by no means indicates that heart disease is not a serious threat, or that heart disease can be circumvented with minor treatment programs. Not at all! Heart disease is a serious health condition the danger of which can never be underplayed. But it is interesting and important to realize that heart disease is no longer the death threat that it was in years gone by.

Check Ups Can Prevent Heart Problems

Regular examinations by the doctor will not prevent heart disease from happening, but these examinations may have a significant impact on your heath if they are able to nip a heart problem in the bud before it becomes serious. This makes sense with regards to any illness. Detecting heart disease early in its developmental stages can motivate the patient to obtain treatment as a matter of urgency. When treatment is received promptly, the higher the chances are to successfully treat the heart disease before it turns out to be life threatening. Because this is so important regular - at least annual - checkups are necessary for those who might be at risk for heart disease.


  1. Myocardial infarction (heart attack) - heart disease


    Chest pain
    (Dyspnea) shortness of breath)
    Pain Radiating to Left shoulder/arm
    Pins and needles
    Sweating profusely

    Age 45+
    Bad diet


    PCI (Percutaneous coronary intervention)
    - Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) or Cabbage
    - Stents

  2. Lifestyle changes are very important. Your doctor may tell you to:
    * Avoid or reduce the amount of salt (sodium) you eat
    * Eat a heart healthy diet -- one that is low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and trans fat
    * Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight
    * Keep your blood sugar strictly under control if you have diabetes
    * Stop smoking
    Pericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed. The condition can occur in the days or weeks following a heart attack.
    Bacterial pericarditis is irritation and swelling of the sac that surrounds the heart (pericardium), due to infection by bacteria.
    Constrictive pericarditis is long-term (chronic) inflammation of the sac-like covering of the heart (the pericardium) with thickening, scarring, and muscle tightening (contracture).
    Symptoms of pericarditis:-
    * Ankle, feet and leg swelling (occasionally)
    * Anxiety
    * Breathing difficulty when lying down
    * Chest pain, caused by the inflamed pericardium rubbing against the heart
    # May radiate to the neck, shoulder, back or abdomen
    # Often increases with deep breathing and lying flat, and may increase with coughing and swallowing
    # Pleuritis type: a sharp, stabbing pain
    # Usually relieved by sitting up and leaning forward
    * Dry cough
    * Fatigue
    * Fever
    * Need to bend over or hold the chest while breathing
    Aortic dissection is a potentially life-threatening condition in which there is bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta, the major artery leaving the heart.
    Symptoms of aortic dissection:
    The symptoms usually begin suddenly, and include severe chest pain. The pain may:
    * Be described as sharp, stabbing, tearing, or ripping
    * Be felt below the chest bone, then moves under the shoulder blades or to the back
    * Move to shoulder, neck, arm, jaw, abdomen, or hips
    * Change position -- pain typically moves to the arms and legs as the aortic dissection gets worse
    Other symptoms may include:
    * Changes in thought ability, confusion, disorientation
    * Decreased movement, any part of the body
    * Decreased sensation, any part of the body
    * Dizziness
    * Dry mouth
    * Dry skin
    * Fainting
    * Intense anxiety, anguish
    * Nausea and vomiting
    * Pallor
    * Profuse sweating (clammy skin)
    * Rapid, weak pulse
    * Shortness of breath -- difficulty breathing when lying flat (orthopnea)
    * Thirst