Heart Disease

Coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and heart attacks are all a type of heart problem. They require different treatments but may share similar warnings. It is important to see your doctor so that you can receive a correct diagnosis and prompt treatment. The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is angina, or chest pain. Angina can be described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing, or painful feeling in your chest. It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. Angina may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw, or back.

Other symptoms of coronary artery disease include: Shortness of breath, palpitations (irregular heart beats, or a “flip-flop” feeling in your chest), a faster heartbeat, weakness or dizziness, nausea and sweating. Symptoms of a heart attack can include: discomfort, pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone, discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat, or arm, fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (may feel like heartburn), sweating, nausea, vomiting, or dizziness, extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath, rapid or irregular heartbeats.

During a heart attack, symptoms typically last 30 minutes or longer and are not relieved by rest or oral medications. Initial symptoms may start as a mild discomfort that progresses to significant pain. Some people have a heart attack without having any symptoms, which is known as a “silent” myocardial infarction (MI). It occurs more often in people with diabetes.

When symptoms of arrhythmias, or an abnormal heart rhythm, are present, they may include: palpitations (a feeling of skipped heart beats, fluttering or flip-flops in your chest), pounding in your chest, dizziness or feeling light-headed, fainting, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, weakness or fatigue (feeling very tired). Treatments for heart disease range from low-tech to high-tech. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is one link in what the American Heart Association calls the “chain of survival.

Medical care is essential once heart disease is diagnosed. The goals of treatment are stabilizing the condition, controlling symptoms over the long term, and providing a cure when possible. Stress reduction, diet, and lifestyle changes are key in managing heart disease, but the mainstays of conventional care are drugs and surgery. Some surgeries are: Angioplasty and Stents, angioplasty is a non-surgical procedure that can be used to open blocked heart arteries. Stent placement is another option that can be done during angioplasty.

Heart Bypass Surgery, heart bypass surgery can be used to treat heart disease when your coronary arteries are blocked. Your doctor may treat the problem by giving the blood a new pathway to the heart. Valve Disease Treatment, when treatment for heart valve disease includes surgery, it can be performed by traditional surgery or minimally invasive balloon valvuloplasty. Cardioversion, for many people with heart disease, drugs alone will not convert an arrhythmia to a normal heart rhythm.

For these people, a procedure called cardioversion or electrical cardioversion may be necessary. Ablation, ablation is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias. The type of arrhythmia and the presence of other heart disease will determine whether ablation can be performed surgically or nonsurgically. Pacemakers, A pacemaker is a small device that sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate and rhythm. A pacemaker may also be used to treat fainting spells (syncope), congestive heart failure, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Digoxin If you have heart disease, Digoxin is a medication that helps an injured or weakened heart work more efficiently to send blood through the body. There are several risk factors for heart disease; some are controllable, others are not. Uncontrollable risk factors include: Males, Older age, Family history of heart disease, Postmenopausal, Race (African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans are more likely to have heart disease than Caucasians). Still, there are many heart disease risk factors that can be controlled.

By making changes in your lifestyle, you can actually reduce your risk for heart disease. Controllable risk factors include: Smoking, High LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and low HDL, or “good” cholesterol, Uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure), Physical inactivity, Obesity (more than 20% over one’s ideal body weight), Uncontrolled diabetes, High C-reactive protein, Uncontrolled stress and anger. If you are a regular guy, chances are you’re at risk of suffering a heart attack.

Even more disturbing is that 50 percent of heart attack victims die before reaching the hospital. Heart disease will kill one third of American women, and even more American men which makes it the leading cause of death in the U. S. Though men tend not to worry about heart problems until they are in their 40s, artery blockage can be detected when men are in their mid-20s and most men can decrease their risk by changing their lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Scott Wright says that too many young men underestimate the dangers.

“The biggest problem I see is denial — that it can be me, that what I’m doing today in 20 or 30 years can lead to having heart disease, being at risk for heart attack, or needing bypass surgery. ” If your relatives have a history of heart attacks or heart disease, your own risk increases. The risk is higher if parents, a brother or sister, or grandparents had a heart attack or stroke at an early age, especially if a male had heart problems prior to age 55 or a female had problems prior to age 65. Related risk factors such as the tendency to have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure can have a genetic component.

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