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Heart Disease

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An Introduction to Heart Disease

Heart disease is a term that applies to a large number of medical conditions
relating to the heart. These medical conditions relate to the abnormal health
conditions that directly affect the heart and all its components. Heart disease
is a major health problem within some cultures.

One theory for heart disease is the radical changes within our lifestyles.
People are often less active and eat diets high in fats. Takeaway food is
abundant today and often people will eat it due to the increased availability.
Some takeaway outlets are now helping cater to a healthier lifestyle by
offering a variety of healthy dishes such as salads. People are becoming more
aware of the risk of heart disease and choosing to change their diets. Exercise
is extremely important in order to avoid heart disease. Exercise helps to keep
the heart in peak performance. By using a combination of exercise and a
balanced diet, the risk of heart disease is greatly decreased.

The term Cardiovascular Disease covers a large number of diseases that directly
affect the heart and the blood vessel system. It especially affects the veins
and arteries that lead to and from the heart. Research has suggested that women
who suffer with cardiovascular disease usually suffer from forms that affect the
blood vessels. While men usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle
itself. Other known or associated causes of cardiovascular disease include
diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. Heart disease and
strokes are other common cardiovascular diseases. Two independent risk factors
that have a major impact for heart diseases, cardiovascular diseases, are high
blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Now day's heart disease does not have to be a death sentence. There are healthy
lifestyle choices that can be made and science has come a long way in the early
detection of heart disease.

What Is Heart Disease?

The heart is the center of the body's cardiovascular system. Throughout the
body's blood vessels, the heart pumps blood to all of the body's cells. The
blood carries oxygen, which the cells need. Heart disease is a group of medical
problems that occur when the heart and blood vessels aren't working the way they
should.

How Do You Get Heart Disease?

Heart disease is not contagious so it cannot be caught like the common cold or
the everyday flu. There are certain things that can increase a person's chances
of getting cardiovascular disease, also known as Heart disease. These are
commonly known as risk factors. Some of these risk factors a person are not
able to do anything about, such as getting older or having people in their
family who have the same heart problem. Risk factors such as smoking, high
blood pressure, being overweight, and not exercising enough can increase the
risk of getting heart disease.

What Are the Signs of Heart Disease?

Many people do not realize they have cardiovascular disease. Often it isn't
known until they have a chest pain, a heart attack, or stroke. These kinds of
problems often need immediate attention and the person may need to go to the
emergency department of a hospital for an assessment.

If the condition proves not to be an emergency, and a doctor suspects the
person could have cardiovascular disease, the doctor can do some tests to find
out more about how the heart and blood vessels are working.

These tests include electrocardiograms. This test records the heart's
electrical activity. The person becomes attached to a monitor and the heartbeat
is watched on a machine to see if it is normal or not.

Cardiovascular disease is a common problem within society as a whole. With
better choices in eating, exercising and decreased stress levels, anyone can
have a happier and healthy life.

Heart Disease overview

Heart Disease is one of the world's largest health problems today. It not only
affects the wealthier nations it is also affecting the poorer ones. Heart
Disease covers a wide range of health ailments relating specifically to the
heart.

There are many theories and ideas that relate to heart disease. One school of
thought for the sudden increase in heart disease is the changes within
different lifestyles. People are often less active and eat diets high in fats.
Takeaway food is abundant today and often people will eat it due to the
increased availability. Some takeaway outlets are now helping cater to a
healthier lifestyle by offering a variety of healthy dishes such as salads.
People are becoming more aware of the risk of heart disease and choosing to
change their diets.

Why exercise? Exercise is extremely important in order to avoid heart disease.
Exercise helps to keep the heart at its peak performance and is optimum health
is easier to maintain. By using a combination of exercise and a balanced diet,
the risk of heart disease is greatly decreased.

The term "Cardiovascular Disease" is widely used within today's society. The
term Cardiovascular Disease includes a large number of diseases which directly
affect the heart and the blood vessel system. It especially affects the veins
and arteries that lead to and from the heart.

Conducted research has suggested that women who suffer with cardiovascular
disease usually suffer from forms that affect the blood vessels. While men
usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle itself. Other known or
associated causes of cardiovascular disease include diabetes mellitus,
hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

Heart disease and strokes are other more common cardiovascular diseases. Two
independent risk factors that have a major impact for heart diseases plus
cardiovascular diseases are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Why heart disease?

Heart disease is a term that applies to a large number of medical conditions
relating to the heart. These medical conditions relate to the abnormal health
conditions that directly affect the heart and all its components. Heart disease
is a major health problem within some cultures.

One theory for heart disease is the radical changes within our lifestyles.
People are often less active and eat diets high in fats. Takeaway food is
abundant today and often people will eat it due to the increased availability.
Some takeaway outlets are now helping cater to a healthier lifestyle by
offering a variety of healthy dishes such as salads. People are becoming more
aware of the risk of heart disease and choosing to change their diets. Exercise
is extremely important in order to avoid heart disease. Exercise helps to keep
the heart in peak performance. By using a combination of exercise and a
balanced diet, the risk of heart disease is greatly decreased.

The term Cardiovascular Disease covers a large number of diseases that directly
affect the heart and the blood vessel system. It especially affects the veins
and arteries that lead to and from the heart. Research has suggested that women
who suffer with cardiovascular disease usually suffer from forms that affect the
blood vessels. While men usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle
itself. Other known or associated causes of cardiovascular disease include
diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia. Heart disease and
strokes are other common cardiovascular diseases. Two independent risk factors
that have a major impact for heart diseases, cardiovascular diseases, are high
blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Now day's heart disease does not have to be a death sentence. There are healthy
lifestyle choices that can be made and science has come a long way in the early
detection of heart disease.

Heart Disease Today

Heart disease is a term that applies to a large number of medical conditions
relating to the heart. These medical conditions relate to the abnormal health
conditions that directly affect the heart and all its components. Heart disease
is a major health problem within some cultures.

A theory for the increased rates in heart disease, today are the enormous
changes within cultures and lifestyles. People are often less active and eat
diets high in fats. Takeaway food is abundant today and often people will eat
it due to the increased availability. Some takeaway outlets are now helping
cater to a healthier lifestyle by offering a variety of healthy dishes such as
salads. People are becoming more aware of the risk of heart disease and
choosing to change their diets.

Exercise is important in order to avoid heart disease. Exercise helps to
maintain the heart in peak performance. By utilizing a combination of exercise
and a balanced diet, the risk of heart disease is greatly decreased.

The term Cardiovascular Disease covers a large number of diseases that directly
affect the heart and the blood vessel system. It especially affects the veins
and arteries that lead to and from the heart. Research has suggested that women
who suffer with cardiovascular disease usually suffer from forms that affect the
blood vessels. While men usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle
itself. Other known or associated causes of cardiovascular disease include
diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

Heart disease and strokes are other common cardiovascular diseases. Two
independent risk factors that have a major impact for heart diseases,
cardiovascular diseases, are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

Today heart disease does not have to be a death sentence. There are healthy
lifestyle choices that can be made and science has come a long way in the early
detection of heart disease.

Abnormal Heart Rhythms (arrhythmias)

Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) are sequences of heartbeats that are
irregular. They are too fast, too slow, or conducted via an abnormal electrical
pathway through the heart. Heart rhythms differ from one person to the other.
Health, age and fitness are often key factors.

The heart is a muscular organ with four chambers, designed to work efficiently,
reliably, and continuously over a lifetime. The muscular walls of each chamber
contract in a regulated sequence, pumping blood as required by the body while
expending as little energy as possible during each heartbeat.

Contraction of the muscle fibers within the heart is controlled by electricity.
This flows through the heart in a precise manner, along distinct pathways and at
a controlled speed. The electrical current that begins each heartbeat,
originates in the heart's pacemaker, located in the top of the upper right
heart chamber (right atrium). The rate at which the pacemaker discharges the
electrical current determines the heart rate. This rate is influenced by nerve
impulses and levels of certain hormones within the bloodstream.

The heart rate is regulated automatically by the autonomic nervous system,
which consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions. The
sympathetic division increases the heart rate through a network of nerves
called the sympathetic plexus. The parasympathetic division decreases the heart
rate through a single nerve, the vagus nerve.

In an adult at rest, the heart rate is usually between sixty and one hundred
beats per minute. However, lower rates may be normal in young adults,
particularly those who are physically fit. A person's heart rate varies
normally in response to exercise and such stimuli as pain and anger. Heart
rhythm is considered abnormal only when the heart rate is inappropriately fast
(known as tachycardia) or slow (known as bradycardia), or is irregular, or when
electrical impulses travel along abnormal pathways.

Arrhythmias Abnormal Heartbeats

Some people who have abnormal heartbeats may not even be aware of them.
Awareness of heartbeats (called palpitations) varies widely among people. Some
people can feel normal heartbeats, and most people can feel heartbeats when
they lie on their left side. Arrhythmias have consequences that range from
harmless to life threatening. The seriousness of an arrhythmia may not be
closely linked with the severity of the symptoms it causes. Often, the nature
and severity of the underlying heart disease are more important than the
arrhythmia itself. Some life-threatening arrhythmias cause no symptoms.
Otherwise inconsequential arrhythmias can cause severe symptoms.

When arrhythmias impair the person's heart's ability to pump blood, they can
produce weakness, a reduced capacity for exercise, light-headedness, dizziness,
and fainting. Fainting occurs when the heart is pumping so inefficiently, it can
no longer maintain enough blood pressure. If such an arrhythmia persists, death
may be a direct result.

Arrhythmias may also aggravate the symptoms of underlying heart disease,
including chest pain and shortness of breath. Arrhythmias that produce symptoms
require prompt attention. Often, a person's description of symptoms can help
doctors make a preliminary diagnosis, determining the severity of the
arrhythmia. The most important considerations are whether the palpitations are
fast or slow, regular or irregular. If the palpitations are brief or prolonged?
Whether or not the arrhythmia itself produces symptoms?

Doctors also need to know whether the palpitations occur. At rest or only
during strenuous or unusual activity, whether they start and stop suddenly or
gradually. However, certain diagnostic procedures are often needed to determine
the exact nature of the arrhythmia and its cause

People with suspected life-threatening arrhythmias are usually hospitalized.
Their heart rhythm is continuously recorded and displayed on a television-type
monitor by the bedside or nursing station. Thus, any problems can be identified
promptly.

Heart Diseases starting with A

Cardiovascular disease is not a single ailment, as it is a disorder/s that
relates to all of the heart and circulatory system. Heart disease can refer to
damage in the heart's lining, valves, muscle, arteries, or electrical system. A
person can often suffer from several types of cardiovascular (heart) disorders
at the same time. Or there may be several different problems related to a
single underlying cause.

A person can be born with a diseased heart, or develop heart disease. Some risk
factors leading to heart disease are controllable such as smoking, poor diet and
lack of exercise. Other risk factors are not controllable such as a persons age,
gender and ethnicity.

Healthy arteries are flexible and like elastic. An aneurysm is where the hearts
artery loses its elasticity. Instead of keeping its smooth cylindrical shape,
the artery may develop a bulge. Having lost its elasticity and strength the
damaged artery may rupture. It is like when a balloon explodes after someone
puts in too much air.

Angina is a symptom of myocardial ischemia, usually caused by coronary
atherosclerosis. Patients will feel chest pressure and acute shortness of
breath.

Arrhythmia is any deviation from or disturbance of a normal hearts rhythm. The
basic rhythm of the heart is a regulated process designed to insure efficiency
and optimal performance. It is a dynamic process that changes according to the
metabolic needs of the body. The cardiac rhythm involves several different
small and large structures within the normal heart.

Atherosclerosis is also known as "hardening of the arteries". It is caused by
the gradual buildup of fats, cholesterol and other materials in the arteries.
This build up causes the artery to narrow and become less flexible. Arteries
loose elasticity as a natural part of the aging process. However, poor diet and
smoking speed up this process.

Heart Disease the Silent Killer

The heart is the center of the body's cardiovascular system. Throughout the
body's blood vessels, the heart pumps blood to all of the body's cells. The
blood carries oxygen, which the cells need. Heart disease is a group of medical
problems that occur when the heart and blood vessels aren't working the way they
should.

No one is immune to this silent and frequently deadly killer. People can be
born with a heart defect or disease and have no idea until they have a heart
attack, symptoms relating to a stroke or in the worst case scenario, sudden
death.

Children are often victims as they may have a heart defect that happens as they
are growing in the womb. Often this is well before the mother knows she is
pregnant. These heart defects and diseases can be treated efficiently using a
multitude of medical miracle breakthroughs involving surgery and other
treatment.

Heart disease is a problem that affects any culture, any race at any age. Some
people are more likely to develop heart disease; overall no one is totally safe
from heart disease.

Lifestyle choices often play a huge part in the development of heart disease.
Excess weight, lack of exercise, diets high in fat can make anyone a candidate
for a heart problem. Smoking active or passive can cause the buildups inside
the heart, causing it to not work as efficiently as it should.

The term Cardiovascular Disease covers a large number of diseases that directly
affect the heart and the blood vessel system. It especially affects the veins
and arteries that lead to and from the heart. Research has suggested that women
who suffer with cardiovascular disease usually suffer from forms that affect the
blood vessels. While men usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle
itself.

Blood Pressure Facts

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke,
heart failure, peripheral vascular disease and renal failure. High blood
pressure is more likely to develop among people who are overweight or
physically inactive, or have high dietary salt intakes. Hypertension is one of
the most frequently managed problems in general practice worldwide.

The heart pumps blood around the body through the blood vessels. Blood pressure
is the amount of force exerted on the artery walls by the pumping blood. High
blood pressure (hypertension) means the blood is pumping with more force than
normal through arteries. This added stress upon the arteries could possibly
accelerate the distribution of arteries with fatty plaques (atherosclerosis).

Other risk factors for atherosclerosis include cigarette smoking and high blood
cholesterol. Atherosclerosis contributes too many heart illnesses, such as heart
attack and stroke. Hypertension is a common disorder of the circulatory system,
affecting around one in seven people.

Hypertension usually produces no symptoms. This means most people don't even
realize they have it. Experts recommend that everyone should have their blood
pressure checked regularly.

When the heart contracts the blood inside the left ventricle, is forced into
the aorta and arteries. The blood then enters small vessels with muscular
walls, called arterioles. The tone within the muscular walls of the arterioles
determines how relaxed or constricted they are. If narrowed, they resist flow.

Reduced flow of blood is detected in the brain, the kidneys and elsewhere.
Nerve reflexes are stimulated and hormones are then produced. The heart is
induced to beat more forcefully so that the blood pressure is maintained at a
higher level, to overcome the restricted flow through the arterioles. The
achievement of good flow (now at high pressure) eases possible problems for
function of the brain and kidneys. These adjustments happen normally. There are
some people that the adjustments become fixed and high blood pressure persists.
These people have developed hypertension.

Eating for a Healthy Heart

For many years, the traditional western diet has very high in meat and animal
fat, lacking in vegetables, fruits and grains. This has made people all over
the world extremely vulnerable to heart and blood vessel disease. By making
some changes, it is possible to make a huge difference to the heart and general
health. Start out with the changes one at a time, this way they are more likely
to last. Start gradually, and see how many of these changes can be incorporated
into your diet daily diet.

Discover the joy of cooking a simple nutritious meal! There are many wonderful
recipes in books, online and even some family recipes wait to be discovered.
Choose a selection of wholegrain breads instead of white for a change. Eat more
cereals such as rice, pasta and other grains. Legumes such as dried peas and
beans are excellent to have as a side dish or add to a hot casserole on a cold
winter's night. Make lean meats a part of your diet as there are wonderful
assortments of cuts to utilize in different dishes. Use only very small amounts
of very lean meats, and eat poultry without skin.

Choose low-fat dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. Make high fat
foods such as a chocolate bar or cake an occasional treat. Rather than have
high fats every day, be imaginative and see what low fat recipes and
alternatives are available. Fish is another excellent option! Eat it fresh or
canned twice a week, Use monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils such as olive
oil, canola, sunflower and safflower for cooking.

* Use small amounts of margarine spreads or olive oil instead of butter. Grill,
  boil, steam, bake or microwave rather than fry.
* Reduce your salt intake.
* Drink plenty of water.
* Discover the joy of cooking wholesome meals at home.

Heart Defects in Children

A Congenital heart is when a heart develops a problem from before birth. Often
this is such things as a hole in the heart. These problems usually develop
before anyone is aware that they exist. Heart defects can have a wide degree of
severity. There are simple problems such as holes between the chambers of the
heart to extreme malformations such as the complete absence of one or more
chambers or valves within the heart.

Anyone can have a child with a congenital heart defect. Statistics have shown
that out of one thousand births, eight babies will have some form of congenital
heart disorder, most of which are mild. If some family members have already had
a baby with a heart defect, the risk of having a baby born with a heart disease
may well be higher.

This is something that most of the time cannot be predicted. The main reason
defects occur is presumed to be genetic, only a few genes have been discovered
that have been linked to the presence of heart defects. Rarely the ingestion of
some drugs and the occurrence of some infections during pregnancy can cause
defects.

Most heart defects in children are congenital. They are usually but not always
diagnosed early in life. There are rare case where hear disease in children is
not congenital. This type of heart disease is called acquired; examples include
Kawasaki disease and rheumatic fever. Children also can be born with or develop
heart rate problems such as slow, fast, or irregular heart beats, known as
"arrhythmias".

Severe heart disease generally becomes evident during the first few months
after birth. Some babies are blue or have very low blood pressure shortly after
birth. Other defects may cause breathing difficulties, feeding problems, or poor
weight gain.

Heart arrhythmia and palpitations

Heart disease is a term that applies to a large number of medical conditions
relating to the heart. These medical conditions relate to the abnormal health
conditions that directly affect the heart and all its components. Heart disease
is a major health problem within some cultures.

One theory for heart disease is the radical changes within our lifestyles.
People are often less active and eat diets high in fats. Takeaway food is
abundant today and often people will eat it due to the increased availability.
Some takeaway outlets are now helping cater to a healthier lifestyle by
offering a variety of healthy dishes such as salads. People are becoming more
aware of the risk of heart disease and choosing to change their diets.

Exercise is extremely important in order to avoid heart disease. Exercise helps
to keep the heart in peak performance. By using a combination of exercise and a
balanced diet, the risk of heart disease is greatly decreased.

Some people who have abnormal heartbeats may not even be aware of them.
Awareness of heartbeats (called palpitations) varies widely among people. Some
people can feel normal heartbeats, and most people can feel heartbeats when
they lie on their left side. Arrhythmias have consequences that range from
harmless to life threatening. The seriousness of an arrhythmia may not be
closely linked with the severity of the symptoms it causes. Often, the nature
and severity of the underlying heart disease are more important than the
arrhythmia itself. Some life-threatening arrhythmias cause no symptoms.
Otherwise inconsequential arrhythmias can cause severe symptoms.

When arrhythmias impair the person's heart's ability to pump blood, they can
produce weakness, a reduced capacity for exercise, light-headedness, dizziness,
and fainting. Fainting occurs when the heart is pumping so inefficiently, it can
no longer maintain enough blood pressure. If such an arrhythmia persists, death
may be a direct result.

Arrhythmias may also aggravate the symptoms of underlying heart disease,
including chest pain and shortness of breath. Arrhythmias that produce symptoms
require prompt attention.

Marfan Syndrome

Marfan syndrome is a rare disorder that causes the connective tissue in the
body to be weaker than it should be. Connective tissue is the material which
holds together many structures in the body, such as tendons, ligaments,
cartilage, blood vessels, heart valves, and more. Because the connective tissue
is weaker in Marfan patients, it affects how the heart and blood vessels, eyes,
and skeleton are formed as well as how they work.

Marfan syndrome is thought to be an inherited disease that is caused by a
defect in a gene. Marfan syndrome can affect both men and women. Because the
gene defect can be passed down to children, Marfan patients should talk to
their doctor and a genetic counselor before having children. In about twenty
five percent of Marfan patients, neither parent had the condition. In these
patients, the condition is thought to develop because of a mutation in the egg
or the sperm . The defect in the gene that causes Marfan syndrome controls the
production of a special protein found in the connective tissue. This protein is
called fibrillin. Without enough proper fibrillin, the walls of the major
arteries are weakened. If the aorta (the main blood supplier to the body) is
affected, it gets bigger (or dilates), making it weaker. The weakened area of
the aorta can bulge outward, creating an aortic aneurysm. Or the aorta can
tear, and blood can lea through these tears plus between the tissue of the
aortic wall. This is called aortic dissection.

If the aorta is stretched and weakened, this can also affect the aortic valve.
In some patients, blood leaks backward through the valve instead of moving in
the proper one-way, forward flow. This is called regurgitation. If too much
blood flows backward, only a small amount can travel forward to your body's
organs. The heart tries to make up for this by working harder, and with time
the heart will become enlarged (dilated) and less able to pump blood throughout
the body.

Bradycardia the Hearts Slow Rate

Bradycardia is when the heart rate is less than that of sixty beats per minute.
A normal healthy heartbeat is between sixty and one hundred beats per minute.
Bradycardia is the opposite of Tachycardia -- the condition where the heart
beats way to fast.

In some people, such as athletes and people who are very active, Bradycardia
rates can be as low as fifty beats per minute. This can be normal and as the
person exercises, the heart rate will continue to become stronger and more
efficient. This is because less heart contractions are necessary to supply
their body's needs.

In other cases, bradycardia can be a form of cardiac arrhythmia, a heart-rate
abnormality. Bradycardia can cause dizziness, weakness, lack of energy, or
fainting spells.

If bradycardia is caused by a medical illness, there will be additional
symptoms that are specific to that illness. For example, people whose
bradycardia is due to severe hypothyroidism may also be able to have
constipation, muscle cramps, weight gain, very dry skin, hair that is thin and
dry, an abnormal sensitivity to cold temperatures and other symptoms related to
low levels of thyroid hormones. How long bradycardia lasts depends on its cause.

For example, normal bradycardia in a well-trained athlete will last as long as
the athlete maintains his or her usual level of exercise. For instance is
bradycardia occurs as a side effect of medication, it usually disappears as
soon as the drug that triggered the bradycardia is finished. For example any
Bradycardia caused by hypothyroidism will go away quickly after treatment with
thyroid hormones. There are certain forms of bradycardia resulting from cardiac
arrhythmias that can be cured with a permanent pacemaker.

When bradycardia occurs as a side effect of medication, the problem can be
prevented by either switching the drug or reducing its dose. In premature
infants, bradycardia is also very common and the infant will require constant
medical attention.

Heart Bypass and Cardiovascular disease

The term Cardiovascular Disease covers a large number of diseases that directly
affect the heart and the blood vessel system. It especially affects the veins
and arteries that lead to and from the heart. Research has suggested that women
who suffer with cardiovascular disease usually suffer from forms that affect the
blood vessels. While men usually suffer from forms that affect the heart muscle
itself. Other known or associated causes of cardiovascular disease include
diabetes mellitus, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

Heart disease and strokes are other common cardiovascular diseases. Two
independent risk factors that have a major impact for heart diseases,
cardiovascular diseases, are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
Now day's heart disease does not have to be a death sentence. There are healthy
lifestyle choices that can be made and science has come a long way in the early
detection of heart disease.

There is a type of heart surgery, sometimes called CABG ("cabbage"). The
surgery reroutes, or "bypasses," blood around clogged arteries to improve blood
flow and oxygen to the heart.

The arteries that bring blood to the heart muscle (coronary arteries) can
become clogged by plaque (a buildup of fat, cholesterol plus other substances).
This can then slow or stop blood flow through the heart's blood vessels, leading
to chest pain or a heart attack. Increasing blood flow to the heart muscle can
relieve chest pain and also reduce the risk of heart attack.

Surgeons take a segment of a healthy blood vessel from another part of the
body, and then make a detour around the blocked part of the coronary artery. An
artery may be detached from the chest wall and the open end attached to the
coronary artery below the blocked area. Or a piece of a long vein in your leg
may be taken. One end is sewn onto the large artery leaving your heart -- the
aorta. The other end of the vein is attached or "grafted" to the coronary
artery below the blocked area.

Depression and Coronary Heart Disease

Depression is now considered a major health problem, particularly those health
problems related to heart disease. It is now important to recognize that
depression is directly linked with heart disease. Depression is an illness that
can affect anyone at any time.

Research shows that depression is extremely common with people who have
coronary heart disease. Depression is known to increase the risk of further
heart problems in people with coronary disease. Depression is a risk factor for
coronary heart disease. Depression is sometimes under recognized and under
treated. Depression once diagnosed can be treated efficiently.

What is depression? Depression is not only a low mood or feeling sad, it is a
recognized and often life threatening illness. People with depression generally
feel sad, down or miserable most of the time. They find it hard to do normal
activities and functions from day to day. Depression has serious effects on
physical as well as mental health. Depression is a very common illness that
affects millions of people throughout the world.

What are the treatments for depression? Exercise programs have been shown to
have a huge impact on people with cardiac conditions. Light through to moderate
exercise programs have been shown to have wonderful results for people with the
less severe types of depression. However more severe types of depression
require different types of treatment and it is important to know then treating
depression, there are effective psychological or pharmaceutical treatments.

Psychological treatments look at issues which relate particularly to people
with depression. These include such things as altering negative patterns of
thinking or sorting out relationship difficulties.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is to correct the way people think and
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) to improve relationships between people. Depression
is not a transferable disease and an illness which needs to be understood more
today as so many people throughout the globe are affected by it.

Metabolic Syndrome

Researchers have found certain variables play an important role in a person's
chances of developing heart disease. These variables are called risk factors.
In recent years, researchers have found that some of these heart disease risk
factors cluster together in certain people. This clustering of risk factors is
known as metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is also called Reaven syndrome,
insulin resistance syndrome, or Metabolic Syndrome X.

People with metabolic syndrome have a clustering of the following risk factors:

* Central obesity (extra weight around the stomach) 
* Diabetes or glucose intolerance 
* High levels of triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL 
  or "good cholesterol") in the bloodstream 
* High Blood Pressure (hypertension)

There is still much to be learned about metabolic syndrome. Doctors do know
that people with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk of heart attack or
coronary artery disease. Researchers think that metabolic syndrome maybe a
genetic condition. This means that the genes are passed down from one
generation to the next. For the most part doctors do not fully understand why
metabolic syndrome happens.

People with insulin-resistant conditions, such as diabetes and hyperinsulinemia
are more likely to have metabolic syndrome. Diabetes is a condition where the
body cannot make or respond properly to the hormone insulin. Hyperinsulinemia
is a condition where large amounts of insulin are pumped into the bloodstream.
What are the signs of metabolic syndrome?

Patients with metabolic syndrome will not feel any symptoms. But there are
signs that might lead doctors to a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.

Doctors can check your HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and
weight, all of which are warning signs of metabolic syndrome. You may also need
blood tests to measure the levels of glucose and insulin in your bloodstream.

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a known serious heart disease. This is where the heart muscle
becomes inflamed and doesn't work as well as it needs to. There may be multiple
causes including viral infections.

Cardiomyopathy literally means "heart muscle disease" (The deterioration of the
function of the myocardium (the actual heart muscle for any reason). People with
Cardiomyopathy are often at risk of arrhythmia and possibly sudden cardiac death
(heart attack). People used to assume that only the elderly had heart disease or
heart attacks. That is not the case as heart disease can strike before birth and
any age in life. Heart disease covers a wide range of health conditions relating
to the heart and all its systems.

Cardiomyopathy is classified as primary or secondary. Primary cardiomyopathy is
not given specific causes, such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease or
congenital heart defects. Secondary cardiomyopathy is due to specific causes.
It is often associated with diseases involving other organs plus the heart

Dilated (congestive) Cardiomyopathy is the most common form. The heart cavity
is enlarged and stretched (cardiac dilation). The heart is weak and doesn't
pump normally, with many patients developing congestive heart failure. Abnormal
heart rhythms and disturbances in the heart's electrical conduction also may
occur.

Blood flows more slowly through an enlarged heart, so blood clots easily form.
A blood clot that forms in an artery or the heart is called a thrombus. A clot
that breaks free circulates in the bloodstream and blocks a small blood vessel
is called an embolus.

These clots are dangerous and can cause other systems plus their organs to
become sick. For example, blood clots that form in the heart's left side may
become dislodged and carried into the body's circulation to form cerebral
emboli in the brain, renal emboli in the kidney, peripheral emboli or even
coronary artery emboli.

Heart conditions -- endocarditis

Endocarditis is an infection of the endocardium or the heart valves. The
endocardium is the membrane lining the inner surfaces of the heart.
Endocarditis can occur in people who have certain pre-existing heart diseases.
It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible as this infection
has the ability to severely harm or even destroy the hearts valves. There is a
real need to be cautious with some dental and surgical procedures. This is
because the risk of endocarditis is increased due to bacteria being introduced
into the bloodstream. Other names Endocarditis is known by are 'infective
endocarditis or 'bacterial endocarditis.

Acute bacterial endocarditis (ABE) symptoms can occur within a few weeks of the
infection setting in. Symptoms of sub acute bacterial endocarditis (SBE) can
take weeks or months to develop.

Some general symptoms of endocarditis can include fever, chills, lethargy, and
the loss of appetite and generalized aching throughout the body. Other symptoms
include abnormal heart rhythms such as a murmur or tachycardia (rapid heart
rate), increased breathing and a persistent cough. Usually, an infection
somewhere else within the body causes bacteria to circulate in the blood. The
bacteria that cause most cases of endocarditis belong to the staphylococcus
family, such as Staphylococcus aureus or otherwise known as 'golden staph'.

The bacteria infect the already damaged and or diseased areas of the heart.
Prosthetic devices (such as artificial heart valves) may become susceptible to
infection as the immune system does not recognize these devices as part of the
body. Thus the body may not protect them as aggressively as the body parts it
does recognize and may not protect them as aggressively. The infection causes
inflammation and blood clots, and the body's natural healing process causes
scarring. A scarred endocardium or heart valve is susceptible to infections in
the future.

Living with heart Arrhythmias

Heart disease is a term that applies to a large number of medical conditions
relating to the heart. These medical conditions relate to the abnormal health
conditions that directly affect the heart and all its components. Heart disease
is a major health problem within some cultures.

One theory for heart disease is the radical changes within our lifestyles.
People are often less active and eat diets high in fats. Takeaway food is
abundant today and often people will eat it due to the increased availability.
Some takeaway outlets are now helping cater to a healthier lifestyle by
offering a variety of healthy dishes such as salads. People are becoming more
aware of the risk of heart disease and choosing to change their diets. Exercise
is extremely important in order to avoid heart disease. Exercise helps to keep
the heart in peak performance. By using a combination of exercise and a
balanced diet, the risk of heart disease is greatly decreased.

Most arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) neither cause symptoms nor interfere
with the heart's ability to pump blood. Thus, they usually pose little or no
risk. They can cause considerable anxiety if a person becomes aware of them.
There are some arrhythmias, harmless in themselves that can lead to more
serious arrhythmias.

Any arrhythmia that impairs the heart's ability to pump blood adequately is
serious. How serious, depends in part on where the arrhythmia originates. Is it
in the heart's normal pacemaker, in the atria, or in the ventricles? Generally,
arrhythmias which originate in the ventricles are more serious than those that
originate in the atria. These are more serious than those that originate in the
pacemaker. However, there are many exceptions.

For people who have a harmless, yet worrisome arrhythmia, reassurance that the
arrhythmia is harmless may be treatment enough. Sometimes arrhythmias occur
less often or even stop, when doctors change a person's drugs or adjust the
dosages. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, smoking, or strenuous exercise can also
help.

Disease of The Mitral Valve

Diseases of the heart valves are grouped according to which valve or valves are
involved plus the amount of blood flow that is disrupted by the problem. The
most common and serious valve problems happen in the mitral and aortic valves.
Diseases of the tricuspid and pulmonary valves are fairly rare.

The mitral valve regulates the flow of blood from the upper-left chamber (the
left atrium) to the lower-left chamber (the left ventricle).

Mitral Valve Prolapse

The mitral valve regulates the flow of blood from the upper-left chamber (the
left atrium) to the lower-left chamber (the left ventricle). Mitral valve
prolapse (MVP) means that one or both of the valve flaps (called cusps or
leaflets) are enlarged, and the flaps' supporting muscles are too long. Instead
of closing evenly, one or both of the flaps collapse or bulge into the left
atrium. MVP is often called click-murmur syndrome because when the valve does
not close properly, it makes a clicking sound and then a murmur.

What causes MVP? MVP is one of the most common forms of valve disease. It is
also genetic running in families.

What are the symptoms? Most people with MVP do not have symptoms. When symptoms
do happen, they may include: 

* Shortness of breath, especially when lying down. 
* Chest pain. 
* Extreme fatigue. 
* Heart palpitations. 
* Coughing.
* Trouble breathing after exercise.

Most of the time, MVP is not a serious condition. Some patients say they feel
palpitations or sharp chest pain.

Mitral Regurgitation is also called mitral insufficiency or mitral
incompetence. This happens when the mitral valve allows a backflow of blood
into the heart's upper-left chamber (the left atrium). Mitral regurgitation can
take years to reveal itself.

If it goes on long enough, it may cause a buildup of pressure in the lungs or
cause the heart to enlarge. In time, this will lead to symptoms.

Death by Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac death (sudden arrest) is death resulting from a sudden heart
attack (cardiac arrest). The victim may or may not have diagnosed heart
disease. The time and mode of death are unexpected. It occurs within moments
after symptoms appear. The most common reason for patients to die suddenly from
cardiac arrest is coronary heart disease (fatty buildups in the arteries that
supply blood to the heart muscle)

All known heart diseases can lead to cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death.
Most of the cardiac arrests that lead to sudden death occur when the electrical
impulses in the diseased heart become rapid (ventricular tachycardia), chaotic
(ventricular fibrillation) or both. This irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. Some cardiac arrests are due to
extreme slowing of the heart. This is called bradycardia. Bradycardia is common
in premature infants.

A large percentage of adult victims of sudden cardiac death, two or more major
coronary arteries are narrowed by fatty buildups. Scarring from a prior heart
attack is found in two-thirds of victims. When sudden death occurs in young
adults, other heart abnormalities are more likely causes. Adrenaline released
during intense physical or athletic activity often acts as a trigger for sudden
death when these abnormalities are present. Under certain conditions, various
heart medications and other drugs -- as well as illegal drug abuse -- can lead
to abnormal heart rhythms that cause sudden death.

The term "massive heart attack" is often wrongly used in the media to describe
sudden death. The term "heart attack" refers to death of heart muscle tissue
due to the loss of blood supply, not necessarily resulting in a cardiac arrest
or the death of the heart attack victim. A heart attack may cause cardiac
arrest and sudden cardiac death, but the terms aren't synonymous.

Living With Angina

Angina is a symptom of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), the most common type of
heart disease. Angina happens when the plaque builds up in the coronary
arteries. This build up of plaque is called atherosclerosis. As the plaque
builds up, the coronary arteries become narrower and stiff. Blood flow to the
heart is then reduced. This decreases the oxygen supply to the heart muscle.

Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle does not
get enough blood to it. It may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your
chest. The pain may also occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. It
can even feel like indigestion.

There are three types of Angina and it is important to know the differences
among the different types.

Stable angina is the most common and it happens when the heart is working
harder than usual. With stable angina, a regular pattern will occur. After a
short time, you will recognize the pattern, predicting when an episode will
occur. The pain will disappear in a short time or if you take angina
medication. Stable angina is not a heart attack but makes it more likely that
you will have a heart attack in the future.

Unstable angina is a very dangerous condition that requires immediate emergency
treatment. It is a sign that a heart attack could occur soon! It does not follow
a pattern. It can occur without physical exertion and is not relieved by rest or
medicine.

Variant angina is rare and usually occurs at rest. The pain can be severe and
usually occurs between midnight and early morning. It is relieved by medicine.

Please remember not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. However, all chest
pain should be checked by a doctor.

How is vulnerable plaque detected?

Patients with this kind of plaque may not feel any symptoms. In the early
stages of the process, the change in blood flow may not be detected with
standard testing. Researchers are looking at unique scanning techniques that
might highlight the presence of vulnerable plaque.

Cardiologists have found that by measuring the level of a substance called
C-reactive protein in the bloodstream, they can predict a person's risk of
heart attack or stroke. C-reactive protein is a marker that doctors use to
measure inflammation activity in the body. Two large studies showed that the
higher the C-reactive protein levels in the blood, the greater the risk of a
heart attack.

Not all vulnerable plaque ruptures, and researchers are looking at ways to
determine which vulnerable plaques are most likely to rupture. They found that
the warmer the plaque, the more likely it will crack or rupture.

Patients can lower their C-reactive protein levels in the same ways they can
cut their heart attack risk (healthier lifestyles). Doctors can check the
C-reactive protein levels with a blood test, and many doctors are adding the
test to their patients' cholesterol screening. Recent studies show smoking is
very dangerous for people who have vulnerable plaque in their arteries. The
nicotine in cigarettes directly affects the inflammatory response, causing the
release of more cytokines. Researchers are also studying how family history and
genes factor into the inflammation process.

Medicines used for treating high blood pressure and aspirin, appear to reduce
inflammation in the body, that might prevent heart attacks in people who
already have high C-reactive protein levels.

Cholesterol lowering medicines called statins have been found to lower
C-reactive protein levels. Doctors are now looking at how these medicines may
be used to prevent heart attacks in people with normal cholesterol levels.
Doctors are still studying the use of cholesterol-lowering medicines for this
purpose.

Ischemic Cardiomyopathy

There are various types of Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is when the heart's
tissues or muscles become diseased and don't function properly. Heart disease
is a huge health problem affecting both rich and poor nations.

Ischemic cardiomyopathy is a weakness in the muscle of the heart. This is due
to inadequate oxygen delivery to the myocardium with coronary artery disease
being the most common cause.

Anemia and sleep apnea are relatively common conditions that can contribute to
ischemic myocardium. Hyperthyroidism can cause a 'relative' ischemia secondary
to high output heart failure. Hyperthyroidism is the medical term used to
describe the signs and symptoms associated with an over production of thyroid
hormone.

Individuals with ischemic cardiomyopathy typically have a history of heart
attacks (myocardial infarction). Longstanding ischemia can cause enough damage
to the hearts muscles and tissues with out other health conditions
contributing. A Heart Attack is when an area of the heart muscle does not get
enough blood, chest pain or discomfort, called angina develops.

In a typical presentation, the area of the heart affected by a myocardial
infarction will initially become dead tissue, and will then be replaced by scar
tissue, becoming fibrotic. Fibrosis is the formation or development of excess
fibrous connective tissue in an organ.

This fibrotic tissue is akinetic, meaning it is no longer muscle and cannot
contribute to the heart's function as a pump. If the akinetic region of the
heart is substantial (large) enough, then the affected side of the heart (such
as the left or right side) will go into heart failure. This failure is the
functional result of an ischemic cardiomyopathy.

Heart Failure is when your heart muscle doesn't pump as much blood as the body
needs. Failure doesn't mean that the heart has stopped pumping but that it is
failing to pump as effectively as it should.




Heart Statistics for Women in USA

Heart disease is a major killer of women within the United States of America.
Changes in diet and lifestyle have left a large percentage of the population
with heart health issues that can be potentially life threatening.

Did you know that there are nearly one and a half million heart attacks alone
in the USA each year? Of those there are nearly five hundred thousand deaths. A
heart attack occurs about every twenty seconds and a death by heart attack
nearly every minute! Sudden death is more common in women than in men.

The National Registry of Myocardial Infarctions (New England Journal Med.,
22Jul99) reports that women have a worse outcome than men after having a heart
attack. Data indicated women under the age of 50 have twice the mortality rate
of men after having a heart attack.

Approximately fourteen million Americans are known to suffer from the heart
disease Angina. Approximately fifty percent of deaths from heart attack occur
within an hour period. There is an early mortality rate between six and nine
percent for those people who survive long enough to reach the hospital. For
instance via ambulance or other transport. . Heart disease is nothing new to
the United States of America. The statistics from 1983 to 1993 saw the heart
attack death rate fall by around thirty percent. These statistics do not show
much of that decline relating to women.

For some reason, studies conducted into heart attack; show that the most common
time for a heart attack is Monday morning, followed closely by Saturday morning.

Statistics have shown that approximately thirty one percent of women know that
cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the USA.

Heart disease can affect any one at any time in life. It doesn't matter what
part of the USA or age you are, if there are any symptoms of chest pain, please
see your medical practitioner immediately.

Heart disease in Asia

Until recently, heart disease was uncommon in Asian populations. Results from a
new study of more than half a million Asians indicate that a large epidemic of
heart disease is poised to affect China and many other countries in the region.

The study, conducted by professional through China to Australasia, has provided
important new evidence. The evidence points to rapidly increased smoking and
other health factors that contribute to heart disease. These include diabetes,
high cholesterol and high blood pressure, particularly in the more urbanized
regions of Asia. The results have indicated that unless some drastic changes
are made, Asia may be faced with a crippling epidemic of Heart Disease.

Results show that in the next twenty years Asia will be faced with a crippling
epidemic of heart disease and stroke on a scale previously unknown.

The heart is the center of the body's cardiovascular system. Throughout the
body's blood vessels, the heart pumps blood to all of the body's cells. The
blood carries oxygen, which the cells need. Heart disease is a group of medical
problems that occur when the heart and blood vessels aren't working the way they
should.

Many of the victims will be in the prime of their working lives, since heart
disease strikes at a much younger age in Asia than in the West.

The cost of heart disease in countries such as China will be vast. Not only
will there be huge expenses associated with the treatment of heart attacks, but
the loss of earnings for victims and their families will have devastating
economic consequences.

Many people do not realize they have cardiovascular disease. Often it isn't
known until they have a chest pain, a heart attack, or stroke. These kinds of
problems often need immediate attention and the person may need to go to the
emergency department of a hospital for an assessment.

What is Pericarditis?

The pericardium is a thin, sac-like covering (a membrane) that surrounds the
heart. The outer layer of the pericardium surrounds the roots of the heart's
major blood vessels. Ligaments attach this layer to their spinal column,
diaphragm, and other parts of the body. The inner layer of the pericardium is
attached to the heart muscle. A coating of fluid separates the two layers of
membrane, letting the heart move as it beats, yet still be attached to the body.

Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium. When Pericarditis occurs the
amount of fluid between the two layers of the pericardium increases. This
increased fluid presses on the heart and restricts its pumping action.

What are the symptoms? The main symptom of Pericarditis is a sharp, stabbing
pain in the center or the left side of the chest. (In some cases, the pain may
be dull.) The pain may spread to the neck or left shoulder and can worsen when
you take a deep breath. The pain is usually lessened if you are sitting up or
leaning forward and can worsen when you lie down. Other symptoms may include
fever, cough, pain when swallowing, trouble breathing or overall feeling of
sickness.

Pericarditis occurs most often in men between the ages of 20 and 50 years old.
In most cases, the cause of Pericarditis is unknown

Pericarditis can occur from:

* A viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. 
* A heart attack. 
* Cancer that has spread from a nearby tumor. 
* Radiation treatment for some types of cancer. 
* Injury to the chest, esophagus (food pipe), or heart. 
* Use of certain kinds of medicines to suppress your immune system.

Pericarditis can also occur in patients who have rheumatoid arthritis, lupus,
kidney failure, leukemia, HIV, or AIDS.

For any chest pain, it may be wise to consult a doctor.

What is mitral valve prolapse?

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is still amongst the more common heart diseases;
although it remains something of a puzzle. Now although MVP affects around two
percent of the population, the cause is still unknown and has scientist wanting
to know what does cause it. MVP often occurs in people who have no other heart
problems, and the condition may be inherited.

The mitral valve is located in the heart between the upper-left chamber (the
left atrium) and the lower-left chamber (the left ventricle). The mitral valve
consists of two flaps called leaflets.

In normal operation the leaflets open and close in a specific sequence. This
allows the blood to flow in one direction, from the atrium to the ventricle.
The left ventricle is the heart's main pumping chamber and pushes oxygen-rich
blood into the arteries, which carry the blood throughout the body. In patients
with MVP, one or both of the leaflets are enlarged, and the leaflets' supporting
muscles are too long. Instead of closing evenly, one or both of the leaflets
collapse or bulge into the atrium sometimes allowing small amounts of blood to
flow back into the atrium. By listening to the heart with a stethoscope, the
doctor may hear a "clicking" sound caused by the flapping of the leaflets.

Sometimes, MVP leads to a condition known as mitral regurgitation or mitral
insufficiency. This means a large amount of blood is leaking backward through
the defective valve. Mitral regurgitation can lead to the thickening or
enlargement of the heart wall. This is caused by the extra pumping the heart
must do to make up for the backflow of blood. It sometimes causes people to
feel tired or short of breath. Mitral regurgitation can usually be treated with
medicines, and some people need surgery to repair or replace the defective valve.

What causes mitral valve prolapse?

Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is among the most common heart conditions; however
it remains something of a puzzle. Although MVP affects about two percent of the
population, the cause is unknown. MVP often occurs in people who have no other
heart problems, and the condition may be inherited.

The mitral valve is located in the heart between the upper-left chamber (the
left atrium) and the lower-left chamber (the left ventricle). The mitral valve
consists of two flaps called leaflets.

In normal operation the leaflets open and close in a specific sequence. This
allows the blood to flow in one direction, from the atrium to the ventricle.
The left ventricle is the heart's main pumping chamber and pushes oxygen-rich
blood into the arteries, which carry the blood throughout the body.

In patients with MVP, one or both of the leaflets are enlarged, and the
leaflets' supporting muscles are too long. Instead of closing evenly, one or
both of the leaflets collapse or bulge into the atrium sometimes allowing small
amounts of blood to flow back into the atrium. By listening to the heart with a
stethoscope, the doctor may hear a "clicking" sound caused by the flapping of
the leaflets.

Sometimes, MVP leads to a condition known as mitral regurgitation or mitral
insufficiency. This means a large amount of blood is leaking backward through
the defective valve. Mitral regurgitation can lead to the thickening or
enlargement of the heart wall. This is caused by the extra pumping the heart
must do to make up for the backflow of blood. It sometimes causes people to
feel tired or short of breath. Mitral regurgitation can usually be treated with
medicines, and some people need surgery to repair or replace the defective valve.

Most of the time, MVP is not a serious condition, even when some patients
report palpitations or sharp chest pains. Most patients do not need treatment

What Causes Angina?

Angina is caused by reduced blood flow to an area of the heart. This is most
often due to Coronary Artery Disease. Sometimes, other types of heart disease
or uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause angina.

In CAD, the coronary arteries, that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart
muscle, are narrowed, due to the buildup of the fatty deposits called plaque.
This is known as artherscholorisis. Some plaque becomes hard and stable,
leading to narrowed and hardened arteries. Other plaque is soft and likely to
break open and cause blood clots.

The buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries can cause angina in
two ways. First, by narrowing the artery to the point where the flow of blood
is greatly reduced... Second, by forming blood clots which are partially or
totally block the artery. Stable Angina is commonly caused by physical
exertion. This leads to the pain and discomfort of stable angina. Severely
narrowed arteries may allow enough blood to reach the heart when the demand for
oxygen is low, such as when you are laying down. With exercise, like walking up
a hill or climbing stairs, the heart works harder and needs more oxygen.

Unstable Angina is caused by blood clots that partially or totally block an
artery. If plaque in an artery ruptures or breaks open, blood clots may form.
This creates a larger blockage. The clot may grow large enough to completely
block the artery and cause a heart attack. Blood clots may form, partly
dissolve, and later form again. Chest pain can occur each time a clot blocks an
artery.

Variant angina is caused by a spasm in a coronary artery. The spasm makes the
walls of the artery tighten. This narrows the artery, causing the blood flow to
the heart to slow or stop. Variant angina may occur in people with and without
CAD.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

What is peripheral vascular disease?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a heart condition similar to that of
coronary artery disease and carotid artery disease. In PAD, the fatty deposits
build up in the inner linings of the artery walls. These blockages restrict the
blood flow circulation, mainly in arteries leading to the kidneys, stomach,
arms, legs and feet.

In its early stages, a common symptom is cramping, or fatigue in the legs and
buttocks during activity. Such cramping subsides when the person stands still.
This is called "intermittent claudication." People with PAD often have fatty
buildup in the arteries of the heart and brain. Because of this association,
most people with PAD have a higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke.

There are two types of these circulation disorders:

Functional peripheral vascular diseases don't have an organic cause. They don't
involve defects in blood vessels' structure. They're usually short-term effects
related to "spasm" that may come and go. Raynaud's disease is an example. It
can be triggered by cold temperatures, emotional stress, working with vibrating
machinery or smoking.

Organic peripheral vascular diseases are caused by structural changes in the
blood vessels, such as inflammation and tissue damage. Peripheral artery
disease is an example. It's caused by fatty buildups in arteries that block
normal blood flow.

How is peripheral artery disease diagnosed and treated?

Techniques used to diagnose PAD include a medical history, physical exam,
ultrasound, X-ray angiography and magnetic resonance imaging angiography (MRA).
Most people with PAD can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Lifestyle changes to lower your risk include stopping smoking, diabetes control
and blood pressure. Become physically active; eat a low-saturated-fat,
low-cholesterol diet.

PAD may require drug treatment, too. Drugs include medicines to help improve
walking distance, antiplatelet agents and cholesterol-lowering agents (statins).

Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome

In a normal heart, electrical signals use only one path whilst moving through
the heart. This is the atrio-ventricular or A-V node. As the electrical signal
moves from the hearts upper chambers (the atria) to the lower chambers (the
ventricles), it causes the heart to beat. For the heart to beat properly, the
timing of the electrical signal is important.

If there is an extra conduction pathway, the electrical signal may arrive at
the ventricles too soon. This condition is called Wolff-Parkinson-White
syndrome (WPW). It is in a category of electrical abnormalities called
"pre-excitation syndromes." It is recognized by certain changes on the
electrocardiogram, a graphical record of the heart's electrical activity. The
ECG will then show that an extra pathway or shortcut exists from the atria to
the ventricles.

Many people with this syndrome have symptoms or episodes of tachycardia (rapid
heart rhythm) may also have dizziness, chest palpitations, fainting and,
rarely, cardiac arrest. Other people with WPW never have tachycardia or other
symptoms. About eight percent of people with symptoms first have them between
the ages of eleven and fifty.

People without symptoms usually don't need treatment. People with episodes of
tachycardia can often be treated with medication. But sometimes such treatment
doesn't work. If the treatment doesn't work they will need to do something else.

The most common procedure used to interrupt the abnormal pathway, is
radiofrequency or catheter ablation. In this, a flexible tube called a catheter
is guided to the place where the problem exists.

Then that tissue is destroyed with radiofrequency energy, stopping the
electrical pathway. Successful ablation ends the need for medication. Whether a
person will be treated with medication or with an ablation procedure depends on
several factors. These include the severity and frequency of symptoms, risk for
future arrhythmias and patient preference.

What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) involves damage to or blockage in the blood
vessels distant from your heart, the peripheral arteries and veins. The
peripheral arteries and veins carry blood to and from arm and leg muscles plus
the organs in and below the stomach area. PVD may also affect the arteries
leading to your head. The main forms PVD may take include blood clots, swelling
(inflammation), or narrowing and blockage of the blood vessels.

Diseases of the arteries may lead to Arterial Blockage, Aortic aneurysms,
Buerger's Disease and Raynaud's's phenomenon. Disease of the veins may lead to
Venous Blood Clots, Pulmonary embolism, Phlebitis or Varicose veins.

Arterial Blockage -- similar to the coronary arteries, the peripheral arteries
can become blocked by plaque.

What causes arterial blockage? PVD can result from a condition known as
atherosclerosis (a waxy substance forms inside of the arteries). This substance
is called plaque. It is made of cholesterol, fats, calcium, and a blood-clotting
material called fibrin. When enough plaque builds up on the inside of an artery,
the artery becomes clogged, and then blood flow is either slowed or stopped. The
slowed blood flow may cause "ischemia," which means the body's cells are not
getting enough oxygen.

While clogged coronary arteries (arteries supplying the heart with blood) may
lead to a heart attack, and clogged carotid arteries (arteries supply the head
with blood) may lead to a stroke. Clogged peripheral arteries in the lower part
mostly cause pain and cramping in the legs.

The risk factors for atherosclerosis in the peripheral arteries are the same as
those for atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries. Smoking, diabetes, high
blood pressure and high cholesterol are believed to lead to the development of
plaque. Patients may feel pain in their calves, thighs, or buttocks, depending
on where the blockage is. Usually, the amount of pain felt is a sign of how
severe the blockage is. For any chest pain it is wise to see your doctor.

Myocarditis

The myocardium is the muscular wall of the heart, or the heart muscle. It
contracts to pump blood out of the heart, and then relaxes as the heart refills
with returning blood. The myocardium's smooth outer membrane is called the
epicardium. Its inner lining is called the endocardium.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the myocardium. When the heart becomes
inflamed, it Is unable to pump as well because of damage to its cells and
swelling (edema). The heart muscle may be damaged even more if the body's
immune system sends antibodies to try to fight whatever started the
inflammation. Sometimes, these antibodies attack the tissues of the heart
instead. If too many heart muscle cells are damaged, the heart muscle becomes
weakened. In some cases, this process happens very quickly and results in heart
failure or even sudden death.

More often, the heart attempts to heal itself. The heart muscle heals by
changing the damaged or dead heart muscle cells into scar tissue. Scar tissue
is not like heart muscle tissue because it does not contract and it cannot help
the heart to pump. If enough scar tissue forms in the heart, it can lead to
congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy. Myocarditis is a rare
condition. The inflammation of the heart muscle may be caused by a viral,
bacterial, or fungal infection. Rheumatic Fever, drug or chemical poisoning or
connective tissue diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

With a mild case of myocarditis, there may be no symptoms at all. You may have
a fever, an achy feeling in your chest, and severe fatigue, as if you have a
bad cold or flu. Some people have an irregular heartbeat or trouble breathing.
Usually, a mild case of myocarditis will go away without any lasting damage.

With any chest pain, please see your doctor.

What is Cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy is a serious disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed
and doesn't work as well as it should. There may be multiple causes including
viral infections.

People used to assume that only the elderly had heart disease or heart attacks.
That is not the case as heart disease can strike before birth and any age in
life. Heart disease covers a wide range of health conditions relating to the
heart and all its systems.

Cardiomyopathy is classified as primary or secondary. Primary cardiomyopathy is
not given specific causes, such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease or
congenital heart defects. Secondary cardiomyopathy is due to specific causes.
It is often associated with diseases involving other organs plus the heart.

Dilated (congestive) Cardiomyopathy is the most common form. The heart cavity
is enlarged and stretched (cardiac dilation). The heart is weak and doesn't
pump normally, with many patients developing congestive heart failure. Abnormal
heart rhythms and disturbances in the heart's electrical conduction also may
occur.

Blood flows more slowly through an enlarged heart, so blood clots easily form.
A blood clot that forms in an artery or the heart is called a thrombus. A clot
that breaks free circulates in the bloodstream and blocks a small blood vessel
is called an embolus. These clots are dangerous and can cause other systems
plus their organs to become sick. For example, blood clots that form in the
heart's left side may become dislodged and carried into the body's circulation
to form cerebral emboli in the brain, renal emboli in the kidney, peripheral
emboli or even coronary artery emboli.

Cardiomyopathy literally means "heart muscle disease" (The deterioration of the
function of the myocardium (i.e., the actual heart muscle) for any reason).
People with Cardiomyopathy are often at risk of arrhythmia and possibly sudden
cardiac death (heart attack).

What Is Angina?

Angina is a symptom of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), the most common type of
heart disease. This happens when the plaque builds up in the coronary arteries.
This build up of plaque is called atherosclerosis. As the plaque builds up, the
coronary arteries become narrower and stiff. Blood flow to the heart is then
reduced. This decreases the oxygen supply to the heart muscle.

Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle does not
get enough blood to it. It may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your
chest. The pain may also occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. It
can even feel like indigestion.

There are three types of Angina and it is important to know the differences
among the different types.

Stable angina is the most common and it happens when the heart is working
harder than usual. With stable angina, a regular pattern will occur. After a
short time, you will recognize the pattern/s, predicting when an episode can
happen. The pain will disappear in a short time after a rest or if you take
angina medication. Stable angina is not a heart attack but makes it more likely
that you will have a heart attack in the future.

Unstable angina is a very dangerous condition that requires immediate emergency
treatment. It is a sign that a heart attack could occur soon! It does not follow
a pattern. It can occur without physical exertion and is not relieved by rest or
medicine.

Variant angina is rare and usually occurs at rest. The pain can be severe and
usually occurs between midnight and early morning. It is relieved by medicine.

Please remember not all chest pain or discomfort is angina. However, all chest
pain should be checked by a doctor.

Silent Ischemia and Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemia is a condition in which the blood flow (and thus oxygen) is restricted
to a part of the body. Cardiac ischemia is the name for lack of blood flow and
oxygen to the heart muscle.

What is ischemic heart disease? It is the term given to heart problems caused
by narrowed heart arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood and oxygen
reach the heart muscle. This is also called coronary artery disease (CAD) and
coronary heart disease. This can ultimately lead to heart attack. Ischemia
often causes chest pain or discomfort known as angina pectoris.

What is silent ischemia? People who experience ischemia without pain have a
heart condition known as silent ischemia. They may have a heart attack with no
prior warning. People with angina also may have undiagnosed episodes of silent
ischemia. An exercise test or 24-hour portable monitors of the electrocardiogram 
(Holter monitor) are two tests often used to diagnose this problem. Other tests 
also may be used.

Cardiac ischemia refers to lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle.
Cardiac ischemia happens when an artery becomes narrowed or blocked for a short
time, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching the heart. If ischemia is
severe or lasts too long, it can cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction)
and can lead to heart tissue death. In most cases, a temporary blood shortage
to the heart causes the pain of angina pectoris. Silent ischemia may also
disturb the heart's rhythm. Abnormal rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia or
ventricular fibrillation may interfere with the heart's pumping ability and can
even cause fainting or sudden cardiac death.

Silent ischemia has no symptoms. Researchers have found that if you have
episodes of noticeable chest pain, you may also have episodes of silent
ischemia.

Sick Sinus Syndrome in Heart Disease

Any irregularity in your heart's natural rhythm is called an arrhythmia. Almost
everyone's heart skips a beat now and again, and these mild palpitations are
usually harmless.

Electrical impulses from the heart muscle (the myocardium) cause the heart to
beat (contract). This electrical signal begins in the Sinoatrial Node, also
called the SA node or the sinus node. The SA node is located at the top of the
heart's upper-right chamber (the right atrium). The SA node is sometimes called
the heart's "natural pacemaker." When an electrical impulse is released from the
SA node, it causes the heart's upper chambers to contract. Sick sinus syndrome
is a type of arrhythmia. These are a group of signs and symptoms that tells
doctors the SA node is not working properly. The SA node usually sends
electrical impulses at a certain rate, but if the SA node is not working
properly, the heart may beat too fast, too slow, or both.

Sick sinus syndrome usually develops slowly over many years, and the causes are
not always known. It occurs more often in people over fifty, and children might
develop the condition after having open heart surgery.

Many people with sick sinus syndrome do not have symptoms. Or they do not think
their symptoms are serious enough for them to see a doctor. Some signs and
symptoms of sick sinus syndrome are fainting, being dizzy, confusion that comes
and goes, feeling the hear has skipped a beat (palpitations), chest pain,
angina, fatigue, shortness of breathe aching muscles.

Sick sinus syndrome can be hard to diagnose as the patient may not have many of
the symptoms. The doctor will take a medical history, ask about symptoms, and
listen to the heart with a stethoscope. With the stethoscope, the doctor may be
able to hear an irregular heartbeat, which can be a sign of sick sinus syndrome.

Rheumatic Fever and Heart Disease

Before antibiotic medicines became widely used, rheumatic fever was the largest
cause of valve disease. Rheumatic fever is a condition that is a complication of
untreated strep throat. Strep throat is caused by a group A streptococcal
infection found in the throat.

Rheumatic fever can damage body tissues by causing them to swell, but its
greatest danger lies in the damage it can do to your heart. More than half of
the time, rheumatic fever leads to scarring of the heart's valves. This
scarring can narrow the valve and make it harder for the valve to open properly
or to close completely. In turn, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to
the rest of your body. This valve damage can lead to a condition called
rheumatic heart disease, which, in time, can lead to congestive heart failure.
Rheumatic fever is not an infection itself, rather the result of an untreated
strep infection. When the body senses the strep infection, it sends antibodies
to fight it. Sometimes, these antibodies attack the tissues of joints or the
heart instead. If the antibodies attack the heart they can cause the heart
valves to swell, which can lead to scarring of the valve "doors." (The doors
are called leaflets.) The scarred leaflets make it harder for the valve to
either open or close properly, or both.

The symptoms of rheumatic fever usually begin 1 to 6 weeks after a strep
infection. The symptoms are fever, joint pain or swelling in your wrists,
elbows, knees, or ankles. Small bumps under the skin over elbows or knees
(called nodules). Maybe a small raised red rash on the chest, back, or stomach,
experience stomach pain or feeling less hungry. Weakness, shortness of breath,
or feeling very tired

Please remember that Rheumatic Fever needs immediate medical attention!

Prognosis and Treatment of Abnormal Heartbeats

Most arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) neither cause symptoms nor interfere
with the heart's ability to pump blood. Thus, they usually pose little or no
risk. They can cause considerable anxiety if a person becomes aware of them.
There are some arrhythmias, harmless in themselves that can lead to more
serious arrhythmias.

Any arrhythmia that impairs the heart's ability to pump blood adequately is
serious. How serious, depends in part on where the arrhythmia originates. Is it
in the heart's normal pacemaker, in the atria, or in the ventricles? Generally,
arrhythmias which originate in the ventricles are more serious than those that
originate in the atria. These are more serious than those that originate in the
pacemaker. However, there are many exceptions.

For people who have a harmless, yet worrisome arrhythmia, reassurance that the
arrhythmia is harmless may be treatment enough. Sometimes arrhythmias occur
less often or even stop, when doctors change a person's drugs or adjust the
dosages. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, smoking, or strenuous exercise can also
help.

Antiarrhythmic drugs are useful for suppressing fast arrhythmias that cause
intolerable symptoms or pose a risk. No single drug cures all arrhythmias in
people. Sometimes several drugs must be tried until the response is
satisfactory. Sometimes antiarrhythmic drugs can worsen or even cause
arrhythmias; this effect is called proarrhythmia. Antiarrhythmic drugs can also
produce other side effects.

Artificial pacemakers are electronic devices that act in place of the heart's
own pacemaker. These devices are implanted surgically under the skin, usually
below the left or right collarbone. They are connected to the heart by wires
running inside a vein. New circuitry has almost completely eliminated the risk
of interference from automobile distributors, radar, microwaves, and airport
security detectors.

Any abnormality within the chest is wise to get checked out by your family
doctor.

Ways to reduce the risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Many people can do with lowering the risk factors that lead to heart disease.
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one
person. These include elevated blood pressure. Abdominal obesity (excessive fat
tissue in and around the abdomen), insulin resistance or glucose intolerance
(the body can't properly use insulin or blood sugar).

Incorporate as many lifestyle changes as possible. Such as eating a healthy
diet, exercising regularly and losing weight. This will dramatically reduce the
risk of diseases associated with metabolic syndrome such as diabetes and heart
disease. Make dietary changes and stick to them! Eat plenty of natural
wholegrain foods, vegetables and fruit. To help with weight loss, reduce the
amount of food eaten and limit foods high in fat or sugar.

Reduce saturated fats such as meat, full cream dairy and many processed foods
as this will help improve your cholesterol levels. Also reduce the amount of
alcohol to less than two standard drinks a day as this may help to lower
triglyceride levels. Increase your physical activity level as regular exercise
improves and raises the level of HDL ('good') cholesterol in your blood. This
helps which helps remove excess cholesterol from your body and protect against
heart disease. Exercised muscle cells are also more sensitive to insulin.

Manage your weight by increasing physical activity and improving eating habits
will help you lose excess body fat. As a result, your blood pressure may drop
and your cells will be more sensitive to insulin.

Quit smoking as smoking increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke,
and cancer and lung disease. Quitting will have many health benefits,
especially if you have metabolic syndrome.

Lifestyle changes are extremely important in the management of metabolic
syndrome. Sometimes medication may be necessary to manage the different
conditions.

Vulnerable Plaque in Heart Disease

Swelling (inflammation) is the body's natural reaction to an injury.
Inflammation can happen anywhere on the skin, within the body, and even inside
the arteries. Scientists are now learning inflammation may play a part in many
of the diseases that come with aging, including coronary artery disease.

For many years, doctors have thought that the main cause of a heart attack or
stroke or was the buildup of fatty plaque within an artery, leading to the
heart or brain. In time, the plaque buildup would narrow the artery so much,
that the artery would close off or become clogged by a blood clot. The lack of
oxygen-rich blood to the heart would then lead to a heart attack. However these
types of blockages cause only about 3 out of 10 heart attacks. Researchers are
finding people who that heart attacks do not have arteries severely narrowed by
plaque! Vulnerable plaque may be buried inside the artery wall, and not bulge
out and block the blood flow through the artery. This is why researchers began
to look at how inflammation affects the arteries, and to see if inflammation
could lead to a heart attack.

What they found was that inflammation leads to the development of "soft" or
vulnerable plaque. They also found that vulnerable plaque was more than just
debris, clogging an artery, that it was filled with different cell types that
help with blood clotting.

When this inflammation is combined with other stresses, like high blood
pressure, it can cause the thin covering over the plaque to crack and bleed,
spilling the entire contents of the vulnerable plaque into the bloodstream. The
sticky cytokines on the artery wall capture blood cells (mainly platelets) that
rush to the site of injury. When these cells clump together, they can form a
clot large enough to block the artery

What is Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery?

This is a type of heart surgery. It's sometimes called CABG ("cabbage"). The
surgery reroutes, or "bypasses," blood around clogged arteries to improve blood
flow and oxygen to the heart.

The arteries that bring blood to the heart muscle (coronary arteries) can
become clogged by plaque (a buildup of fat, cholesterol plus other substances).
This can then slow or stop blood flow through the heart's blood vessels, leading
to chest pain or a heart attack. Increasing blood flow to the heart muscle can
relieve chest pain and also reduce the risk of heart attack.

Surgeons take a segment of a healthy blood vessel from another part of the
body, and then make a detour around the blocked part of the coronary artery. An
artery may be detached from the chest wall and the open end attached to the
coronary artery below the blocked area. Or a piece of a long vein in your leg
may be taken. One end is sewn onto the large artery leaving your heart -- the
aorta. The other end of the vein is attached or "grafted" to the coronary
artery below the blocked area.

Either way, blood can then utilize use this new path to flow freely to the
heart muscle. A patient may undergo one, two, three or more bypass grafts,
depending on how many coronary arteries are blocked.

Cardiopulmonary bypass with a pump oxygenator (heart-lung machine) is used for
most coronary bypass graft operations. This means that besides the surgeon, a
team made up of a cardiac anesthesiologist and surgical nurse, a competent
perfusionist (blood flow specialist) are required.

What happens after bypass surgery? After surgery, the patient is moved to a
hospital bed in the cardiac surgical intensive care unit. Heart rate and blood
pressure monitoring devices continuously monitor the patient for 12 to 24 hours.

Sudden Cardiac Death

Sudden cardiac death (sudden arrest) is death resulting from an sudden loss of
heart function (cardiac arrest). The victim may or may not have diagnosed heart
disease. The time and mode of death are unexpected. It occurs within moments
after symptoms appear. The most common reason for patients to die suddenly from
cardiac arrest is coronary heart disease (fatty buildups in the arteries that
supply blood to the heart muscle).

All known heart diseases can lead to cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac death.
Most of the cardiac arrests that lead to sudden death occur when the electrical
impulses in the diseased heart become rapid (ventricular tachycardia), chaotic
(ventricular fibrillation) or both. This irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
causes the heart to suddenly stop beating. Some cardiac arrests are due to
extreme slowing of the heart. This is called bradycardia. Bradycardia is common
in premature infants.

In 90 percent of adult victims of sudden cardiac death, two or more major
coronary arteries are narrowed by fatty buildups. Scarring from a prior heart
attack is found in two-thirds of victims. When sudden death occurs in young
adults, other heart abnormalities are more likely causes. Adrenaline released
during intense physical or athletic activity often acts as a trigger for sudden
death when these abnormalities are present. Under certain conditions, various
heart medications and other drugs -- as well as illegal drug abuse -- can lead
to abnormal heart rhythms that cause sudden death.

The term "massive heart attack" is often wrongly used in the media to describe
sudden death. The term "heart attack" refers to death of heart muscle tissue
due to the loss of blood supply, not necessarily resulting in a cardiac arrest
or the death of the heart attack victim. A heart attack may cause cardiac
arrest and sudden cardiac death, but the terms aren't synonymous.

What is a Myocardial Infarction?

Myocardial infarction (MI) means that part of the heart muscle suddenly loses
its blood supply. Without immediate treatment, this can lead to damage to the
affected part of the heart. An MI is often called a heart attack or a coronary
thrombosis.

The heart pumps blood into arteries (blood vessels) which take the blood to
every part of the body. The heart muscle, like all muscles, always needs a good
blood supply. The coronary arteries take blood to the heart muscle. The main
coronary arteries branch off from the aorta. (The aorta. is the large artery
that takes oxygen-rich blood from the heart chambers to the body.) The main
coronary arteries divide into smaller branches then take blood to all parts of
the heart muscle.

If someone has an MI, a coronary artery, or one of its smaller branches is
suddenly blocked. The part of the heart muscle supplied by this artery loses
its oxygen and blood supply. This part of the heart muscle is at risk of dying,
unless the blockage is quickly undone. The word 'infarction' means death of some
tissue due to a blocked artery which stops blood from getting past.

If one of the main coronary arteries is blocked, a large part of the heart
muscle is affected. If a smaller branch artery is blocked, a smaller amount of
heart muscle is affected. In people who survive an MI, the part of the heart
muscle that dies ('infarcts') is replaced by scar tissue over the next few
weeks.

A small MI occasionally happens without causing pain (a 'silent MI'). It may be
pain-free, or sometimes the pain is mild and you may think it is only heartburn
or 'wind'. Collapse and sudden death may occur with a large or severe MI.

MI's are easier to diagnose these days due to the increase in technology
advances. They may become avoidable through greater education and healthier
choices in lifestyle

What causes Myocardial Infarction?

The most common cause of a Myocardial Infarction (MI) is a blood clot known as
thrombosis. This forms inside a coronary artery, or one of its branches. This
blocks the blood flow to a part of the heart.

Blood clots do not usually form in normal arteries. However, a clot may form if
there is some atheroma within the lining of the artery. An Atheroma is similar
to fatty patches or 'plaques' that develop, inside the lining of arteries.
Plaques of atheroma may gradually form over a number of years, in one or more
places within the coronary arteries. Each plaque has an outer firm shell with a
soft inner fatty core.

A 'crack' develops in the outer shell of the atheroma plaque. This is called
'plaque rupture'. This exposes the softer inner core of the plaque to blood.
This can then trigger the clotting mechanism in the blood to form a blood clot.
Therefore, a build up of atheroma is the base problem that leads to most cases
of MI.

However; atheroma may develop in any section of the coronary arteries. 'Clot
busting' drugs can break up the clot and undo the blockage. If given quickly
enough this prevents damage to the heart muscle, or limits the extent of the
damage. Aspirin is an example of an anti-clogging medication.

There are a number of other uncommon conditions that can block a coronary
artery and cause an MI. For example, inflammation of the coronary arteries
(rare); a stab wound to the heart; a blood clot forming elsewhere in the body
(for example, in a heart chamber) and traveling to a coronary artery where it
gets stuck. Cocaine abuse can cause a coronary artery to go into spasm. There
may be complications from heart surgery or some other rare heart problems.

What are the symptoms of a Myocardial Infarction?

Severe chest pain is the main symptom. The pain may also travel up into the
jaw, down the left arm, or down both arms. The person may also be sweating,
feel sick, and feel faint. The pain may be similar to angina; however, it is
usually more severe and lasts longer. Angina usually goes off after a few
minutes. MI pain usually lasts more than 15 minutes -- sometimes several hours.

A small MI occasionally happens without causing pain (a 'silent MI'). It may be
truly pain-free, or sometimes the pain is so mild and that the may think it is
only heartburn or 'wind'. Collapse and sudden death may occur with a large or
severe MI.

Many people recover well from an MI with no complications. Before discharge
from hospital, it is common for a doctor or nurse to advise you how to reduce
any risk factors. This advice aims to reduce the risk of a future MI as much as
possible.

Emergency angioplasty is used in some cases as an alternative to a 'clot
busting' drug in some hospitals. In this procedure a tiny wire with a balloon
at the end is put into a large artery in the groin or arm. It is then passed up
to the heart and into the blocked section of a coronary artery using special
x-ray guidance. The balloon is then blown up inside the blocked part of the
artery to open it wide again.

This often depends on the amount of heart muscle that is damaged. In many cases
only a small part of the heart muscle is damaged (infarcts or dies) which heals
as a small patch of scar tissue. The heart can usually function normally with a
small patch of scar tissue. A larger MI is more likely to be life-threatening or
cause complications

What is Tachycardia?

Heart disease is a global problem that affects both rich and poor countries.
Tachycardia is one of many medical health conditions that relate to the heart.
In a normal adult, the average heart beat is sixty to one hundred beats per
minute. A heart beating above one hundred beats per minute is called
Tachycardia (the heart is pumping too fast). This condition can occur
naturally, such as when you are exercising resulting in the heart rate being
accelerated Tachycardia can also cause life threatening and serious heart
problems. There are a variety of ways in which the heart normally increases its
tempo. These include exercise, fever or if the person is anxious or excited.

Problems with the heart that can cause tachycardia are varied.

Atrial Fibrillation is an abnormal pattern where the right and left atria
(upper heart chambers) are contracting irregularly thus making the heart beat
faster.

Mistral Valve Prolapse is when one of the valves in the heart has a mid
deformity, thus causing a fast heart rate.

Ventricullar fibrillation is the most serious type of tachycardia. This is the
most serious type of tachycardia. The heart beats in an irregular rhythm and
very fast. The ventricles contract (squeezing) chaotically, that prevents the
heart from pumping. When this happens, the blood circulation stops. Sometimes
the episodes are brief and subside really quickly. The majority of times,
ventricular fibrillation require immediate medical treatment to prevent any the
brain from being damaged and preventing death.

The main symptom of any type of Tachycardia is a fast heartbeat. Other symptoms
requiring medical treatment may include lightheadedness, fainting, nausea, cold
sweat, shortness of breath and chest pain.

These symptoms can be caused by any type of tachycardia, ranging from mild to
severe. Please contact your doctor if you are having any of these other
symptoms in addition to the fast heartbeat.





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