Monday, March 7, 2011

Heart Disease: detection, treatment and prevention.

I have to admit my guilt of taking the liberty to post my complete note on heart disease from (wholesale pictures and notes, albeit some modification on alcohol consumption) for those readers (although not many from the comments received so far) who find it important to know this dreadful malady of modern living .. but then a promise is a promise.

Doctors use a variety of tests to detect heart disease.

One common test is the electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).

What is an electrocardiogram (EKG)?
A healthy heart works as an "electrical pump" and needs a strong blood supply to conduct electricity. People with heart disease, however, have a weak blood supply, so their hearts conduct electricity poorly. An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a noninvasive test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. An EKG takes approximately five minutes and is painless. Many other heart conditions can be diagnosed with an EKG, for example:-
abnormal heart rhythms, evidence of prior heart attack, evidence of an evolving heart attack, unstable angina, congenital heart abnormalities, evidence of abnormal blood electrolytes and evidence of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis, pericarditis).

Sometimes, if an electrocardiogram comes back normal, doctors will use stress tests to detect heart disease.
What is a stress test?
Symptoms of heart disease tend to show up when the person is exercising because that's when the heart needs a higher level of oxygen delivery. However, for a person with heart disease, the coronary arteries can't deliver the amount of oxygenated blood needed because of the coronary artery blockage. That's why stress tests require the patient to perform a strenuous activity under a doctor's supervision, such as walking or running on a treadmill. An EKG is taken of the person before, during, and after the stress tests. Stress tests have a 60%-70% accuracy rate for detecting blockages in the coronary arteries. If a patient is unable to walk on a treadmill, a stress test can be used with medication that mimics the physiology of exercise without the patient needing to walk, and the heart can be imaged with nuclear techniques or ultrasound, and this is as good as exercise.

Another test option is echocardiography, which uses sound waves to generate images of the heart.
What is echocardiography?
Doctors may want to use echocardiography to detect heart disease. Echocardiography uses sound waves to generate images of the heart. The test serves as a tool to see how well the heart muscle is functioning. A normal heart pushes at least 50%-60% of the blood in the ventricle out to the body when it beats. Echocardiography can show if the heart muscle is weaker than this, which could indicate heart disease.

Computerized tomography (CT) scans are used to show that heart disease is not present and that the coronary arteries are normal.
Why use computerized tomography tests (CT scans)?
Computerized tomography tests, also known as CT scans, take detailed images of blood vessels to show whether they have narrowed. In general, this test is used to show that heart disease is not present.

Coronary angiography via cardiac catheterization is considered the "gold standard" of heart disease tests.

What makes coronary angiography a superior test compared to the others?
During coronary angiography, doctors guide a catheter into the coronary arteries. Next, a small amount of radiographic contrast (a solution containing iodine, which is easily visualized with X-ray images) is injected into each coronary artery. X-ray images are then taken, which are called the angiogram. Angiographic images accurately reveal the extent and severity of all coronary arterial blockages.

Heart disease treatment is different for everyone.
There is no single treatment method for heart disease
Each person experiences heart disease differently, and no one treatment method works for everyone. A multi-faceted approach of dietary changes, lifestyle changes, exercise, and medications may be combined,, depending on the patient's individual situation and needs.

For some patients with heart disease, medications may be necessary.
What are some common medications used to treat heart disease?
Common heart disease medications can include:
beta blockers which reduce heart rate and blood pressure;
nitroglycerin, which dilates the coronary arteries, making it easier for blood to flow;
calcium channel blockers, which help slow the heart rate, allowing the heart to beat more efficiently;
ACE Inhibitors, which dilate blood vessels to increase blood flow and relieve stress on the heart; and statins, which reduce the number of lipids (found in cholesterol) in the blood to reduce the likelihood of plaque forming on the arteries.

When medications aren't enough, sometimes invasive procedures are used to help treat heart disease.
What are some of the procedures performed to treat heart disease?
The following are common procedures used to treat heart disease.
Coronary (balloon) angioplasty: A thin catheter is inserted into the blocked artery with a tiny balloon on the end. When the balloon is in the spot of the blockage, it is expanded to keep the artery open so blood can flow more freely, and the catheter is removed.
Stents: The insertion of a stent is similar to coronary angioplasty except that over the balloon is a small metallic tube (a stent) that stays in place to keep the artery open while the catheter and the balloon are removed.
Atherectomy: A drill-like device or laser cuts away the plaque covering the arteries.
Brachytherapy: Radiation is applied to the blockages to remove them from recurring after angioplasty.

Heart disease is a highly preventable and reversible disease. A healthy diet is a major factor in controlling heart disease.

The key to preventing heart disease is through a healthy lifestyle, starting with a healthy diet.

Although heredity is a risk factor for heart disease, and an individual cannot control this factor, other factors can be modified to decrease the risk of heart disease. What you eat can reduce your chances of developing heart disease. A heart-healthy diet includes lots of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Chickpeas, beans, and soy products can help lower your cholesterol as well as olive oil, garlic, and avocados. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans, can boost "good" cholesterol (nuts are high in calories, so limit the amount you eat). Incorporate fish and seafood into your meals a few times a week. Also, try to avoid sweets.

Other lifestyle changes that can be made to help prevent heart disease include stop drinking alcohol and quitting smoking.

Lifestyle changes: Stop drinking alcohol and quitting smoking
Drinking alcohol and smoking has been linked to heart disease, so the sooner you quit, the better. In fact, after just three years of not smoking, your risk of developing heart disease becomes equal to that of a nonsmoker.

Exercise, controlling high blood pressure and diabetes, and taking daily aspirin are more ways to reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
Lower the risk of heart disease with exercise, aspirin, and by controlling high blood pressure and diabetes.
The following steps may help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Regular exercise strengthens the heart, lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), raises good cholesterol (HDL), and lowers blood pressure, The AHA recommends exercising at least 30 minutes of exercise at least three to five days a week.
Control high blood pressure and diabetes: If you have diabetes, keep blood sugars under control.
Take a low-dose aspirin daily; This can reduce your risk of heart attack.
Talk with your doctor before taking any new medications or starting an exercise program.

Wow that a load of my chest/heart ..

I would like to wish those who care to read this entry and the one previous to this..

May the Almighty protect you from this disease always..

Have a productive days ahead and take care..


Grandpa said...

It doesn't matter where you get the info from Wan, as long as you acknowledge them. They are there for the public to read anyway - and save us the trouble of searching for them!

The most profound statement in this article is that heart disease is preventable and reversible. That should be encouragement enough.

I join you in prayer - may the Almighty protect and save us from this dreaded disease. Amin.

Wan Sharif said...

Dear Grandpa,
Thank you for your kind comment. I am not comfortable playing Doctor but then I am too ignorant on this topic and when a group of friends in the office or at the warong talked about our friends that are unfortunate enough to have procedures performed on their hearts.. I was almost always at loss.. I have compiled the data/note and in the process think that sharing with friends would be a good start to be conversant with the topic and equip us with some useful knowledge as well.
Amin Ya Rabbal A'lamim.


Macam masuk med school balik. But in short, never too late to embark on a healthIER lifestyle...( reminding myself)
Cut down on sugar, salt and start that morning walk after solat subuh...

Wan Sharif said...

Dearest MCM,
Just a note for myself after a few jolt .. (a few friend went for open heart procedure).
Do take care..
May Allah guide you to his Maghfirah and Rahmah..sokmo sokmo said...

Hi Wan,

Healthline recently put together an infograph showcasing heart disease statistics and facts to help someone understand their risk for a heart attack or other heart-related issues. You can see the infograhic here:

I am writing to you to see if you can help spread awareness about heart disease by sharing this with your followers or including it as a resource on your page:

Please let me know if you would be interested in helping to raise awareness about heart disease.

Thank you for your time reviewing. Please let me know if there are any questions I can answer.

Warm regards,
Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager
p: 415-281-3124 f: 415-281-3199

Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

About Us:

jenifer smith said...

Great!! I love the information you've provided and I think it's really helpful too. My dad has been a heart patient since years and he really isn't very careful about his health. That irritates me so much but I guess I'll have to do something about it so here I am looking for more and more information on ways to treat heart attack since that still remains my biggest fear!! I love my dad dearly and I want to help him out in any way possible. Thanks a lot for helping me make it possible.

Anonymous said...

You have gave a detail article on the on the heart attack… Thank you for this to help the common man who is unaware to the heart attack symptoms. I have little knowledge about the heart attack symptoms and want to share some in this discussion: If you feel as if you aren’t breathing right especially when falling asleep or waking up then you could be suffering from heart problems and not realize it.

Anonymous said...

You have gave a detail article on the on the heart attack… Thank you for this to help the common man who is unaware to the heart attack symptoms. I have little knowledge about the heart attack symptoms and want to share some in this discussion: If you feel as if you aren’t breathing right especially when falling asleep or waking up then you could be suffering from heart problems and not realize it.

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