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One of the crucial types of surgery is the heart surgery, which is commonly known as the bypass. It is a type of surgery in which the chest is cut, and surgery is done on valves, muscles, and heart arteries. As per the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, it is one of the most common types of surgeries, which is performed on adults. During this surgery, the prime focus is to remove the blockage from the heart so that fresh blood can easily flow into the heart. No doubt that this process is critical, but it is easily true that after the surgery you have to take extra care of yourself.
Talking of which, here are certain things that you can expect after the surgery:
- Moved To ICU: The moment, the surgery is done, you will be moved to the Intensive Care Unit where the person’s health conditions will be monitored, vital signs will be checked, and medical professional will frequently visit to make sure that the patient is just doing fine. Once the surgery is over, you may not wake up quickly, but you will continue to breathe through the breathing tube. About food, of course, you will not be allowed to take solid food, but there is an intravenous (IV) needle will be put in a blood vessel in your chest and arm from which you will be given fluids.
- Recovery At Home: Once you are given the discharge, your focus should be to get recovered quickly. Recovery at home entirely depends on the heart problem for which the surgery was done. Of course, the doctor will give you necessary instructions with regards to healing incision, dealing with after effect is and understanding the signs of complications. Follow up the medicines and attend the appointments as advised to keep track of your health condition. You may face some after effects such as appetite loss, constipation and sleeping problem. If there is any complication, make sure you speak with a doctor about the same immediately.
- Ongoing Care Is Important Too: Once the surgery is over, as said, you will have to go for frequent checkup with your doctor. During these visits, your doctor will tell you to get blood, stress test and electrocardiogram done, which will assess the working condition of the heart. You might also be given few blood-thinning medicine and bring certain changes in lifestyle and medicine.
There are certain phases of recovery which will take time eventually. The first phase is the lengthy one that can last for around 6-8 weeks. Once you get a discharge from the hospital, you will be given instructions that you must follow with good care. This will pace up the healing process and make the process better.
Function of Coronary Artery
The task of coronary arteries is to supply oxygen rich blood to the heart muscles. When there is the growth of plaque in these arteries, the condition is termed as atherosclerosis. Plaque builds up over the years, and it hardens or ruptures with time. When plaque gets hardened, it narrows the coronary arteries and thus disrupts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles causing coronary heart diseases. Millions of people are diagnosed with heart diseases, nowadays.
Though it is true that living with a heart disease is not easy, it is not impossible either. Many people are successfully leading a happy life in spite of having such diseases. With some major changes in your lifestyle, food habits and with the help of exercises and a healthy diet, it is possible to enjoy a happy life, irrespective of your diseases.
Here are six ways that would help you to lead a better life, even if you have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease:
- Lifestyle changes: This is the first point that needs to be kept in mind if you are a CAD patient. Lifestyle changes are essential to make for a better health and life. Smoking and drinking have to be given up completely. It is advised to avoid secondary smoke, as much as possible.
- Exercises: This is the next important activity that needs to be a part of your daily routine to lead a healthy life. Consult with your doctor about the types of exercise that would suit your conditions. Some common exercises that would help are walking, jogging, and swimming, for at least 30 minutes at the most. Choose whichever activity you like doing. The motive of exercises is to get your heart-rate up.
- A Heart healthy diet: Get a chart prepared for your diet by a dietitian or by your doctor. This will keep your disease from getting worse. Stick to a heart-healthy eating plan, which consists of foods that can lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, etc. Include more fruits, vegetables, and other high fibre foods in your daily diet. Go for foods that are low in saturated fats, trans-fats, and cholesterol. Try to include fish into your diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese aggravates any disease. So it is important to keep your body weight perfect.
- Taking medicines as prescribed: It is important to take medicines regularly and as prescribed by the physician.
- Keeping tensions, anxiety to a minimum: These will make the situation worse if you are CAD patient. So try to keep tension and anxiety away and lead a healthy life.
A sudden cardiac arrest is not same as a normal heart attack. While a heart attack refers to the blocking of blood flow to the heart, a sudden cardiac arrest refers to when the heart stops beating unexpectedly. Sudden cardiac arrests occur without warning and often this condition is triggered by electrical malfunctioning in the heart that causes arrhythmia. When the heart stops beating, blood cannot be pumped to the brain and other organs and the person loses consciousness. If a patient does not receive immediate treatment, this could be fatal. Hence it is important to know what first aid a person experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest requires.
Do not wait for someone else to help a person experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. The first few moments after such an experience are critical and hence your decision to help is what could save the person’s life.
Call a Doctor
The first thing to do when you see someone experiencing a cardiac arrest is to call emergency and request an ambulance. If you do not have a phone available, ask someone else to do it.
After a cardiac arrest, it is essential to get the heart to start beating again as soon as possible. CPR or Cardiopulmonary resuscitation can save lives in this situation. If you are trained in this procedure, start with 30 chest compressions before checking the patient’s airway and performing rescue breathing. If you are not trained in CPR, ask the people around if anyone else is.
If no one around can perform CPR, start hands-only CPR. Make the person lie flat on their back and kneel next to their shoulders. Place the heel of one palm in the centre of the person’s chest with the other hand over it. Keep your elbows straight and position your elbows such that they are directly over your hands. Use your upper body weight to push down straight on the person’s chest and release. Try and achieve a rate of 100 compressions a minute. Continue until the person starts breathing again or medical help arrives.
Use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
If an AED is available, place the electrode pads on the person’s chest as shown in the diagrams that come along with the AED. Follow the visual and voice prompts. Do not worry if the AED shocks the patient as this electrical therapy can help restart the heart.
The heart pumps pure blood to all parts of the body through a network of arteries. These are thicker in the beginning and become finer and thinner as they reach the various organs. These arteries are lined by a layer of epithelial tissues and as blood flows through them, the heavier cholesterol / fat molecules settle down along the walls.
This attracts more and more fat molecules to settle down. This is known as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Over a period of time, the vessels circumference reduces and the blood supply to the target organ reduces. This impacts proper functioning of these organs and when this happens to the major organs like the heart, kidney or the brain, conditions like stroke or thrombosis or heart attack can occur.
This condition, known as coronary artery disease, is becoming a major cause of deaths. While that is the bad news, the good news is that it is largely lifestyle dependent, and if steps are taken, it can be prevented, and in the early stages, the damage completely reversed.
1. Diet: A low-fat, high-fiber, heart-healthy diet consisting of Omega-3 fatty acids is recommended by doctors, especially to people who are prone to develop heart disease. This also requires reduced salt, increased unsaturated fats, reduced triglycerides and reduced sugar. Include loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and fish oils. Include multivitamins or other supplements after checking with your doctor.
2. Exercise: Regular exercise in any form increases the efficiency of the circulatory system, keeps the cholesterol levels in check and helps in blood pressure management. Exercise in any form is advisable, based on individual preference. A moderate physical activity of 30 to 45 minutes per day is advisable.
3. Smoking: This is one of the major risk factors for smoking, and quitting or controlling smoking is one of the best methods to prevent coronary artery disease.
4. Alcohol consumption: While moderate alcohol consumption is believed to be healthy for the heart, excessive alcohol consumption is a strict no-no. Binge drinking especially is shown to cause heart attacks.
5. Weight management: Check with your doctor on what is ideal BMI for you and work out a plan to keep your weight under check.
6. Regular medications: If you are on blood pressure or diabetes medications, ensure you do not miss them. Keep a constant check to ensure your readings are managed well.
7. Watch out: Ask your doctor if there are specific symptoms that you need to watch out and seek medical support if you see any of them.
Coronary disease is not treatable fully, but can be prevented and managed effectively to improve the overall quality of life.
Atrial fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, which you may experience due to a problem in the electrical system of the heart. Such a problem causes the upper parts of the heart or the atria to fibrillate. Due to this quivering, the normal rhythm between the lower parts of the heart and the atria gets disrupted. The ventricles are likely to beat faster in an irregular rhythm. This is a severe condition where the blood may get collected in the atria; this could lead to the formation of blood clots. These clots can block the blood flow and lead to a stroke.
Several conditions cause strain and damage to the heart. These include the following:
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- Heart attack
- Valvular diseases
- Coronary artery disease
- Medical problems like heart failure, lung diseases, high level of thyroid or pneumonia
- Heart surgeries
- Excess consumption of alcohol
- Light-headedness and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak and fatigued
- Feeling as if the heart is pounding, fluttering or racing (known as palpitations)
- Feeling that the beating of the heart is uneven
- Chest pain and fainting
In many cases of atrial fibrillation, the symptoms may be absent.
Conducting several tests, physical examinations and an analysis of your health history is the first step towards diagnosing atrial fibrillation. An electrocardiogram (ECG) needs to be carried out for the detection of this condition. This test is performed for checking problems regarding the electrical activity of the heart. Other laboratory tests and an echocardiogram maybe required as well. An echocardiogram helps in observing the pumping function of the heart and to check whether the valves have been damaged.
The treatment options for atrial fibrillation depend on the cause, symptoms and the risks of getting a stroke. Several medicines are used for treatment along with other methods. They are as follows:
- Blood thinning medicines for the prevention of a stroke.
- Heart rate control medicines which will prevent irregular beating of the heart.
- Rhythm control medicines for restoring the heart’s rhythm to normal.
- A process known as cardioversion may be used to bring the heartbeat to a normal rhythm. This can be carried out by medicines or an electric shocktherapy known as electrical cardioversion.
- In case of severe symptoms, ablation may be carried out where the affected areas of the heart are destroyed by the creation of a scar tissue.
For the best diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation, you must consult a doctor as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms of the condition. A doctor will prescribe all that you need for an effective treatment.
There are different types of heart problems like coronary artery disease, congenital heart failure and cardiomyopathy, but their warning signs are the same i.e. shortness of breath. This is the reason why shortness of breath should never be taken lightly and should always be investigated for heart diseases.
Why does shortness of breath happen?
You may not be able to get in enough air while experiencing shortness of breath. Known medically as dyspnea, shortness of breath is often described as an intense tightening in the chest and a feeling of suffocation. This is one of the most frightening conditions experienced by a patient. You can experience dyspnea without any serious medical problems in these conditions
- After strenuous exercise
- In extreme temperatures
- Due to obesity and
- In high altitudes
But if you are not in any of these conditions, then shortness of breath is a sign of a serious medical problem usually involving your heart or lungs. These two vital organs transport oxygen to the rest of your body and remove carbon dioxide; hence problems with either of these organs can affect your breathing. Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly called acute, can be due to other causes too like:
- Excess fluid around the heart
- Low BP
- Heart failure
- Blood clot in an artery in the lung
- Collapsed lung
If you have had shortness of breath that has lasted for weeks, then we call it chronic and its causes can be various diseases of the heart apart from asthma and COPD. There is no doubt that your heart may be in trouble, if you have chronic shortness of breath. You may be suffering from these heart conditions:
- Cardiomyopathy or problems with the heart muscle cause symptoms like shortness of breath after physical exertion as well as fatigue, and swelling of legs and abdomen. Patients suffering from cardiomyopathy are at risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest.
- Heart arrhythmias is also called irregular heartbeat, and can cause slow or fast heartbeats. These also have symptoms like shortness of breath. Arrhythmias can cause strokes, heart failure and cardiac arrest.
- Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently to meet the needs of the body. This is a potentially fatal condition. One of the most common symptom is shortness of breath with exercise and while lying down. Fatigue is another common symptom.
- Pericarditis or swelling of membranes around the heart is also characterised by shortness of breath.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
The heart is one part of your body that pumps blood relentlessly; to be grateful to the most important organ, it’s your duty to look after its health. Cardiovascular diseases and heart ailments can be prevented by making minor changes in your lifestyle.
Here are a few tips to keep your heart healthy:
- Add fiber to your diet: Making fiber a part of your regular diet is a great idea as the heart works best when it runs on natural fuel. You can achieve this by adding more raw fruits and vegetables in your meals as they are an excellent source of fiber and nutrients.
- Engage in physical activity: Your heart is a muscle and to make it healthier, you need some form of physical exercise. Engaging in cardiovascular forms of exercise for an hour daily keeps your heart in good condition. Engaging in physical activity also reduces the risk of getting a heart disease and acts as a stress buster.
- Cut down on the salt intake: The sodium content in salt disrupts the balance of fluids in your body leading to high blood pressure. This can affect the functioning of the heart; that is to pump blood, which is a major cause of a heart attack. So, cutting down on salt can reduce stress and the risks of heart attacks.
- Manage your weight: People on the overweight side run a risk of getting heart diseases more often than fit and leaner ones as they tend to be more inactive and sluggish. The heart diseases caused due to obesity can be avoided by making minor changes to your diet and exercising on a daily basis.
- Quit smoking: If you are a regular smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your heart. The main reason for coronary heart diseases is nicotine present in the cigarette. Once, you quit smoking completely, you will be 50% less likely to run the risks of a heart attack as compared to a regular smoker.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Cholesterol is one of those terminologies that need a clear and fresh understanding, right from scratch. It is nothing but obvious and common for you to primarily know about the ill effects of cholesterol and what it does to your body; from increasing the risks of cardio-vascular diseases to adding to your waistline. However, it is time we all got a fresh perspective on what cholesterol is.
So, to start off, what is actually cholesterol?
It is waxy substance produced by the liver which plays an important role in the proper functioning of the cells, digestive process and synthesis of Vitamin D in the body. As cholesterol is a fat based substance that does not dissolve in blood, it is transported, throughout the body, by a protein called the ‘lipoprotein’. The lipoproteins that carry cholesterol are of two types: Low-Density
Why is LDL ‘bad’?
LDL is known as ‘bad’ cholesterol as it is responsible for plaque formation that reduces flexibility of the arteries and tends to clog them.
Why is HDL ‘good’?
HDL is known as the ‘good’ cholesterol because it gets rid of excessive LDL from the arteries and transports them to the liver where they can be broken down. Too much of bad cholesterol in the body can lead to clogged arteries that may result in stroke or a heart attack. Now that you know that too much LDL cholesterol is bad for you, you need to keep it under control while raising the good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
In order to do that, you need to make certain modifications in your lifestyle.
Some of them can be:
- Eat foods that are good for the heart: Avoid eating saturated fats and trans-fats as they raise LDL levels in the body. Instead, choose foods that are rich in the heart healthy monounsaturated fats such as almonds and olive oil. Also, include foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil; these fatty acids increase HDL levels in the blood.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise not only helps you to lose calories but also increases the good cholesterol levels in the body. Aim for 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercises in the form of brisk walking, running or cycling to keep your heart muscles healthy.
- Stop smoking: Smoking can cause the blood vessels to narrow down, thus increasing blood pressure, owing to the constriction of the blood vessels. Quit smoking right away and your ticker will thank you for it. Remember to limit alcohol consumption as well.
- Maintain optimal weight levels: It’s time to get rid of all the excess fat from the body, especially the visceral fat (abdominal fat). Obesity increases the risk of heart diseases and also has a negative effect on the cholesterol levels. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
It is natural to consider whether your heart is beating right and your blood pressure is normal. Also, many tend to think that the blood pressure and heart rate are related to each other. Admit it or not, you must have heard a lot about your heart rate and blood pressure, some of which are outright false. This is the time to debunk them and know what actually the reality is.
Myth #1: Having an erratic heart rate indicates that you will have a heart attack soon.
When the heart beats at an abnormal rate, it means you have a condition called palpitation. It may give you feeling as if you have skipped a beat or your heart is racing up. You may also experience a brief flutter or pounding feeling in the chest. The good news is that these sensations are not life-threatening and are generally caused by caffeine, alcohol, medication, stress or exercise.
Myth#2: When the pulse rate is fast, it means you are overstressed
Stress is a condition which may raise the pulse rate. But your heart rate can rise when you feel excited or feel anxious or exercise hard. Even high temperature and high humidity can raise your pulse.
Myth #3: Normal heart rate denotes normal blood pressure
At times, blood pressure and heart rate go hand in hand. For instance, when you feel angry or scared or exercise hard, both of them can go up. But you should note here that they are not always linked. Even if the heart rate is normal, your blood pressure may not be so. It could be too high or too low, but you wouldn’t be able to understand it.
Myth #4: Blood pressure and heart rate are same things
It is important to understand the difference between pulse rate and heart rate. Blood pressure is the term denoting the force of blood moving through the blood vessel. On the other hand, heart rate is the number of times the heart beats in a minute. They are two absolutely separate indicators of health. This means if you have high blood pressure or hypertension, there is no substitute for measuring blood pressure.
Myth #5: Heart rate and blood pressure rise and fall at the same rate
As indicated above, a rising heart rate may not be able to cause the blood pressure to surge at the same rate. Even though the heart is beating more than normal, the healthy blood vessels may dilate to allow easy blood flow. When we exercise, the heart speeds up in order to pump an adequate amount of the blood to the muscles. It could be that your heart rate is doubled, but it is safe since your blood pressure has increased only at a modest rate.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Peripheral arterial disease or commonly known as PAD is a common cardiovascular disease. Despite having the power to cause painful symptoms and severe health risks, it is overlooked by many. This particular arterial disease may lead to life-threatening consequences if left untreated for long. Read on to know more about the condition.
What is PAD?
PAD refers to the situation where in the peripheral arteries to the arms, head, stomach, and legs become narrow. Often referred to as the peripheral vascular disease, here, the arteries start to grow narrower due to the slow but constant buildup of fatty deposits on the artery walls. Though it can affect all the arteries in a person’s body, except those that supply blood to the heart, in the majority of cases, it affects the arteries in the leg.
What are the threats it poses?
PAD is indeed a life-threatening disease, as the blockages, it creates in the peripheral arteries prevent normal blood circulation to the different organs, legs, and brain. And when the blood flow is restricted, or the vital organs of the body fail to receive necessary blood flow, then the legs, brain and all the vital organs suffer severe damage. And when PAD continues to harm the blood flow for a long time, then it leads to tissue infection or tissue death, which is known as gangrene.
Additional health issues it causes
PAD also creates various other health concerns, such as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of fatty materials’ build up. In the case of atherosclerosis, the entire blood circulatory system gets damaged, including the arteries leading to the heart. The risk of blood clot build ups and vascular inflammation are also common additional threats posed by the fatty deposits.
Depending on the part of the body that is affected, the PAD symptoms vary from one to another. However, painful cramping in the muscles of one’s legs is the most common symptom of this condition. The pain, originating in the legs often goes up to the muscles in the thighs or hips too. Except this, weakness or numbness in the legs, ulcers or open sores on the feet or legs, skin color changing into bluish or pale are some of the other symptoms of PAD.
The peripheral arterial disease can be diagnosed easily, painlessly and straightforwardly under proper medical attention. Both prescribed medications and a lifestyle change are considered to be the best treatment for controlling PAD. Including a healthy diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle have often been successful in preventing PAD in its early stage.
The moment any signs or symptoms of PAD is noticed one should not be late in seeking immediate medical attention.