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The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood to the entire body through a network of arteries and veins. This network contains big vessels which branch out further to supply blood to the distant organs. There is, therefore, some pressure that the heart and thereby the vessels need to exert to push the blood through these vessels. This is known as blood pressure, and normal pressure levels range from 90-140(systolic)/60-90(diastolic) mm of Hg. However, due to various reasons, this pressure could be more, which is one of the first signs of heart disease.
Causes of increased blood pressure:
- Thickening of the blood vessels. With age, the elastic blood vessels naturally turn rigid and less elastic, so there is more pressure required to push blood. It is natural for people over 55 years of age to have higher readings of blood pressure. This is known as primary hypertension (HTN)
- Narrowed blood vessels. This happens due to cholesterol accumulation along the walls of the blood vessels. Faulty dietary habits along with sedentary lifestyle have increased the incidence of hypertension due to this condition, known as atherosclerosis. Critical atherosclerotic narrowing of renal arteries lead to renovascular HTN that is one of the commonest of secondary HTN.
Other Causes of secondary hypertension are:
- Kidney problems
- Thyroid hormone disorders
- Congenital heart defects
- Chronic alcohol abuse
- Adrenal gland tumours
- Chronic use of medications like birth control pills, pain killers, etc.
Unidentified and uncontrolled hypertension can be silent and can lead to more severe conditions like heart attack and stroke. India is fast becoming the new hypertension capital of the world. Some of the common risk factors are:
- Family history
- Being obese or overweight
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol consumption
- Excessive salt intake
- Stress levels
- Ethnic background
- Hypertension can go undetected for years together, but if there are risk factors like diabetes and high cholesterol, it is advisable to periodically monitor blood pressure.
- Headaches, nosebleeds, and shortness of breath should not be ignored. These can be the first warning signs of hypertension, and if detected early, preventive measures can be taken.
- If there are co-morbid risk factors, it is advisable to constantly keep a check on BP readings.
This includes a combination of diet and lifestyle modifications.
- Quit smoking and alcohol: Of the many wonders quitting smoking can do, reducing BP readings is just one. The improvement would be almost instantaneous. Quit or else reduce alcohol and see dramatic improvements.
- Weight management: Through a combination of diet and exercise, ensure that weight is brought under control. Set a target BMI (Below 26 kg/m2) and work towards it religiously.
- Diet: Reduce salt, increase potassium, increase vitamin D, eat a heart-healthy diet, and see the hypertension readings improve.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Alkaline phosphatase 95, total Bilirubin 0.98 (0.3 direct+ 0.68 indirect), GGT 64, SGOT 44, SGPT 68, Serum Albumin 4.42, Serum Globulin 2.48, Total Protein 6.9 25 OH Vitamin D Total 6.54 HDL Cholesterol direct 29, Total cholesterol 208, LDL Cholesterol Direct 119, Triglycerides 313, VLDL CHOLESTEROL 62.55 & Non HDL CHOLESTEROL 178.7 Blood sugar fasting 125 These are the results of my blood test. I did a few other tests like creatine etc but they are in the normal range. I understand that the liver enzymes are a little high and so is my cholesterol & I am Vitamin D deficient. I drink 4-5 bottles (750 ml each) of beer (bottle says less than 6℅ alcohol) once a week & that's important for me to unwind myself after 5 working days. I eat non-veg regularly. I am thinking of having Cod liver capsule (please advise good brand), Livosin or any good liver tonic and having food like mackerel. Is that fine with the test results I have? I really don't want to stop the beer .Please help!
When the normal functioning of the heart shuts down suddenly due to heart disease or any other cardiovascular condition, then this is known as sudden death due to a heart problem. Every year, there are over 100,000 deaths globally due to this reason, as per various medical studies. Sudden Cardiac Arrest or SCD is a cause of death for many adults who may or may not be suffering from chronic heart disease. Let us find out more about this condition.
- Difference between Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) and Heart Attack: A myocardial infarction or heart attack can happen when there is a blockage in one of the arteries of the heart which prevents the passage of blood and oxygen to the heart's varied chambers. When the oxygen present in the blood does not reach the heart in adequate amounts and on time, it can lead to a heart attack. In the case of SCD or sudden cardiac arrest, the problem happens due to a shutdown of the heart after a malfunction in the electrical systems which can lead to varied irregularities.
Accelerated heartbeats, fluttering and quivering of the ventricles which are also known as ventricular fibrillation, as well as other similar causes can ensure that the blood does not reach the heart on time, which can lead to sudden death. The patient usually loses consciousness within the very first few minutes as the blood does not reach the brain.
Symptoms: There are a number of symptoms that are associated with this phenomenon. While losing consciousness is one of the first signs, others include a racing heartbeat as well as heart rhythm problems and dizzy spells. The symptoms usually take place suddenly without prior warning and lead to a complete shutdown of the heart and its functions.
Causes: The main cause of SCD is a condition known as arrhythmias which is basically characterized by abnormal heart rhythms and vertical fibrillation which leads to disorganized impulses to be released from the ventricles due to which the heart cannot pump blood properly. It can lead to death within a matter of minutes if it remains untreated.
Revival: On an emergency basis, the patient will have to be given CPR by an expert at the emergency unit of the hospital. This is a manual process of retrieving the patient by pumping the chest and breathing into the patient's mouth. Portable defibrillators can also be used to revive the patient in such cases.
Risk Factors: Patients who have suffered heart attacks in the past and have a family history of heart disease and heart attacks, are at maximum risk when it comes to SCD. Also, factors like obesity and diabetes can increase the risk.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition, which primarily affects the lungs and persistence of this condition might lead to severe breathing problems and loss of lung function. If you have inherited two copies of the defective gene from your parents, you are likely to suffer from this disease. Cystic Fibrosis causes a buildup of thick mucus in your lungs and affects other organs such as the kidneys, pancreas and the intestines in your body.
It isn't very uncommon as one out of fifty people in Asia is a carrier of this disease. The disease gets its name from the cysts formed in the pancreas of the sufferer. However, this disease can be detected by testing the quantity of salt present in your sweat. Prenatal testing for Fibrosis is another method to test if your newborn is likely to contract a lung infection.
Complications faced due to cystic fibrosis include:
- Serious sinus infections
- Serious damage in lungs due to inflammation and incessant infection
- Complication in breaking down protein
- Respiratory tract contamination
If you observe one or more of the following symptoms, you might be suffering from Cystic Fibrosis:
- Salty-tasting skin
- Bowel obstruction caused due to meconium ileus (obstruction of the bowels)
- Mucus amiss in your alveoli
- Persistent coughing with phlegm discharge
- Shortness of breath while engaging in a physical task
- Stunted or measly growth despite healthy lifestyle habits
- Infertility in males
If you're suffering from cystic fibrosis, there isn't any particular treatment which is recommended due to the varying degrees of it found in people. However, consultation with a medical practitioner and an individualised treatment plan can help you minimise the risks and lead a better life.
Some therapies you can opt for are:
- Airway clearance: This therapy helps sift the thick layer of mucus around your organs. Some people have also chosen to use the inflatable vest which vibrates around your chest, thereby, thinning and loosening the layer of mucus.
- Inhaled medicines: Another breakthrough in the field of respiratory medicine, this method requires the patient to sniff a liquid consisting of mist, which is inhaled with the aid of a nebuliser. This method is known to be beneficial for opening airways.
- Pancreatic enzyme supplements: Along with multivitamins, these specially designed supplements are known to cater to your pancreas with the much-needed nutrients and they need to be consumed with every meal. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pulmonologist.