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The heart is a muscle that pumps blood to the body through a network of arteries and veins controlled by valves. A heart disease could mean a problem in any of these organs, heart per se, the blood vessels, or the valves. Like it or not, heart problem is a chronic condition. It starts without any notice, and for sure, it is not going to go away completely. What can be done, though, is to manage it beautifully and lives and enjoy life so that the heart disease is not stopping you.
When there is a person with the chronic condition, it is not just that person who is affected, but the near and dear ones as well. When heading out for a dinner or when planning a gathering, there would be certain things that need to be accounted for and considered to accommodate the needs of the affected person. These very soon become a way of life and can be done effortlessly.
- Diet: Heart patients would have some dietary preferences based on the heart condition per se. This may include a need for more whole grains and vegetables, need for specific types of oils, specific cooking methods, etc. At home, it is essential to ensure these things are always stocked up. When heading out, whether it is to visit someone or out for a meal, take into account whether these would be available. The next best option should be kept in mind so that dietary intake is not affected. Gradually, with time, substitutes can be identified with which they could manage in most places.
- Medications: Make sure the medication kit is always readily available. Make sure the person does not miss any medications, whether at home or outside. Ensure the regular medicines are in stock and some common emergency ones are also readily available.
- Routine: Whether it is their morning walk or yoga or meditation, it is better to stick to the routine as much as possible. The person also should learn to adapt based on circumstances; however, to the maximum extent possible, these should be continued without major interruption.
- Monitoring: Be it blood pressure, sugar levels or weight, these need to be monitored regularly and any deviations should be brought to the notice of the doctor immediately.
- Other equipment: Whether it is a walker, inhaler, or a wheelchair, these should be functional and available. The home or the living place should not be cluttered to allow for the easy use of this equipment.
While these may initially require some effort, with time, it would just happen naturally.
Some people have a sore throat which they think will go away sooner rather than later. Well, while it may not seem serious, rheumatic heart disease means that it could potentially be! But, how exactly?
A sore throat usually comes about on account of bacteria affecting the region of the throat.
Sometimes what can happen is that the same bacteria can go all the way to the heart and damage the valves of it. This is very serious as the health of a person fundamentally depends on the health of his or her heart!
When a sore throat does not seem to be getting better even after about three days go by, the first thing which is to be done is to see a doctor. This is due to the fact that delays can result in the situation getting worse. As a result of this, treatment can get more complex. And who wishes to compound their own miseries, after all?
Children who are aged between five and fifteen years of age are at risk of rheumatic heart disease. Now, while it is true that children are likely to fall sick more often than adults as their immune systems may not be all that strong, a special eye is to be kept out for rheumatic heart disease. The general symptoms which a parent should look out for are a sore throat, a cough and a fever. The tough part is that these symptoms appear which a range of other conditions!
When it comes to knowing that rheumatic heart disease is what is affecting a person, a special blood test is taken and if there is a need, an ECG and some other measures confirm rheumatic heart disease. Penicillin is a wonder drug and it is used in the treatment of rheumatic heart disease, as well. It is the general form of treatment, in fact, and people with the disease are often put on a course of injections. This means that they need to have an injection every 28 days for a month so as to make sure that there is no further damage which can affect the valves of the heart. The importance of this cannot be impressed enough.
It is unfortunate that in many cases, people only discover that they have rheumatic heart disease once they reach adulthood. The valves of the heart may be leaking or significantly damaged by the time that the discovery is made. Is it not a lot better to save oneself from this sort of situation?
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.
Having bradycardia implies that your heart beats very slowly. For the vast majority, a heart beats from sixty to hundred pulses a minute while very few are viewed as ordinary. In case your heart beats under sixty times each minute, it is slower than usual. A moderate heart rate can be ordinary and solid. On the other hand it could be an indication of an issue with the heart's electrical framework.
For a few people, moderate heart rate does not create any issues. It can be an indication of being exceptionally fit. Sound youthful grown-ups and sports persons frequently have heart rates of fewer than sixty beats a minute. In other individuals, bradycardia is an indication of an issue with the heart's electrical framework. It implies that the heart's regular pacemaker isn't working right or that the electrical pathways of the heart are disturbed.
A moderate heart rate may make you:
- Feel blurry eyed or woozy.
- Feel short of breath and feel that it’s harder to work out.
- Feel tired.
- Have neck pain or an inclination that your heart is beating or rippling (palpitations).
- Feel bewildered or experience difficulty concentrating.
- Black out, if a moderate heart rate causes a drop in pulse.
A few people do not have side effects, or their indications are mild to the point that they think they are quite recently part of getting more seasoned. You can discover how quick your heart is beating by checking your heart rate. In case your pulse is moderate or uneven, talk to a specialist.
How bradycardia is dealt with depends on what is causing it. Treatment likewise relies on symptoms. Given below are some of the symptoms:
- In case harm to the heart's electrical framework causes your heart to pulsate too quickly, you will presumably need a pacemaker. A pacemaker is a gadget put under your skin that revises the moderate heart rate. Some people might have a kind of bradycardia that requires a pacemaker.
- In case another medical issue, for example, hypothyroidism or an electrolyte irregularity, is bringing about a moderate heart rate, treating that issue may cure the bradycardia.
- In case a medicine is making your heart to pulsate too gradually, your specialist may change the dosage or recommend an alternate drug. In case you can't quit taking that medicine, you may require a pacemaker.
Bradycardia is frequently the aftereffect of another heart condition, so finding a way to carry on with a heart-solid way of life will enhance your general health. This may include:
- Showing at least a bit of restraint and dedication to a good diet routine that includes a considerable amount of organic products, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods.
- Being gradually on most, if not all, days of the week. Your specialist can let you know what type of exercise is okay for you.
- Getting more fit in case you have to, and maintaining a solid weight.
- Not smoking.
- Overseeing other medical issues, for example, hypertension or elevated cholesterol.
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.
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.
Your heart is the most important and vital organ of all and regulates the flow of heart to all parts of the body. Thus, the valves and the arteries which take the blood to your heart are also an important component in ensuring that the circulation is constant. Thus, any hindrance to this process will put a lot of pressure on your heart and lead to more serious problems in the long run. Coronary artery disease is one such problem and can seriously put the health of your heart at risk.
What is coronary heart disease?
Coronary arteries are very important blood vessels, which carry nutrients, blood and oxygen to your heart. If the level of bad cholesterol is high in your blood, it will start leaving deposits on the walls of the arteries which are commonly known as plaque. This plaque will start building up over time causing blockage of the arteries and disrupting proper blood flow. Excessive build up of the plaque may then rupture the lining of the plaque. This will then induce blood clotting and further prevent the normal flow of blood.
Primary symptoms may include
- Shortness of breath: This may occur while you are exercising or performing activities which are mildly exerting.
- Heart beats very hard and fast: Your heart may beat very hard and fast, especially when doing everyday activities such as climbing stairs or walking for a prolonged distance.
- Angina or chest pain: You may experience pain in your chest as if someone was pressing against it with a lot of force. Angina is also triggered due to stressful activities or even emotional stress. It usually occurs on the left or the middle of the chest and may even be felt in the back, arms, and neck.
- Heart attack: Heart attacks are the most common and the most serious complications of coronary heart disease. You would feel extreme pain, akin to crushing on your chest, shoulder, or arm. It may even be accompanied by jaw pain, and sweatiness.
Non invasive forms of treatment are always preferable rather than invasive surgeries or procedures to treat coronary heart disease, especially where the risk of serious complications such as heart attack are still on the lower side. Some of the treatments used for coronary heart disease are as follows:
- Making lifestyle changes: Quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption along with consumption of regulated diet will automatically start cleaning plaque that has built up within the arteries. Losing weight also tends to help.
- Medications: Special medications can take care of cases wherein the deposits are still lesser and the plaque buildup can be removed without the requirement of extensive surgery. Anti-cholesterol medications are one example of this.
- Surgical procedures: These are usually employed when the blockage is severe and cannot be corrected by the conventional methods mentioned above. Some of the procedures are angioplasty, stent replacement, as well as coronary artery bypass surgery.
With sedentary lifestyle, refined and processed food habits, obesity and diabetes is the new age epidemic. India, in fact, is being termed as the diabetes capital of the world given the huge rise in the number of cases over the last couple of decades.
There are well established risk factors for diabetes and if these can be managed, then the chance of delaying onset, controlling progress and containing complications are highly possible. Read on to know how simple things can be effective in preventing and managing diabetes.
Weight control: Obesity is the most important risk factor for developing diabetes. A person with normal BMI is 20 to 40 times less likely to develop diabetes than an overweight person. Losing about 10% of the excess weight can help prevent diabetes by more than 50%. Check with your doctor what should be the ideal recommended weight for you and draw up a routine (diet, exercise, etc.) that will help you achieve and stay around that weight range.
Exercise: All methods of exercise help in moving the muscles, which is drastically reduced given our sedentary lifestyle. Moving the muscle (as much and as often as possible) ensures they absorb more glucose and reduce the stress on insulin production. Something as simple as brisk walking for 30 minutes is good enough to reduce the chances of developing diabetes by 50%.
Don’t be a couch potato: If watching television is your favourite pastime, it is time to change it. This puts people at risk of developing obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Also, watching television is usually associated with overeating, further adding to the risk of diabetes.
Fibrous foods: Eating fibrous fruits and vegetables as compared to refined and fried foods helps prevent diabetes.
Whole grains vs processed foods: When you have to choose between a pizza and a bowl of brown rice, go for the latter.
Good fats vs bad fats: Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds and help control diabetes. Trans fats present in margarine and baked foods are best avoided.
Alcohol: Moderate amount helps in effective functioning of the insulin.
If you have a family history or have risk factors, follow the above to prevent diabetes. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Do not stop blood pressure medicines, even if you achieve target blood pressure, because some medicines may cause rebound hypertension.