Chest ache is a sudden sharp, piercing pain which often heralds the signs of a serious heart-related issue. Chest pain could vary depending on the intensity, duration, location and quality. Aside from heart attack which occurs due to blocked blood flow, chest pain could also be a cause of various other heart related disorders. These are- angina, which occurs as a result of blocked blood vessels; pericarditis, swelling of the pericardium sac membrane encircling the heart; myocarditis, swelling of the myocardium heart muscle; cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart that causes it to become enlarged; aortic dissection, tearing of the aorta. Chest pain can also be caused as a result of heartburn, esophagus disorders, pneumonia, blood clot, chronic pain and the inflammation of the pancreas.
The treatment for chest pain includes both surgical procedures as well as taking of medications such as nitroglycerine (which is an artery relaxer, that enables the blood to flow more easily through these narrow spaces), aspirin, drugs that help to bust clots (these drugs dissolve the clot that is inhibiting the blood flow to the heart), blood thinners, acid suppressing medications and antidepressants. The surgical procedures include angioplasty, balloon and stent placement treatment. All of these methods open the blocked blood vessels after a narrow tube is inserted into the largest blood vessel in the groin region. Other procedures include bypass surgery (in case of a blocked artery this surgical method creates another route for the blood to flow), dissection repair (in case of aortic dissection, this method repairs the ruptured artery carrying the blood) and lung reinflation (this method inflates the lung by inserting a tube).
On experiencing chest pain it is advised that you call for an ambulance or your health care provider. Explain the symptoms, your medical history and the medications that you may be already taking. At the outset you will be required to undergo physical assessment tests that involve doing an ECG (electrocardiogram), some blood tests, Chest X-ray and CT scans to determine whether your chest pain is due to a heart attack. On the basis of the results of these tests you will be required to undergo certain follow up tests such as echocardiogram, computerized tomography (CT scan), stress tests and coronary catheterization (angiogram). At the hospital your caregiver will administer certain drugs (such as aspirin, heparin) to you to arrest the formation of blood clots. These medications prevent the already formed clots from getting any larger. Due to their working nature these drugs are known as anti-coagulants.
During the post-emergency phase depending on the seriousness of the chest pain your doctor will prescribe the medications to you. If you are diagnosed with angina you might be prescribed nitroglycerine. These are nitrates that relax the arteries by allowing more blood to flow and also help to reduce the chest ache. When taking this drug you need to dissolve one tablet under the tongue or use a spray.
People who suffer from chest ache and are within the age group of 45-65 years are eligible for treatment of chest pain which includes taking medications and other surgical procedures.
Those who are below 45 years and above 65 years should take caution when undergoing treatment for chest pain. Also people who are allergic to certain drugs and especially nitroglycerine should avoid going for this kind of treatment and instead discuss alternatives with your doctor. Also people who are diabetic or those with a weak heart muscle should avoid opting for an angioplasty treatment.
Angioplasty though effective in reducing the chances of a heart attack does involve some risks. For example people may experience continuous narrowing of the arteries. There is the risk of damaging your coronary arteries, to your kidney. There is risk of having a stroke while undergoing treatment. There is risk of bleeding which may require you to take blood transfusion. There is the risk of blood clots as well as irregular heartbeat.
There are certain post-treatment guidelines for chest pain. If you have undergone an angioplasty treatment for example, you need to take your medications regularly. Ensure to never stop taking your anti-clotting medicines before discussing with your doctor as these are extremely essential to keep the chances of heart attacks or strokes in check. It is necessary that you go for a physical check-up that comprising of an ECG and some laboratory tests, a week after completing the treatment. You should avoid any high-impact exercises or lifting any heavy objects for at least a month after the treatment. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet is also of utmost importance. Should you experience any pain in the chest or any side effects to the medications you are taking you should immediately go see your doctor.
Post an angioplasty treatment it takes about 4 days for the patient to resume normal activities. Avoid lifting heavy objects for at least 4 weeks after the treatment. You can resume your sexual activities at least 4 days after.
An angioplasty treatment in India for example could cost you about 2-4 lakh on an average. And if you’re a foreigner looking to treat yourself or anyone you know in India, the cost of angioplasty will be at least 50 % more as compared to an Indian treating himself/herself in India.
If you have undergone an angioplasty treatment then the effects of the treatment could last long enough to prevent the chances of a stroke or heart attack for a considerable period of time. However you may experience the narrowing of arteries once again. In certain cases where people adopt a healthy lifestyle then the results of the treatment may be permanent.
If you are looking for more natural or herbal options as opposed to medications to treat your chest pain problem then you need to exercise on a more or less regular basis to keep your heart healthy. You should immediately stop the habit of smoking (i.e., if you have it), have a more nutritious diet consisting of fresh onion and garlic, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and fish high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Heart palpitations have been one of the most common health issues that patients complaints and consult a physician for. In most cases, they are quite benign. But sometimes they could be symptomatic of an underlying heart condition. To diagnose them though, your heart activity needs to be monitored for a period of time. Hence, the use of a heart monitor to make a diagnosis is vital. Heart monitors are diagnostic tools that read the heart’s electrical activity which can be used to prescribe specific therapies and medications.
Types of Heart Monitors-
A portable battery operated device can be worn for a period of 24-48 hours. With wires that have silver coin-sized electrodes that can be attached to your skin comfortably, they record your ECG continuously.
An event monitor records the patient’s heart rhythm and rates for a few weeks up to 30 days to determine the cause of a transient event. It is used to monitor patients whose symptoms are infrequent and unpredictable, to allow for a greater chance to capture an irregularity.
Worn throughout the day or two days, it is used to detect cardiac conditions like atrial fibrillation or a possible stroke When experiencing symptoms, the recording is initiated by the patient for a brief period to record the event.
How do heart monitors work?
Irregular heart rhythms can come and go. Heart monitors record heartbeat over a long period of time as you go about your daily, normal activities. It helps evaluate if your medications are working, if you have other symptoms like faintness, or if your heart is getting enough oxygen.
Difference between a fitness tracker and a heart monitor
A fitness tracker will only record your heart rate. A heart monitor tracks heart rate and also the more specific ECG information and heart rhythm.
Risks of heart monitors
There are no risk factors involved with the use of a heart monitor. Since the electrodes are taped to your chest with adhesives, if you allergic it may cause some mild skin irritation.
How to use a heart monitor?
A trained technician will attach the electrodes to your chest. You might have to shave a patch of chest hair to ensure that the electrodes attach firmly. Since they are portable, you will be able to carry it in your pocket quite easily or sling it across your shoulders. You will be required to keep a diary of your activities through the day. You will also have to make a note in your diary if you experience any symptom like dizziness, shortness of breath or chest pain. These notes will then be compared to the changes in your ECG recorded by your heart monitor.
Since they are basically electromagnetic devices there are a few simple precautions one needs to take when wearing a heart monitor. They are-
If the rhythm and rates of the monitor show an underlying symptom, your cardiac physician can then diagnose it. They are also helpful in diagnosing patients with severe anxiety and panic disorders. And since these monitors are connected to a database, they offer diagnostics in real time and with higher accuracy.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Smoking can affect your health in all respects, and it is no different when it comes to your heart. Smokers are almost twice as likely to have heart problems compared to individuals who do not smoke.
How does smoking cast an impact on your cardiac health?
Smoking increases the risk of developing various kinds of cardiovascular issues such as stroke and coronary heart disease. It damages the lining of the arteries which, in turn, paves the way for building up of fatty substances called atheroma which narrows down the artery. This may lead to heart attack, stroke, and angina.
Tobacco contains carbon monoxide which reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood. This indicates that the heart has to work harder for supplying the required amount of oxygen. Cigarettes also contain nicotine which stimulates the production of adrenaline. This instigates the heart to beat at a faster pace and raises the blood pressure.
The chemicals present in the smoke of tobacco can harm your blood cells and retard the normal functioning of the heart. When not inhibited, it can lead to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is an ailment in which a waxy material, termed as plaque builds up in the arteries and limits the flow of blood to different parts of the body.
When plaque builds up for a long span of time, it causes coronary heart disease, and you are likely to experience symptoms such as heart failure, chest pain, heart attack, arrhythmia and heart failure and even death.
Smoking is a major risk factor for another fatal ailment called the peripheral artery disease or PAD. PAD is a clinical condition where the accumulation of plaque in the arteries inhibits carriage of oxygen-rich blood to the head, different organs, and limbs.
With regular smoking, the blood is more susceptible to clotting which surges the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Is there any effect of second-hand smoking?
Second-hand smoking, also referred to as passive smoking means inhaling the smoke ejected while smoking. When a person is regularly exposed to smoke, he or she is likely to have low levels of good cholesterol, damaged heart tissues, and high blood pressure. Various researchers are of the opinion that second-hand smoke of tobacco is a viable cause of heart ailments in nonsmokers. This means, if you are a smoker, you are definite to harm the members of your surroundings.
Why should you quit smoking?
One of the best ways to decrease the risk of having cardiac ailments is to stop smoking. In case you have never smoked, you should never think of starting it for the same reason. You should also try to avoid second-hand smoke by avoiding going to a smoking zone. It would be a great idea to avoid the company of smokers for the periods when they are smoking.
Stay away from smoking for your heart health. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
When you see someone faint all of a sudden, it leads to chaos around, and you are perplexed not knowing the reason. The sudden fainting or loss of consciousness is Syncope. Syncopal episodes are generally prompted by an unexpected, momentary fall in the flow of blood to the brain, leading to a person passing out and losing muscle control.
Falling causes blood flow to return to the brain, resulting in the person regaining consciousness. The duration of Syncopal episodes is generally for a few seconds or minutes, and it can happen to anyone regardless of age. It does sound scary to lose consciousness suddenly but educating yourself about the signs and symptoms, and the possible causes are the best ways to cope with Syncope.
The trademark sign of syncope is that the patient regularly passes out. The symptoms leading to such a black out episode include:
Syncope can be triggered by an unresolved medical ailment or from sudden changes in the environment. Falling unconscious can also be caused by emotional stress. Other causes include severe pain or an uncharacteristically low blood sugar. Many people faint when they see blood. Syncope can also be prompted by extreme dehydration coupled with low blood sugar. Syncope can be due to a genetic disorder and can also be caused by a medicinal side-effect.
Ways to cope with Syncope
A person who has had syncopal episodes earlier must know a few things especially when he/she lives alone or while at work or outside. A few tips to manage when you feel a syncope episode is approaching:
Syncope is fairly common, but it is generally people above eighty face a larger risk of being hospitalized due to it the problem. In case one thinks that he or she is facing syncopal episode, they must consult a doctor immediately and get all the necessary tests done to handle it properly.
Bradycardia is a condition which in basic terms means slow beating of the heart. In most cases, the typical rate is 60 to 100 beats in a minute when the person is at rest. In case your heart beats less than 60 times in a minute, then it is slower than normal. But a slow heart rate is not always a health concern even though sometimes it could indicate issues with of the heart.
What could bradycardia mean?
Some people with slow heart rate or bradycardia tend to be very fit, and they have no underlying health issues. Athletes and healthy young adults often have a heart rate lower than 60. But in others, bradycardia indicates that the natural pacemaker of the heart is not working well, or the electrical pathways have been disrupted. In severe forms of the problem, the heart may beat so slowly that it fails to pump adequate blood for meeting the needs of the body. This may show some symptoms and could be fatally dangerous.
What are the causes of bradycardia?
There are various causes of bradycardia, and some of them include:
What are the symptoms of bradycardia?
When a person has very slow heart rate, he or she may experience lightheadedness or dizziness, feeling short of breath, having difficulties in doing normal activities or exercising, having chest pain, feeling tired and fatigued. In some cases, it is seen that the person may have palpitations, feeling confused, trouble in concentrating and fainting.
What’s worse, some people don’t have any symptoms at all, or their symptoms are so negligible that they think they are caused just because of aging. The best way to understand whether you have this problem is to take the pulse, and in case, it is slow or uneven, you must talk to a doctor.
How is bradycardia diagnosed and treated?
Bradycardia tends to come and go from time to time, and therefore, a standard EKG is not always able to detect it. A standard ambulatory electrocardiogram is used for detecting the condition, and sometimes, blood tests are also necessary.
The treatment of bradycardia is entirely dependent on the cause of the problem and its symptoms. It is worthy of mention here that in case the problem is not causing any symptoms, then they would not be treated under usual circumstances.
A heart attack can wreak havoc, throwing a person's life completely off balance. The condition, also known as Myocardial Infarction, often catches a person unaware. As per a survey, close to 7.35 lakh people (both men and women) suffer from a cardiac arrest and associated disorders in the US every year. Early diagnosis and preventive measures can make a world of difference. Unfortunately, many people ignore or tend to miss out on the early symptoms of a heart attack.
A heart attack can be very much averted. All you need to do is, listen to your body and pay attention to the following warning signs. Act before it is too late.