You must have heard this very often that drinking alcohol can lead to heart problems or even a heart attack, but you might not be sure how this is exactly explained. There is no doubt that consuming anything in excess can lead to serious health issues. Interestingly experts invariably mention that a drink or two every day keeps your heart healthy and can even prevent a stroke from occurring. So how does this gel with the conclusion that alcohol is not good for your heart?
It starts with pre-existing conditions
Before one even considers this question of excessive alcohol consumption, the more critical issue is there are certain categories of people who should not go anywhere near a bottle of the liquor. These are:
In the case of these people, the risk of alcohol consumption is high and as far as possible they should avoid drinking any alcoholic liquor. The difficulty that arises in most cases is people may not be aware that they could be carrying some of these conditions and they would be merrily enjoying their evening drinks or even a weekend binge. These could be quite dangerous for their health. In the last category listed above, alcohol might react adversely with some drugs and if the person is taking the drugs regularly, it puts him/her directly in the line of risk of heart failure.
The effect of alcohol on your system
The chemistry part of this is explained that alcohol can directly impact the individual’s blood pressure. It tends to increase as the person keeps drinking over and over. Simultaneously there is an increase in certain fats in the bloodstream. Indirectly, this fat could lead to obesity and that could precipitate disorders like diabetes.
Apart from this, there is sufficient evidence to link excessive drinking to life-threatening diseases like cancer, peptic ulcers and serious deficiencies in the liver that can lead to fatality. So from every perspective, consumption of alcohol of any concentration, meaning whether it is beer or wine or the harder forms like whisky and rum, the risk to the heart is real and for those with prior conditions, the damage to the health could only get hastened.
There are many people worldwide who suffer from heart problems (irrespective of their age and sex). While in most cases, the condition improves with proper treatment and medications, in few, the condition is beyond treatment. A heart transplant comes as a saviour for such people. It gives them a new lease of life. The transplant involves replacing a heart that has stopped functioning normally (damaged or may be diseased) with a healthy heart (from the donor).
Over the years, heart transplant has undergone a sea of change. With the advancement of science and technology, the success rate in a heart transplant has seen an exponential rise.
People who need a heart transplant:
A heart transplant may be essential in the following cases.
However, under the following circumstances, a heart transplant may not be a wise idea
The heart transplant procedure:
The first step in heart transplant is the availability of a suitable donor. In this case, a donor is a person whose brain is dead but the other organs, including the heart, is healthy and functioning properly. A surgeon performs three operations in a heart transplant.
In some unfortunate cases, there may be organ rejection. The condition arises when the recipient's immune cells see the transplanted heart as non-self (foreign agents). If left unattended, it may damage the heart. Immunosuppressant drugs can help avert rejection. However, it is important to monitor the patient closely for any infections that may arise to the administration of the immunosuppressants.
A heart attack allows you to get a double take on life. Once you survive it, you tend to realize how close your brush with death has been and how important your lifestyle choices can be. Most people go on to live a productive life after a heart attack provided they can adhere to making healthy choices. Here's what you can do if you have experienced your first attack and want to change for the better:
1. Start at the hospital: A person usually stays in the hospital for 3 days after an attack to monitor their condition. This duration increases if you have complications that involve procedures like a bypass surgery. Your first significant change will come to your medication routine. Your existing dosages may be adjusted and you'll possibly prescribed newer medicines that will treat and control your symptoms. You'll not only need to know the names of all your medicines but when you have to take them. Its best you know exactly why are taking each of them, if there are other more economic alternatives since this may last a lifetime and what side effects they may have.
2. Maintaining your mental health: Once bitten, twice shy applies for heart attack victims too. Not only do they live in a constant worry about another attack, every small symptom like a harmless muscle pull can trigger the fear factor. You also get into the "heart patient" dependent mode based on how much help you need to recover. Check for support groups and other heart attack survivors in your locality to see how they are coping. Read more about your recovery and try to keep a positive frame of mind.
3. Go for cardiac rehab: Many hospitals have a rehabilitation program that you can participate in as an outpatient or you can go to a clinic that specializes in it. Such programs help speed up your recovery. It is run by people who will hand hold you in bringing positive changes in your life to protect and strengthen your heart. You'll learn activities that positively improve heart functions and reduce your chances of developing complications or dying from heart disease. You'll also benefit from exercises that'll be taught by a certified exercise specialist.
4. Making lifestyle changes: Quitting smoking is an obvious one. You'll now have to lead a more active lifestyle with daily exercise. You'll also need to actively manage your diabetes and obesity. None of these changes can happen in a day. In fact, behavioural scientists suggest that you need to practice a new activity continuously for twenty one days for it to become a habit.
With recent lifestyle changes, more and more people, younger in age, are falling prey to heart attacks. While some silently suffer the attack during their sleep and never wake up, others have symptoms which they dismiss as acidity or muscular pain and ignore them. There are multiple media programs that are trying to create awareness about how to identify a heart attack. If done at the right time, there is a good chance that the person can be saved.
What is a Heart Attack?
The blood vessels gradually narrow, reducing the blood flow to the target organs. This reduces the efficiency of the target organ, and if this happens to be the heart, it is known as a heart attack. The area that should ideally receive blood does not, leading to its “death.” If the damage is not severe, it can be reversed. However, if this attack happens in one of the critical areas of the heart, it can even be fatal.
Symptoms To Watch For: Very few attacks happen suddenly. Most start slowly and progress, and if identified on time, a life can be saved. The episode takes about an hour, and if you are well-versed with the symptoms, it could help identify the condition correctly and save a life. Most people use antacids and muscle relaxants to ease the situation, which does provide immediate relief, but not a proper cure.
Chest discomfort: There is a central pain which is constant, nagging, and has a squeezing like sensation. This causes discomfort and most often, this pain is in the center of the chest area, which lasts for just a few minutes. Sometimes the pain can go and come back. This pain radiates down into the arm, up into the neck area, and also into the jaw and is almost always indicative of a heart attack.
There is almost always profused sweating where the person breaks into a cold sweat.
Due to reduced return of blood from the peripheral organs, there could be swelling of the feet and ankles.
Irregular heart beat: If there is irregular heart beat (palpitations) very often, talk to your doctor about it.
When you suspect a person of having a heart attack, check for these signs. Very often, a heart attack is detectable and can be managed with timely intervention.
A heart attack is usually characterised by the rupture of a plaque which can cause the spread of the cholesterol into the blood stream.
Cardiovascular diseases are a major cause of pain, suffering and death around the world, today. Heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease. This is caused by the narrowing of the coronary artery when substances like cholesterol block it. If not treated and revived on time, a patient suffering from a heart attack can meet a fatal result.
So how can you prevent a heart attack?
While these basic measures can help take care of the immediate and most direct causes of heart attacks, you can also avoid passive and active smoking, and indulge in a good diet with plenty of exercise to keep your heart healthy.
The heart is a vital organ that pumps blood throughout the body, thereby supplying the body with the essential nutrients and oxygen while removing the harmful toxins and wastes. Certain conditions may interfere with the ability of the heart to pump blood (there could be clogging in one of the artery or arteries). Devoid of blood and the essential nutrients, the other vital organs soon start to falter. In fact, reduced supply of oxygen and blood to the brain can prove to be fatal, triggering loss of consciousness and even coma.
It is quite disturbing to know that as per a survey, nearly 50 million Americans suffer from heart failure, with men being more susceptible than their female counterparts. In some cases, such as a Congestive Heart Failure, the blood may move back into the liver, abdomen, lungs or the lower extremities, thereby congesting the organs. Depending on the extent of the damage, heart failure can be chronic (often lasts for a longer time) or acute. Some of the conditions that trigger heart failure are irreversible, making the situation even worse.
Factors that trigger heart failure:
For an effective treatment, it is important to know the underlying factors, both reversible as well as irreversible, responsible for heart failure.
Today, having a heart attack is a common occurrence. However, this does not make it any less serious. A heart attack is triggered when the heart muscles do not receive adequate blood supply. A shortage of blood causes the heart to be deprived of oxygen which can lead to the death of heart muscles and permanent damage in the form of a heart attack. The most common cause of a heart attack is arteriosclerosis. This can be described as a blockage in the coronary arteries that stops the flow of blood or the thickening of the walls of these arteries that reduces blood flow. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and a genetic predisposition to heart diseases can increase a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack.
A heart attack can easily be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet that is free from fatty and processed foods. In cases where high cholesterol levels have already begun causing damage to the coronary arteries, homoeopathy is an effective form of treatment, homoeopathy has negligible side effects and hence is suitable for people of all ages. Some common homoeopathic remedies that can prevent and treat heart attacks are:
Blockage in heart is a common term used for narrowing of coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are vessels, which supply blood and thus oxygen and food to continuously working heart muscles. Heart muscles, which are not tired working from the birth till death, however, cannot sustain long without blood supply.
A reduction in blood supply gives rise to ischemia of heart muscles commonly manifested as chest discomfort or angina. A sudden complete shutdown of blood supply leads to heart attack leading to permanent damage to heart (if blood flow not reestablished promptly).
But what causes these arteries to block? Deposition of LDL cholesterol (low density cholesterol) in inner surface of coronary arteries is the primary reason of these blockages. LDL a normal component of blood (upto certain limit) starts depositing in arteries as early as 10 years of age!
Deposition of billions of LDL molecules over several years on inner surface of arteries gives rise to visible narrowings in these arteries. Flow ahead of these narrowings is reduced in proportion to the narrowing. At a level of 70 % narrowing the flow is reduced to give ischemia (and angina) during exercise. Gradually increasing degree of narrowing reduces the exercise needed for ischemia and angina; a narrowing of more than 90 % can give symptoms at rest. A sudden clot formation at any of these stages can block the flow suddenly giving a heart attack.
If LDL is a normal component of blood, why it is deposited in the arteries at first place?
LDL above a certain limit in blood starts depositing in the arteries. Diabetes, Hypertension, smoking, less exercise and genetics makes it more sticky thus making narrowing faster. This is why these risk elements need to be properly attended for prevention from heart disease.
For treatment medicines are important for stopping the progression of narrowings; angioplasty is a method of fast resolution of blockage; and bypass surgery is the method of creating a whole new blood supply for the affected part of the heart.