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Coronary Artery Disease - How To Manage It?

Coronary Artery Disease - How To Manage It?

Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease or CHD, is a kind of disease in which a wax-like substance called plaque, builds up in the coronary arteries.

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 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.

  1. 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 better health and life. Smoking and drinking have to be given up completely. It is advised to avoid secondary smoke, as much as possible.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 in your diet.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese aggravates any disease. So it is important to keep your body weight perfect.
  5. Taking medicines as prescribed: It is important to take medicines regularly and as prescribed by the physician.
  6. 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.
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Know About Causes & Treatment For Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome!

Know About Causes & Treatment For Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome!

Testosterone is a hormone, which grows the most effective at the time of your puberty. This is the main substance, which helps you to grow your chest hair, then helps to deepen your voice, boosts the growth of your penis and helps to build up your muscle.

After a certain point of age, most of the men start experiencing a decline in testosterone. If you are not being sexually aroused then the lack of testosterone can be one reason. A large number of men erroneously believe that their lack of sex drive is accompanied by their old age.

Some possible causes for testosterone deficiency may include: 

  • Infection, injury or problems in the testicles.

  • Chemotherapy or radiation to cure cancer.

  • Genetic abnormalities.

  • Dysfunction in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.

  • Inflammatory disease in the lungs or heart.

  • Certain effects of medication.

  • Alcoholism.

  • Abnormal obesity.

Testosterone deficiency can lead a man to a plethora of different sexual problems. The production of the hormone is connected to your brain and inadequate testosterone can cause many problems, which may include:

  1. Loss of sex drive.

  2. Feeling ill and low on confidence.

  3. Difficulty concentrating.

  4. Muscle mass decrease.

  5. Decreased haemoglobin and anaemia.

  6. Fragile bones.

  7. Loss of body hair.

The proper way to detect testosterone deficiency problem is to measure the level of testosterone in your blood.

Some treatments of testosterone deficiency may include:

  1. Injecting intramuscular medicine can help you achieve higher levels of testosterone. This can be given anywhere on your muscle with a gap of two to 10 weeks.

  2. Application of testosterone gel especially inside your nose can lower the problem.

  3. Application of mucoadhesive material on your gum two times a day.

  4. Applying subcutaneous pellet.

  5. Application of testosterone stick, you should apply it on your underarms like a deodorant.

The treatments for testosterone deficiency come with many disadvantages too. As such, consult a doctor before indulging yourself into any kind of treatment.

Hereditary Heart Diseases - How To Tackle It?

Hereditary Heart Diseases - How To Tackle It?

Ever wondered why you needed to share your family’s health history at a doctor’s clinic? Specific questions regarding health issues of your immediate family or close blood relatives give your doctor an insight into various health risks you might have now or in future. Those are medical conditions inherited by parents or grandparents through genes. Genes are passed from parents to children in DNA of eggs or sperms. Even a single mutation (fault) in gene can influence body systems and may lead to disorders. If any of the parents have a faulty gene, there are 50:50 chances of the child inheriting it.

Hereditary heart diseases are also a result of mutation in one or more genes and tend to run in families. Genes control almost all aspects of cardiovascular system including strengthening blood vessels, pumping capacity or communication of cells in the heart. A single genetic variation is enough to alter cardiovascular processes increasing the risk of developing a heart disease, attack or a stroke. Some of the most common hereditary cardiac disorders include; Arrhythmias, congenital heart diseases and cardiomyopathy. A family history of heart attack or stroke is also an established high-risk factor for the family members. High blood cholesterol, medically known as familial hypercholesterolemia also tends to run in families.

Unfortunately, many of these conditions cannot be prevented since they are acquired through genes. But there are many ways in which these could be managed before they become complicated or fatal.

Let’s look at some ways by which we can deal with hereditary heart diseases and increase a patient’s chances of survival:

  1. Early Diagnosis And Treatment: When one person in the family is diagnosed with a heart disease, it is strongly advisable for other family members to go in for screening. An early diagnosis can help in better treatment and management of the disease and impacts positively on patients’ life. Medical screening of siblings is highly recommended in case a person suffers a sudden cardiac death especially at a young age.

  2. Watch out for these symptoms at a young age: Abnormal heart rhythm, asthma that does not get better with inhaler, seizures that do not improve with medication, extreme fatigue or shortness of breath are warning signals and need immediate medical attention.

  3. Genetic Testing: Family members may opt for genetic testing to check if they carried genes of an inherited disorder.

  4. Genetic Counselling: Genetic counselling deals with problems like anxieties and fear of attacks, confusion over disease and emotional difficulties in accepting the situation.

We may not be able to change the family history but we can surely change our environment, lifestyle and habits. Eating healthy and following an active lifestyle does help in prevention and management of such diseases.

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Cardiological Problems - How Homeopathy Can Resolve It?

Cardiological Problems - How Homeopathy Can Resolve It?

Homeopathy is a method of treatment which is based on the fact that symptoms of a certain disease, if induced in small quantities, may help cure the same disease in a sick person. Cardiological disorders are complications of the heart; they can range from various disorders such as a heart attack to irregular heartbeats.
Homeopathic remedies based on naturally occurring substances are given to the affected person in diluted form. These substances induce symptoms of the disease in small quantities which triggers the body to heal.

The various homeopathic treatments for cardiological disorders are:

1. Lactrodectus
This treatment is used to treat symptoms of precordial pain in the body.

2. Aurum metallicum
Aurum metallicum is used in treating symptoms of weakness in the muscles of the heart.

3. Aconitum
This treatment is used when a person is having a heart attack.

4. Spigelia
Spigelia is used in the treatment of irregular heartbeats which may cause sharp pain in the chest.

5. Cactus grandiflorus
This treatment is used in treating angina pectoris which is characterized by symptoms of pain caused by decreased blood flow to the heart.

6. Craetaegusoxyacantha
This homeopathic treatment is used in treating coronary insufficiency in people. This disorder causes problems in heartbeats.

7. Digitalis
This homeopathic treatment is used in treating cardiac muscle failure. This disorder causes palpitation, tightness in the heart muscles and a suffocating sensation.

8. Kalmia latifolia
This treatment is effective in treating cardiac hypertrophy which causes the heart muscle to thicken, resulting in size reduction of the ventricles. This treatment is very effective in treating cardiac hypertrophy that results after rheumatism.

9. Glonoinum
This homeopathic treatment is prescribed to treat symptoms of plaque buildup in the artery and hypertension.

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Learn More About Pacemaker!

Learn More About Pacemaker!

1. What is a Pacemaker

The pacemaker is a small battery-operated device that can be used to keep the heart beating when the normal electrical conduction of heart becomes diseased. It consists of one pulse generator which contains the battery as well as software and is implanted under muscle or skin under the shoulder. And wires which are connected to the heart and act like electrical wires for conduction. 

2. What are the types of pacemakers? 
There are many types of pacemakers available today. 

  1. Temporary Pacemakers - these are used temporarily when there is a reversible cause of disease or as a bridge before the permanent pacemaker can be implanted. 
  2. Permanent pacemakers - these are small devices which can be implanted permanently in the body by making a small cut in the body. They are available in many different types. 
  3. Capsules pacemakers - These are small capsule shaped devices which can be put in heart and control the conduction from there. 

3. What are the different types of permanent pacemakers? 

Many varieties of Permanent pacemakers are available in the market and are advised depending on the type of disease. The cost varies depending on the type and models. Single chamber pacemakers - which pace only one chamber of the heart. requiring only one wire. Dual chamber pacemakers - which pace both chambers of the heart and require two wires. MRI compatible version of all these pacemakers is now available as well. 

4. How is pacemaker implanted in the body? 

The procedure is done with local anesthesia, in a cath-lab and can take 2-3 hrs. A small cut is put under the shoulder and the device is put beneath the muscle plane. The cut is then stitched and dressing is done. The stitches are cut or dissolve (if dissolvable sutures are used) in 5-10 days and the patient is discharged the next day after implantation on some pain killers and antibiotics. A small 5 cm scar can be seen at the implant site, and in case sutures are done by a plastic surgeon even that may not be visible. 

5. Can I do normal activities after getting a pacemaker implanted?

Yes. The patient can walk and travel right from the next day after the procedure. There are few precautions that are advised for a month and after that, you can do all of your routine normal activities. You can use electrical equipment, microwaves, phones, etc. In fact, people play tennis, do swimming and other sports after pacemaker. You will be provided with a list of precautions post procedure. And will need to get the routine to follow up every 3-6 months with your cardiologist for checking of device parameters and battery life. 

When the battery of the device becomes low the cardiologist will advise you for a pulse generator replacement.

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Heart Arteries - Why Do They Block?

Heart Arteries - Why Do They Block?

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.

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Heart Transplant - Know More About It!

Heart Transplant - Know More About It!

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.

  • A congenital heart disorder (a person born with a heart problem).
  • Defective or diseased heart valves.
  • Amyloidosis (a condition where amyloid fibrils get deposed in the tissues and organs of the body intracellularly or extracellularly).
  • Problems in the coronary artery.
  • Cardiomyopathy (A condition where the muscles of the heart become weak, thereby affecting the normal functioning of the heart).
  • A heart transplant that failed previously.
  • Ventricular Arrhythmias (a condition that originates in the ventricles, in ventricular arrhythmias, the heart rhythms are abnormally rapid).

However, under the following circumstances, a heart transplant may not be a wise idea

  • People with infections or chronic lung or kidney disorders.
  • A case of cancer in the past.
  • Age may be a deciding factor. The recovery from a heart transplant may not be 100% in an aged person.

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.

  • The first operation is essentially the removal of the healthy heart from the donor body. The heart is kept in a cool place, preferably ice (to keep the heart alive and in good condition until the heart transplant takes place).
  • In the second operation, the recipient's damaged or diseased heart is operated out. The situation may, however, be complicated if the patient had heart surgery in the past.
  • The third and the final surgery involves implanting the donor heart into the recipient body (the recipient's upper heart chambers and the atrial back wall are however not removed).
  • Once the implantation takes place (without any complications), the surgeons sew the heart into place.
  • The blood vessels are then connected back to the heart and the lungs. The heart starts beating again once it is warmed up.
  • To enable the patient to receive the nutrients and oxygen (during the heart transplant), the patient is put on a heart-lung machine.
  • If no complications develop after the transplant, the patient is discharged within a fortnight.

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.

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Life After Heart Stroke!

Life After Heart Stroke!

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. 

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Ventricular Septal Defect - An Overview!

Ventricular Septal Defect - An Overview!

VSD (a hole in the heart) refers to a congenital heart disease where a hole is formed in the ventricle septum i.e. wall between two lower chambers of the heart. As a result of this, blood from the left portion of the heart (left ventricle) crosses this hole and goes to right-sided heart that results in blood overflow to lungs.
VSD is one of the commonest child heart diseases that is seen at birth, but adults too may suffer from it following an acute heart attack.

What are the causes for Ventricular Septal Defect?
Congenital VSD occurs during heart development of the fetus. The heart develops from a huge tube, dividing into sections that, in turn, will become the chambers, walls and vessels of the heart. If something goes wrong during this process, a hole can develop in the ventricular septum.
Sometimes, VSD may be caused due to genetic and environmental factors. For instance, if you have a family history of genetic conditions like Down syndrome or congenital heart diseases, then your child may be at risk of developing a Ventricular Septal Defect.

Symptoms Indicating VSD-
The signs and symptoms of Ventricular Septal Defect vary depending on the size of the VSD. If the hole is small, child may be asymptotic. Children or young adults with small VSD only show signs of a heart murmur that is detected by their family physician.
A medium or large sized hole is likely to exhibit the following noticeable symptoms in children –

  • Rapid breathing/Breathlessness
  • Poor weight gain/ Failure to thrive
  • Poor feeding
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Excessive sweating
  • Inability to engage in physical activities
  • An enlarged heart
  • A tint of blue on the lips, fingernails, and skin in late stages of large VSD

These symptoms indicate that the VSD will most likely not close by itself, and therefore, require urgent intervention. If left untreated, Ventricular Septal Defect may lead to further complications such as pulmonary hypertension, endocarditis, or Eisenmenger like situation.

How is VSD diagnosed?
Usually, VSD is detected within the first few weeks after the birth of the child during a routine check-up. The doctor can tell if your child has a hole in the heart by hearing a heart murmur, as oxygen-rich blood passes between the two ventricles.

Suspecting VSD, your doctor may refer you to a paediatric cardiologist, who will then perform a physical examination on your child, taking his/her medical history in consideration. The following tools are used to confirm the diagnosis –

  • An X-ray of the chest
  • An electrocardiogram or ECG
  • Most importantly by doing a pediatric echocardiogram (ECHO): this is done from the child's chest, a non-invasive modality with no pain to the child

What is the treatment?
Treatment of VSD depends on the size of the hole, and the age and weight of the child.

A small VSD with no significant symptoms mostly will require only follow-up. The child can do his/her activities without much fear.

Moderately sized VSD children are having poor weight gain and show signs of heart failure but less as compared to large VSD. These VSD needs to be followed up to 9-12 months of age and needs to close. The method of closure of moderate sized VSD depends on its location and size of VSD. Majority of moderate sized VSD can be closed by using a device in cath lab angiographically (VSD device closure non-surgically) or else by doing open heart surgery.

In a case of large VSD: Child shows signs of heart failure or in respiratory distress then first medical therapy in the form of diuretics are prescribed for decreasing the signs of heart failure. Then VSD surgical closure is advised preferably between 3-6 months of age.

Heart Surgery – This involves making an incision in the chest wall and maintaining circulation with the help of a lung-heart machine while closing the hole. The surgeon may either seam the hole or stitch a patch of material over it. The heart tissue will eventually heal over the stitches or patches. In about six months, the tissue will cover the hole completely.
Another treatment option is cardiac catheterization.

Cardiac Catheterization (Non-surgical closure of VSD)– The cardiologist inserts a catheter into the blood vessel in child legs that reach up to the heart. He/she then guides the tube to make measurements of blood pressure, blood flow, and level of oxygen in the chambers of the heart. A special implant known as a device is placed into the septal hole (VSD). The device flattens against the septum on both the sides to permanently heal and close the VSD.

Having your child diagnosed with a heart defect can be scary. However, consulting a paediatric cardiologist at the earliest can be helpful, as he will be familiar with Ventricular Septal Defect, and can tell you the best way to manage the condition.

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Know The Connect Between Diabetes And Cardiovascular Problems!

Diabetes and cardiovascular system diseases have been recognized to be closely related to each other due to so-called insulin resistance syndrome or metabolic syndrome. Some examples of the commonly diagnosed cardiovascular diseases are coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, high blood pressure and other heart conditions.

Diabetes is considered a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Other factors that contribute to the possibility of acquiring cardiovascular diseases in diabetic patients include hypertension, smoking, and dyslipidemia.

How Diabetes Causes Cardiovascular Problems?

1. Hypertension: Hypertension in diabetes patients is considered a major contributor to the increase in mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Diabetic patients, especially those with Type 2, need to always have their blood pressure checked every visit to the doctor. Self-monitoring at home is also a must to maintain and control the rise of blood pressure. The American Diabetes Association recommends a target blood pressure of not more than 130/80 mm Hg to maintain a good level of cardiovascular health.

2. Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis: Arteriosclerosis is the stiffening or hardening of the artery walls while Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of the artery because of plaque build-up. Atherosclerosis is a form of hardening of the blood vessels/arteries, caused by fatty deposits and local tissue reaction in the walls of the arteries. Diabetes is a documented high-risk factor for the development of both Atherosclerosis & Arteriosclerosis. Heart disease and stroke, arising mainly from the effects of atherosclerosis, account for 65 percent of deaths among diabetics.

3. Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia means high (hyper) glucose (gly) in the blood (emia). Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your cells rely on glucose for energy. Hyperglycemia is a defining characteristic of diabetes when the blood glucose level is too high because the body isn't properly using or doesn't make the hormone insulin. There is a growing recognition that diabetes belongs to a special category of risk factors because it markedly increases the risk of CVD. This increase is partly the result of the harmful effects of persistent hyperglycemia on the vasculature and partly due to the coexistence of other metabolic risk factors.

4. Smoking: Smoking has been determined dangerous to our health. Studies show that smoking indeed increases the risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients.

5. Dyslipidemia: Dyslipidemia refers to high or altered profile of lipids. Diabetic patients, especially type-2, are prone to develop high triglycerides, low HDL and high sdLDL (collectively known as atherogenic dyslipidemia). Atherogenic dyslipidemia makes the patients more prone to develop plaques in the arteries leading to cardiovascular diseases.

6. Atrial Fibrillation: Atrial Fibrillation means an irregular and rapid heart rate which can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure and other cardiac issues. Individuals with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation. This risk is higher among patients with a longer duration of treated diabetes and poorer glycemic control.

Individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes in combination with one or more of these risk factors are at even greater risk of heart disease or stroke. However, by managing their risk factors, patients with diabetes may avoid or delay the development of heart and blood vessel disease. Your health care provider will do periodic testing to assess whether you have developed any of these risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.

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