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Prevention of Blockage, Atherosclerosis and Heart Attack Tips

Smoking - How Quitting It Is Good For Your Heart?

Dr. Balaji Ramagiri 91% (205 ratings)
MBBS, DM - Cardiology, MD
Cardiologist, Hyderabad
Smoking - How Quitting It Is Good For Your Heart?

If you are concerned about the health of your heart, one of the primary and most important things to do is quit smoking. Avoiding and abstaining from smoking will heal the nicotine damage caused to your heart. This will enable you to lead a long and healthy life. Here are the reasons why you should quit smoking for the sake of your heart:

  1. Reduced risk of heart attack: The benefits of not smoking start hours after you quit, and the heart rate and blood pressure get normalised slowly. By quitting smoking, your chances of having a heart attack are reduced by 50%.
  2. In case of women, quitting smoking has special benefits: Women generally have a smaller body frame than men, and the harmful effects of smoking on a woman’s heart are considered to be more dangerous and concentrated. Female smokers under the age of sixty are more likely to experience a condition known as cholesterol plaque erosion, which is a fatal blood vessel condition. Women smokers are likely (seven times more than men) to develop heart complications due to smoking.
  3. When you quit smoking, your heart is no longer exposed to harmful chemicals: Cigarette smoke contains toxins such as arsenic, formaldehyde and benzene. The chemical substances may be hazardous to the blood vessels in your body, and the heart muscles get damaged. Once you quit smoking, these chemicals will no longer enter your body, making your heart healthier.
  4. Quitting smoking benefits other people as well: When children and people are exposed to tobacco smoke, their chances of having plaque in their heart’s arteries are enhanced. This may cause a stroke.
  5. Quitting smoking reduces the chances of getting hospitalised: A smoker may be at the risk for getting hospitalised because of several conditions such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, much more than a non-smoker. After quitting smoking, the chances of being hospitalised decrease within five years.
  6. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of having atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is a blood vessel disease which is caused due to inflammations all over the body. Because of this, the arteries may stiffen and thicken. Smokers face the risk of acquiring this condition three times more than non-smokers.

You can quit smoking most effectively by combining behavioural support along with prescribed medication. People using this type of multi-treatment are likely to become successful at quitting smoking. You should consult a specialist who is certified in tobacco treatment, who will provide you with a plan. It will include counselling, medicines and a nicotine replacement therapy. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.

3930 people found this helpful

Cardiovascular Disease & Diabetes - Know Everything About It!!

Dr. Suzi Jacklin 89% (288 ratings)
MBBS, CCEBDM
Diabetologist, Bangalore
Cardiovascular Disease & Diabetes - Know Everything About It!!

Since blood is part of the cardiovascular system, and diabetes is a condition in which the level of glucose in the blood is higher than normal, then is certainly some relationship between the two.

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

Diabetes is considered a major risk factor in 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 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 130/85 mm Hg to maintain a good level of blood pressure.
  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 risk of CVD. This increase is partly the result of the pernicious 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 increase risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients.
  5. 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. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can ask a free question.

3948 people found this helpful

Tips For a Healthy Heart!

Dt. Nancy Kashyap 89% (720 ratings)
Dietitian/Nutritionist
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi
Tips For a Healthy Heart!

Having a heart of gold is a metaphor but at the same time is something which is quite achievable, as long as a person looks out for oneself and makes an effort to eat the right foods!
If a person who wishes to maintain good heart health is willing to search out the right foods to eat, there is a surfeit of benefits. Just some of these benefits are a lower level of the bad sort of cholesterol, as well as a slower rate of plaque growth.

Foods for a Healthy Heart

  1. Fish is something which is known to have great benefits for the mind and now, the heart, too. This is especially true, if the fish which is being eaten happens to be salmon. Fish in general, and Salmon in particular, has omega-3 fatty acids, which are the best sort which can be consumed bar none. As a matter of fact, the medical evidence of this is so much that the American Health Association has made it a point to recommend that each person eats fish at least twice a week.
  2. If eating fish and preparing it seems to be too much of a hassle, what can be done is to make sure that supplements which have these properties are consumed on a regular basis. Talking about Omega-3 fatty acids, adding a small amount of chia seeds to whatever a person is having has a lot of health benefits. However, as should normally be the case, the person has to make sure that his or her hydration is more or less adequate as the side effect of this not being the case can have a greater impact than the benefits as it can result in constipation!
  3. Oatmeal is something which somehow finds its way to the breakfast table of a lot of health conscious families and it can be said that this is with good reason. This is because oatmeal has the great property of imbibing the cholesterol which is present in a person’s digestive tract and to a great extent, making sure that this cholesterol does not find its way to the bloodstream where it can cause significant damage to the heart and body in general.

However, instead of eating the instant oatmeal variety, having the comprehensive sort is good as it is likely to be sans sugar, which is something which may not be the case with instant oatmeal. All these health benefits add up and can be mulled over a glass of green tea, which is also amazing for the heart! If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a dietitian-nutritionist.

5666 people found this helpful

How Does The Heart's Electrical Conduction System Work?

M.B.B.S. , PG Diploma In Clinical Cardiology
Cardiologist, Delhi
How Does The Heart's Electrical Conduction System Work?

The heart's electrical conduction system plays a very important role in cardiovascular functioning. Also known as the atrioventricular (AV) conduction system, it regulates and controls the timing of the heartbeat.

How does the heart's electrical conduction system work?

There is a collection of electrical cells in the upper right atrium of the heart known as the sinoatrial (SA) node which acts as a natural pacemaker and generates electrical signals. These signals travel through specialized electrical pathways and stimulate the muscular walls of the heart to contract in a rhythmic manner. This gives rise to the heartbeat that pulses at a specific frequency every minute.

What is the effect of fluctuations in electrical activity on the heart?

The standard heart rate in human being ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. It slows down when a person sleeps and speeds up when one experiences physical or emotional heightening. These fluctuations are triggered by the brain or other systems of the body and signal the SA node to generate charges more rapidly or slowly. This leads to spikes and drops in the heart rate, depending on the nature of the situation.


What happens when there is dysfunction in the heart's electrical activity?

When the heart's electrical conduction system does not function properly, it leads to the occurrence of a condition known as arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm. This happens when electrical impulses are generated in an irregular manner and causes tachycardia (rapid heartbeats) or bradycardia (slow heartbeats) which takes place in jarring infrequent tempos.

What causes fluctuations in the heart's electrical activity?

There are various kinds of triggers that cause the heart rate to fluctuate. The exact nature of fluctuation also depends on the type of trigger. A few everyday examples of these causes are as follows:

  • Exercise and strenuous physical activity increases electrical activity as the heart is required to beat faster so as to increase the supply of blood and oxygen to the muscles.
  • Sleep and rest reduce heart rate as the body is not needed to exert itself.
  • Release of adrenaline into the bloodstream causes the heart rate to spike up. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a cardiologist.
1885 people found this helpful

Hereditary Heart Diseases - How to Deal With Them?

Dr. Nishith Chandra 91% (696 ratings)
DM Cardiology
Cardiologist, Delhi
Hereditary Heart Diseases - How to Deal With Them?

A heart disease is definitely something, which is serious. In most cases, it is the result of a person’s lack of prudence when it comes to staying fit and moderating what food items feature in the diet. But is this always the case? Well, not at all. Genetic or hereditary heart diseases, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, long QT syndrome, very high cholesterol levels running in the family and many others, provide enough reason as to why not.

This is because a person cannot be blamed for a hereditary heart disease as the reason why this occurs is on account of the genetic makeup. So, the best way for one to know, if there is a risk of this sort of disease is to take a look at the family history with respect to the disease.

  1. Keep a record: One of the ways by which a person can get to know if there is a risk of a hereditary heart disease is by finding out, if a condition known as arrhythmia is prevalent in the family. This is a condition in which the heart has an irregular heart beat and can be potentially lethal. Other things which are to be watched out for include, but are not limited to, a track record of members in the family who have faced a heart failure at a young age, especially prior to them reaching the age of 50.
  2. Watch out for signs: It is not always true that the signs of hereditary heart diseases pertain to the heart. If a person has fainted or has had seizures, and an effective treatment could not be performed by making use of the normal medicines, which would generally be used in these circumstances, it could be taken as a sign of presence of hereditary heart disease.
  3. Get tested: To know if there is a risk of a hereditary heart disease, it is important that a person gets genetically tested. This is to be done so that the gene analysis can provide details as to which hereditary heart diseases a person has, along with the other members of the family. There are various tests for things such as HCM, ARVD and Marfan syndrome.

Apart from this, undergoing genetic counselling is also considered important. This is to keep a check on the worries of having a sudden heart attack as well as the concerns one may have about passing the genes relating to the heart disease to one’s offspring. This is one of the most necessary, but underrated things when it comes to dealing with a hereditary heart disease. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.

4163 people found this helpful

Coronary Artery Disease - Ayurvedic Treatment To Conquer It!

Dr. Sujata Vaidya 88% (844 ratings)
PhD, Human Energy Fields, Diploma in PIP, EFI, Aura scanning for Health evaluation; Energy field assessment, Fellowship Cardiac Rehabilitation, Cardiac Rehabilitation, MD (Ayur - Mind Body Med), Mind Body Medicine
Non-Invasive Conservative Cardiac Care Specialist, Pune
Coronary Artery Disease - Ayurvedic Treatment To Conquer It!

The heart is responsible for pumping blood through the system and transporting oxygen and nutrients to all the cells and tissues of the body. However, the heart is susceptible to a number of ailments, including coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is a condition where the heart does not receive enough blood because of obstructions or thickening of the coronary arteries. As a result the heart does not receive enough oxygen, which can cause pain in the chest and may even trigger a heart attack. Thankfully, coronary heart disease can be treated with Ayurveda. Ayurveda attempts to treat this disease by addressing the cause of the disease itself by reducing the thickening of the arteries and preventing blockages.

Ayurvedic remedies are a combination of herbal medication and lifestyle change. This is because according to Ayurveda, any illness is the result of imbalances in the body that are affected by the person’s diet, lifestyle, environment and mental health. Guggulu, Amalaki, Triphala, arjuna etc are some of the ayurvedic herbs that can be sued to treat this disease. However, according to Ayurveda, each person has a unique constitution and reacts as per the environment around them in a different manner. Thus, Ayurvedic remedies must be customised according to the patient’s symptoms and overall health.

Some Ayurvedic remedies that can be beneficial to all patients with coronary heart disease are:

  1. Sattvavajay Chikitsa: This refers to giving the patient mental strength and support to deal with the illness. According to Ayurveda, a calm mind is essential for healing. Hence, try meditating for a little while every morning and get plenty of sleep. Ayurvedic therapies such as Shirodhara can also be beneficial. This involves pouring a continuous stream of oil or other liquids on the forehead while the patient is lying down.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet: Both the food being eaten and its quantity are important according to Ayurveda. Ideally, a person should eat only as much fits into two cupped palms at a time and should maintain regular eating hours. Eating plenty of green vegetables and fresh fruits are important to regulate metabolism. Avoid eating starchy and sticky foods and preserved or processed foods.
  3. Panchkarma: Panchkarma helps restore balance in the body and boosts metabolism. It also detoxifies and rejuvenates the body. Panchkarma should always be practised under supervision. Of all the Panchkarma therapies, basti or enemas and virechana or purgation are said to be very effective in treating heart diseases. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a cardiologist.
3659 people found this helpful

Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Coronary Artery Disease

Dr. Col V C Goyal 92% (10203 ratings)
CCEBDM, PG Diploma In Clinical Cardiology, MBBS
General Physician, Ghaziabad
Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is one of the major killer diseases of the modern society. It is not a solitary problem but brings with it a multitude of issues including obesity, diabetes, stroke, and other metabolic disorders. A thorough understanding of what causes it and how to manage it can help save thousands of lives.

Causes: The circulatory system is mainly made up of the heart and a complex network of arteries and veins. The inner walls of these are lined with smooth muscles, allowing for free flow of blood. Gradually, over a period of time, given the density, the fat from the blood flowing through these vessels settles along the walls of these vessels. This attracts more fat, lipoproteins, and other inflammatory cells and so the process continues. This reduces the diameter of the blood vessels, therefore reducing the amount of blood supply to the target organs. If the target organ is a vital one like the brain or the heart, then it could lead to stroke or heart attacks.

Main causes for coronary artery disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and stress. Men are more prone than women, and family history and age puts them at higher risk.

Symptoms: Reduced blood supply to the target organ causes the following symptoms:

  1. Shortness of Breath: A person with coronary artery disease will feel short of breath and tired with most activities, even like walking a few meters.

  2. Chest Pain: A strong pressure sensation on the left side of the chest is an indication of coronary artery disease. Known as angina, it comes with stress and goes away once the stress is removed. It could sometimes radiate to the shoulder, down the arm, or up into the jaw also. These are classical symptoms of angina or heart attack and is considered an emergency. Of note, this is often mistaken for indigestion.

  3. Palpitations: A sensation where you are able to hear your heartbeat.

  4. Nausea and Excessive Sweating: Nausea and excessive sweating are also seen during angina.

Treatment: There are 3 modes to manage this.

  • Medications:

  • Surgical Procedures:  Surgical procedures including balloon angioplasty followed by placement of drug-eluting stents and coronary artery bypass surgery are done to manage more severe cases.

  • Lifestyle Change: Lifestyle changes including reduced fat consumption, decrease body weight, stop smoking, increased physical exercise, and reducing stress are highly important in preventing further damage.

Once suspected, coronary artery disease can be effectively managed and the extent of damage controlled using the above techniques. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a cardiologist.

2012 people found this helpful

Heart Attack in Women - Things You Must Know!

Dr. Viveka Kumar 91% (112 ratings)
DM - Cardiology -, MD - General Medicine - , MBBS, FSCAI, MHRS, FACC, FESC , Fellowship in Interventional Cardiology & EP, Interventional Cardiology & EP and Devices, Senior Specialist( Interventional Cardiology), Fellow of southeast Asian Interventional Cardiology Society, International Award of Excellence in Cardiology
Cardiologist, Delhi
Heart Attack in Women - Things You Must Know!

Women, who have been thinking that cardiac diseases are something that doesn’t need much attention, then you have tragically mistaken. As a matter of fact, these are the diseases which most women aren’t too aware of. However, it is affecting a lot of women all over the world. The most common issue in cardiology, particularly among women is a heart attack. The first thing that we should know is that Cardiovascular diseases like  heart attack are killing as many women as men.

Almost more than 25,000 women are dying all over India every year from a heart attack or other coronary heart diseases. The ratio results show that women are suffering from heart attack three times more than that of breast cancer. The main reason that creates this higher toll is that the disease may be different in women. However, in the case of men, it stays more localised. In the case of women, the disease is diffused and spread out, but it can be treated. 

You cannot seek immunity only through pills:
We should be aware of the fact that pills will help you to curb the chance of having a heart attack, but again doctors claim that the risk does hike quite significantly after the menopause in women. The pills in such case can create various side effects and eventually trigger more cardiac diseases. The formation of clots in blood are created by different kinds of hormonal contraception, which is the main reason for a potential heart attack in women.

Heart attack symptoms in women:
We all know that the classic heart attack symptoms include severe pressure on the chest and extreme chest pain. However, these symptoms can be quite subtle in case of women. So, here we are listing down 4 of the most common symptoms of heart attack for women and those are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Throat pain and jaw pain
  4. Pain in arms may be in one or both

If you experience any one of these symptoms even, make sure that you go for a check immediately. Take quicker action as each minute that goes on during a heart attack is creating the death of a heart muscle.

Smoking doubles the risk of a heart attack in women
According to experts in cardiology, the most important fact that triggers a heart attack in women is smoking, which increases the blood pressure and causes the blood to pile up in your blood vessels, reducing the good HDL cholesterol which clots the blood and eventually results in a heart attack.

You must be wondering about the favourable chances of having a heart attack for women. The fifth and final thing to know about a heart attack is that women who are weighing thirty pounds or more have more chances of heart attack. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a cardiologist.

2733 people found this helpful

Shortness in Breath - Can Your Heart Be In Danger?

Dr. Saurabh Juneja 88% (242 ratings)
MBBS, Master of Surgery - General Surgery, Magistrar Chirurgiae (Cardio-Thoracic Surgery)
Cardiologist, Faridabad
Shortness in Breath - Can Your Heart Be In Danger?

There are different types of heart problems like coronary artery disease, congenital heart failure and cardiomyopathy, but their warning signs are the same i.e. shortness of breath. This is the reason why shortness of breath should never be taken lightly and should always be investigated for heart diseases.

Why does shortness of breath happen?
You may not be able to get in enough air while experiencing shortness of breath. Known medically as dyspnea, shortness of breath is often described as an intense tightening in the chest and a feeling of suffocation. This is one of the most frightening conditions experienced by a patient. You can experience dyspnea without any serious medical problems in these conditions

  1. After strenuous exercise
  2. In extreme temperatures
  3. Due to obesity and
  4. In high altitudes

But if you are not in any of these conditions, then shortness of breath is a sign of a serious medical problem usually involving your heart or lungs. These two vital organs transport oxygen to the rest of your body and remove carbon dioxide; hence problems with either of these organs can affect your breathing. Shortness of breath that comes on suddenly called acute, can be due to other causes too like:

  1. Asthma
  2. Excess fluid around the heart
  3. Low BP
  4. Heart failure
  5. Blood clot in an artery in the lung
  6. Collapsed lung
  7. Pneumonia

If you have had shortness of breath that has lasted for weeks, then we call it chronic and its causes can be various diseases of the heart apart from asthma and COPD. There is no doubt that your heart may be in trouble, if you have chronic shortness of breath. You may be suffering from these heart conditions:

  1. Cardiomyopathy or problems with the heart muscle cause symptoms like shortness of breath after physical exertion as well as fatigue, and swelling of legs and abdomen. Patients suffering from cardiomyopathy are at risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest.
  2. Heart arrhythmias is also called irregular heartbeat, and can cause slow or fast heartbeats. These also have symptoms like shortness of breath. Arrhythmias can cause strokes, heart failure and cardiac arrest.
  3. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently to meet the needs of the body. This is a potentially fatal condition. One of the most common symptom is shortness of breath with exercise and while lying down. Fatigue is another common symptom.
  4. Pericarditis or swelling of membranes around the heart is also characterised by shortness of breath.

Treatment of breathlessness can start after you are referred to a heart specialist for further tests to confirm the likely cause.

2864 people found this helpful

Weakening of Blood Vessels - Understanding the Types!

Dr. Himanshu Verma 87% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, Fellowship in Vascular Surgery, Ted Rogers Fellowship
Vascular Surgeon, Delhi
Weakening of Blood Vessels - Understanding the Types!

What is Aortic aneurysm?
The heart is the most important muscle in your body, and its primary job is to pump the blood across. The aorta is the largest blood vessel of the human body and is used by the heart to push the blood along. The Aorta is also one of the strongest vessels, but in some cases, due to the wear and tear condition the walls can weaken and bulge in what is called an aortic aneurysm. This can cause a rupture of the vessels as a result of which, blood gets leaked into the body.

Types of Aortic aneurysm:
There are two known types of aortic aneurysms. One of which is located in the chest and is known as the thoracic aortic aneurysm, and the one which forms in the abdomen is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Thoracic aortic aneurysm
There are many causes of the Thoracic aortic aneurysm. Genes play a significant role in increasing the chances. The other factors can include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, infections and blockages in the arteries. Sometimes a traumatic injury due to an accident can also lead to the condition. The biggest disadvantage of the disease is that the symptoms do not occur in the early stages and only in their chronic stages they appear. Some of the symptoms include chest or back pain, difficulty in breathing, shortness of a breath and persistent cough. Diagnosis can be made by an X-ray, CT scan, and ultrasound. Medications can help to an extent in relieving the pain and symptoms but however, in some extreme cases surgery is required. During the surgery, a synthetic tube replaces the damaged artery- as a result of which the blood gets channelled without any hindrances.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm
In the case of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, the aorta that passes through your abdomen gets damaged. As in the event of the Thoracic aortic aneurysm, there are no visible symptoms initially. Symptoms if they appear can include a deep back pain and persistent pain the side of the abdomen. Dizziness and weightlessness can also be other factors. Once again as in the case of the Thoracic aortic aneurysm, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be the risk factors. The problem also gets aggravated when the person is a frequent smoker and drinker. The diagnosis can happen through an X-ray, CT scan or an ultrasound. Once diagnosed, medications can heal the symptoms to an extent. Routine checkups are usually done to check the condition. In the cases where the bulge is bigger, surgeries are done to relieve the damaged part.

As with many cases, a good lifestyle change and healthy habits can keep many of the conditions in check. The same goes for an aortic aneurysm too. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.

2838 people found this helpful
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