Tag Archives: Heart

Most women do not realize that heart disease is the #1 killer of American women.~Monica Potter

Pericarditis after myocardial infarction (heart attack)

Pericarditis is inflammation that occur in the heart wall known as pericardium.

Normally pericarditis is treated with NSAIDS (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs like ibuprofen).

However in case of pericarditis developing after a myocardial infarction (heart attack) NSAIDS are not used for treatment as there may be risk of aneurysm formation and rupture of heart muscle, during the initial phase of recovery after a myocardial infarction.

Henceforth, opiate based drugs may be used to treat pericarditis developing after myocardial infarction.

Pericarditis that develop following a myocardial infarction generally tend to occur after 1 or 2 days after the latter. Patients with possible pericarditis might complain of chest pain that increases in certain body positions and/or on inspiration.

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When can you start regular physical activity after a heart attack?

Heart attack is one of the worst health nightmare you can imagine of. Not all heart attacks are same and severity of it varies from patient to patient. Most people after surviving a heart attack and following their discharge from hospital are haunted by the question when can they return to their daily normal active life.

Well as discussed above the time may vary depending upon the severity of the heart attack. Generally the oxygen deprived wall of heart takes about 4-6 weeks to  get healed by means of fibrosis. Therfore, one should take rest for this period in minimum following which he or she can gradually return to active life. Sexual life can also be resumed then.

Before wrapping up this discussion I must say that it’s wise to get guided by your doctor because of the above mentioned reason that not every heart attack is of the same type and severity. Different people have different health problems, henceforth such prescriptions are also different.

Take care of your little beating heart ♥ !

Heart failure

What is a heart failure?

Heart failure is a very common term to many of us, however most people probably don’t have a clear view about it.

Heart’s prime role is to pump blood so that blood can reach to various body parts like hands, legs ,brain, kidney, brain etc. It is something similar to water pumping stations pumping water to the houses in a community. If these pumping stations fail water supply the houses gets cut.

Similarly when heart fails to pump out the blood, various body parts starve for oxygen (because blood pumped out of the heart is loaded with oxygen).

Hope, now you understand what is a heart failure.

What are the types of heart failure?

Most of us those who aren’t familiar with medical terms and mechanisms may not know that there are about three types of heart failure – left, right and biventricular.

Before going to each of these types let’s try to have a rough idea of the chambers of heart.

Heart has four chambers – 2 atrium (left and right) and 2 ventricles (left and right).

What are these 3 types?

Left heart failure – We call so when the left ventricle of the heart fails to pump blood. In general this is referred as heart failure unless mentioned otherwise.

Right heart failure – As above when right ventricle fail to pump blood, we call it right heart failure.

Biventricular failure – As the name suggests when both right and left ventricle fails we call it a biventricular failure.

So, these were the types of heart failure. In upcoming posts we will discuss why heart fails and how is the problem dealt with.

What are the causes of heart failure?

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There are various causes of heart failure.

One of the prime cause is heart attack, in which the heart muscle may become weaker due decreased supply of oxygen to perform it’s pumping job effectively.

Next in the list is irregular heart rhythm. One important such condition is known as atrial fibrillation, in which the atrium beats too fast and at an irregular rhythm. Therefore the ventricles don’t get enough blood to effectively pump it out,  and leads to a heart failure.

Similarly in case of those suffering from thyrotoxicosis ie excess of thyroid hormone production can also have atrial fibrillation and hence a heart failure. Anemia too when very severe can cause heart failure.

Then are conditions called cardiomyopathies, in which the heart muscle might be overburdened by some disease process and fail to pump blood properly.

Long standing high blood pressure is also in the list. Those who have high blood pressure their heart has to pump an extra amount of blood. This makes the heart walls weaker and can drag the heart to a heart failure. In aortic stenosis too the heart muscle becomes exhausted and surrenders from its pumping action.

Another interesting condition in which heart failure occurs is when the heart’s filling is compromised like in case of pericardial tamponade and constrictive pericarditis.

Besides heart problems lung problems too can cause a heart failure which is also sometimes referred as cor pulmonale.  Chronic obstructive lung disease can lead to such heart failures.

What tests or investigations are required for diagnosing heart failure?

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Well diagnosis of heart failure obviously requires a medical professionals help, however trying to know how the things work is probably of no harm.

So here we start. When ever we talk about heart we generally think of an ecg probably. Although an ecg may not directly let you know if you have a heart failure or not, but it definitely would identify few of the causes of heart failure like an irregular heart rhythm or a heart attack, which are some of the prime causes of heart failure. Therefore, it’s worthy to do an ecg.

Next, is a chest xray. A xray can show a large cardiac shadow, which too may provide hints towards certain causes of heart failure like long standing hypertension or a dilated cardiomyopathy. In addition to this, chest xray is a good indicator of a chest problem called pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema is not uncommon in heart failure. Pulmonary edema is a condition in which excess water accumulates in lung tissue because of inability of heart to pump blood.

Another important test is echocardiography.  Such test shows the heart’s functioning and various measurement parameters. It particularly determines a parameter called ejection fraction. Ejection fraction is helpful to determine the amount of blood which is to be ejected in each pumping attempt of the heart.

Heart’s  pumping abilities can also be judged by certain nuclear scans too.

We will stop here, and discus the management of heart failure in some other post.

Take care!

Heart transplantation

Hello and welcome to today’s discussion. Today we will try exploring the topic heart transplantation.

Firstly, let us know what is heart transplantation. This is a process by which the part of a cadaveric (that is dead individual’s) heart is transplanted to a living person. Unlike liver or kidney transplantation there is no way to get the heart from the living donor, since we have one heart and we need it in whole to sustain life. This is one of the main reason why there are more number of waiting recipients than the number of donors. Unlike kidney transplantation, criminal racket for heart transplantation are not much popular I suppose.

Next, is who requires a heart transplant. Generally, individuals with severe heart failure (there are some medical grading of heart failures, we are not going in to that) along with other co-morbid features like extreme senility etc. require a heart transplant. Heart failure can occur due to various causes, cardiac and non cardiac causes. We will not explore various causes of heart failure here, and will do that latter in some other post. However, I would like to mention one important cause of heart failure which is called myocardial infarction (or heart attack) where a part of the heart wall receives decreased amount of blood supply, henceforth tends to get necrosed (something like rotten fruits but not exactly, I doubt). Continue reading Heart transplantation

Low blood glucose levels in diabetes affect the heart

Today’s talk about diabetes is really interesting. Are you ever worried of serious hypoglycemia (i.e. low blood sugar level) that occur in diabetes patients. Diabetes affected individuals are generally prone to severe hypoglycemia when they are on some glucose lowering medicine like insulin. Severe hypoglycaemia itself is a life threatening emergency but the consequences of such hypoglycaemia may be long term too. According to a new finding, if the glucose levels drop too much it may increase the risk of heart disease. Therefore, a correct dosing is required so that frequent episodes of hypoglycaemia don’t happen oftenly. Simultaneously, patients may also not change their medicine dosage without their doctors advice.

Testing the blood glucose level yourself Neder...
Testing the blood glucose level yourself Nederlands: Het zelf meten van de bloedglucosespiegel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. Please cross check information from other sources too. References- link

DNA, in search for coronary artery disease

Time is one of the prime factor that plays significant role in coronary artery disease (coronary arteries are found on the walls of heart surrounding it). An appropriate timely intervention can allow the treatment process start much earlier to avoid a potential heart attack. However, this don’t happen in real life much because we probably have no such test to identify the disease in advance.  Doctors too have a hard time narrowing their differentials of probable causes of someones chest pain to pinpoint it towards a coronary artery disease. As a part of their work they need to do a bunch of expensive tests.

Now the question is how this coronary arteries narrow and finally leads to a heart attack. A process called atherosclerosis stiffens and gradually decrease the diameter of these arteries. Such changes in the artery occur due to various fact and not limited to age, sex, smoking and fatty diet only.

Interestingly, researchers found that small DNA fragments are actually found in blood of people in whom such coronary artery narrowing occurs.  If this particles can be detected by laboratory tests it can diagnose the coronary artery disease much earlier and help promote introducing preventive steps to slow its progression. Furthermore, this will also allow an rapid diagnosis of chest pain, instead of waiting for test results of conventional set of tests. In addition to this it also may decrease need of certain expensive cardiac tests and may some day allow its use as a common test in a general practitioners office. If this new DNA fragments identifying methods are introduced in future this may change our cardiac preventive health care approach vastly. Earlier we pick the disease, better we prevent its progression.

Related Item: Freedom from biopsies

heart with coronary arteries
heart with coronary arteries

For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider.  Please cross check informations from other sources too. Reference: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/dna-particles-in-the-blood-may-help-speed-detection-of-coronary-artery-disease

Self perception of stress, affect heart

Stress

It’s probably not uncommon to find that our self perception about our own health is not properly valued by our health care providers. But now our perception about our own health will make sense and find importance. Sounds confusing? Well let me explain. We all understand that stress is bad for our health and mainly for our heart health. Till date your stress related health problems were mostly monitored by your doctor with not much importance about how you feel about your stress.

Interestingly according to a new finding, patient’s self perception about their work related stress matters and most individuals who feel that they are in stress get a heart problem later in life rather than people who thought they weren’t in stress. So now your thoughts about your stress of work may get honored and therefore should be conveyed to your employer to ease your life to any extent if possible. But commonly employers wisdom generation for your good health is least likely, therefore your active intervention may be more helpful. What you can do to protect yourself from health side-effects of stress –

  • Talk with your health care provider about your health concerns
  • Practice relaxation breathing like slow deep breathing throughout the day
  • You may try doing some motion exercises like cycling,walking, running etc.
  • Eat a healthy meal. Junk oily fried food better avoided.

Please cross check information from other sources too. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. References: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_138222.html