Dealing With Arrhythmia

December 8, 2014Comments Off on Dealing With Arrhythmia

Not many people may be aware of it but most cases of arrhythmia are actually harmless and could, in fact, be left on its own. This is is what is commonly known as ectopic beats. An ectopic beat, also known as ectopic rhythm, is actually caused by a premature contraction in the atria. Most people describe it as a fluttering sensation; although, what they are describing is already the beat following the ectopic one. Unfortunately, there are still a handful that are considered by most cardiologists as clinically significant. In cases like these, the doctor would put a treatment plan into plan into place.

Aim of the Treatment Plan

Typically, the treatment plan for arrhythmia depends on the type and its cause as well as the severity of the condition. However, it usually also features such goals as:

  • control of the heart rate in order to prevent the occurrence of heart attack
  • prevent blood clot formation
  • reduce the risk factors involved
  • provide a permanent treatment to the root cause of the arrhythmia.

The Treatment Plan

1. Medication

Generally, doctors would prescribe blood thinners for people suffering from arrhythmia in order to ensure that blood clots do not form. Other medications that might be prescribed would include anti-arrhythmic drugs that control just how fast or slow the rate of your heart beat is, calcium channel blockers to make sure that your blood pressure does not shoot up, and beta blockers in order to control your adrenalin level.

2. RF Ablation

In this treatment, RF energy is applied to a specific point in the heart muscle where the cells that trigger the extra beat are located. Upon application of the RF energy, the cells die and the heart is able to keep to a normal beating pattern.

3. Defibrillation

This might seem similar to the RF Ablation although, in a defibrillation, electric shock instead of RF energy is applied to the heart. Just like with an RF Ablation, defibrillation aims to restore normal contraction rhythm to the heart. However, defibrillation is typically used in situations where the patient could be suffering from a heart attack brought about by his or her arrhythmia.

4. Use of Medical Devices

There are generally two devices that most doctors use when treating arrhythmia – ICD, or what is known as the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator’ and Pacemakers. The ICD is typically used in patients that have ventricular tachycardia. It is a battery-powered device that has small wires connected to the heart. Each time the heart skips a beat, an electric impulse is applied in order to restore normal beating pattern. On the other hand, an artificial pacemaker is typically used in patients that have heart beats that fluctuate form time to time.

Of course, aside from the treatment plan, you would also need to adjust your lifestyle. Some of the changes that you would need to make would include having an AED unit on hand. This would make it easy for those around you to stabilize you should the inevitable happen. You would also need to make sure that you avoid certain food types such as those that have caffeine. You might also need to check with your doctor first before you use cough and cold medication.

Going the Circulatory Path

December 5, 2014Comments Off on Going the Circulatory Path

One of the ways by which you can appreciate your heart is by studying the circulatory system. Now, when one mentions the circulatory system, he or she would be referring to the system by which blood is distributed to the different areas of the body. This blood is important as it carries with it oxygen that is needed by the cells.

Important Parts of the Circulatory System

Although the heart is considered to be the center of the circulatory system it is just one of the parts that make the blood circulate. The heart, whose job it is to pump and get the blood moving, makes use of the blood vessels in order to do its responsibility. These blood vessels come in the form of arteries, veins and capillaries. Though they all carry blood, veins carries deoxygenated blood alone. It is the arteries that are able to carry blood with oxygen. From the arteries, the oxygen-rich blood travels through capillaries where they are absorbed by the major organs. Capillaries are considered to be the smallest blood vessel.

How does the blood circulate?

Technically, the circulatory system can be divided into two parts – the Pulmonary system and the Systemic System. In the former, blood travels from the heart to the lungs, and then back to the heart again, thus; its name. In the case of the latter, however, the blood travels from the heart to the body and then back to the heart.

Blood coming from body enters the heart through the inferior and the superior vena cave. It then passes through  the right atrium. From there, the blood is pumped to  the right ventricle, cusing it to pass through the tricuspid valve. This valve is important in making sure that the blood does not flow back to the atrium. You see, as soon as the ventricle is full, the tricuspid valve shuts.

From the right ventricle, the blood is pumped through the pulmonic valve, ending up in the pulmonic artery. It then goes to the lungs where it gets the oxygen that it would be giving to the other major organs. From the lungs, the blood goes through the pulmonary vein into the left atrium of the heart. From there, it is pumped into the left ventricle. As with the de-oxygenated blood, a valve known as the mitral valve keeps the blood from flowing back. The blood is then pumped through the aortic valve into the aorta. From there, the blood travels through the arteries and then to capillaries and into the major organs. Keep in mind that capillaries are thin and the oxygen can be absorbed through its walls.

At any point in this circulation, the body could experience problems, most notable of which is the build up of fatty acids along the walls of the blood vessels. Because they are important in transporting blood to and from the heart and the lungs, having a narrowed blood vessel would mean that the heart would have to pump twice as hard in order to get the blood moving and to relieve undue pressure. When the heart is unable to take the pressure, heart attack occurs.

When it comes to heart attack, your best defense would be your readiness. That means, have an AED unit at hand or undergo CPR trainings so that you would know what to do.

Busting The Myths About Arrhythmia

December 3, 2014Comments Off on Busting The Myths About Arrhythmia

While arrhythmia is considered to be one of the most common of the different heart conditions, there are still only a handful of people who understand it. For one, there are actually a number of reasons that could give rise to arrhythmia. This would include:

  1. Coronary artery disease
  2. Injury brought about by a heart attack
  3. Electrolyte imbalance in the blood
  4. After effects of a heart surgery

To date, there are still a number of myths that surround arrhythmia. Here are some of them:

Myth #1. Only people with weak heart can have arrhythmia

In fact, even those who have known to have a strong heart can suffer from arrhythmia. This is because, as mentioned above, arrhythmia can come in a number of different ways. For one, arrhythmia can also take place as a result of excessive thyroid hormone as well as the intake of certain medicines.

Myth #2. It is possible to shock the heart back to its normal beating pattern permanently.

While it is possible to apply electric shock in order to help the heart regain the correct beating proper, it is not something that could last forever. The only way to ensure that the heart does not skip a beat is to address what is causing the problem in the first place. In some cases, this could be achieved with the help of a number of medication.

Myth #3. It is easy to determine if you are having an atrial fibrillation.

In an atrial fibrillation, it is the upper chamber, which happens to be smaller and does not do much of the work, that is having a hard time pumping. That being the case, in an atrial fibrillation, the patient himself might not even be aware that one of the chambers of his heart is already quivering. Because the loss in efficiency is too small, an atrial fibrillation could pass without having much impact on the patient.

Myth #4. Heart Attack if of primary concern when you have Atrial Fibrillation or Arrhythmia.

While you are more likely to have a heart attack if you have atrial fibrillation or arrhythmia, it is actually not the most serious medical condition that you might have to worry about. That “award” goes to embolic stroke. An embolic stroke takes place when a blood clot forms around the heart. As it pumps blood, this clot goes around eventually finding its way to the brain where it could give rise to a stroke. Fortunately, an embolic stroke does not happen to often.

Myth#5. Arrhythmia can be cured.

It actually depends on what the cause of the arrhythmia is, in the first place. For example, in the case of thyroid problems, as soon as the said medical condition has been cured, arrhythmia could already be considered cured. However, in the case of coronary heart disease, the best that a medical professional could do is provide you with medications and a treatment program that would allow you to lead a more normal life.

To make sure that you are ready for whatever arrhythmia might lead to, it would be best to have an AED unit on hand. Aside from this, undergoing a CPR training might also prove to be a good idea.

How Diabetes Affects Your Heart

December 1, 2014Comments Off on How Diabetes Affects Your Heart

For quite some time now, medical professionals have struggled to find a cure for diabetes. Unfortunately, while it can be prevented, there is still no procedure or medication that would totally cure it. It does not help that diabetes could give rise to a number of medical condition including heart problems. That being the case, it becomes even more important to make sure that you understand what diabetes is all about and take steps to prevent it.

What is Diabetes?

The Diabetes often referred to by doctors is what is technically known as Diabetes Mellitus. This type of diabetes is best described as having a high sugar level. This above-normal level of blood sugar is typically a result of the body not having enough insulin or the body not reacting properly to insulin. It is considered to be a long-term condition with currently no specific treatment plan. At most, a diabetic can only be provided with a way to deal with his or her symptoms.

Three Types of Diabetes

1. Type I Diabetes

In a Type I Diabetes,the body does not produce insulin that would keep the blood sugar level in check. Some of the more common forms of Type I Diabetes would include insulin-dependent Diabetes, Juvenile Diabetes, and Early-Onset Diabetes. While most people readily relate the term “Diabetes” to Type I Diabetes because of the absence of insulin, it is actually not as common as the Type II variant, with only about 10% of the total Diabetes cases.

2. Type II Diabetes

As opposed to Type I Diabetes, in a Type II Diabetes, the body is unable to produce enough insulin, or is unable to react properly to insulin. Around 90% of diabetes cases is of this type. Fortunately, while this type maybe prevalent, it can also be prevented.

Type II Diabetes and Your Heart

Complications from diabetes typically develop over a period of time. What makes Diabetes strongly related to risk for heart diseases is that most diabetic people have higher levels of LDL and not enough HDL cholesterol. Nonetheless, the complications brought about by Diabetes can be grave:

  • Neuropathy,which comes as a result of the build up of excess sugar that weakens the walls of the arteries, can cause you to lose sensation to your lower extremities. Signs and symptoms start with tingling sensation in your fingers and toes.
  • Nephropathyis an irreversible damage that can be sustained by the kidney due to the excess sugar in the blood vessels.
  • Diabetic retinopathy, on the other hand, takes place when the blood vessels in eyes sustain damage due to the high level of blood sugar.

Since most diabetics are also at risk for certain heart conditions, particularly heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest, it would be best if you have an AED unit nearby. This can prove to be useful should someone near you suffer from a heart attack. What’s more, with an AED on hand, you need not worry about not knowing how to administer CPR as the unit would be able to provide you with visual and audio cues.

Walking For Your Heart

November 21, 2014Comments Off on Walking For Your Heart

Heart disease is considered to be one of the most prevalent medical condition in every part of the world. This is the reason why the call for a healthy lifestyle is rarely found only in one country. In the US alone, about one person suffers from heart attack every 18 minutes. Now, when one talks about healthy lifestyle, the first thing that comes to mind would be rigorous exercise routine and bland food. This, however, is not always the case. In fact, you can trim a few numbers from your weight with just a simple activity.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle can be quite challenging for most people, especially if you are not used to keeping to a certain diet or getting physically active. Fortunately, with medical professionals getting to understand more and more how the human body works, this might no longer be the case. If you want to keep your heart healthy and lessen the risk for a cardiac arrest, all you have to do is walk.

Recent studies have shown that walking is one of the easiest ways by which you can reduce your risk for a coronary heart disease. In 2014, it has been found out that brisk walking for 5 minutes each hour could actually reverse the arterial damage caused by sitting down for extended periods of time. By walking at least 30 minutes each day, you are actually able to:

  • Improve your blood pressure as well as your blood sugar level
  • Keep your body weight within prescribed range
  • Lessen the risk for a variety of medical conditions including breast and colon cancer, osteoporosis, and type II diabetes
  • Lessen the likelihood of developing dementia
  • Keeps your legs, bum, and tummy toned
  • Improve your Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Trim down your waist line

Studies have also shown that, when it comes to taking a walk, every hour that you do brisk walking, you are actually prolonging your life by around two hours.

Why Not Run?

Although running also has its own advantages, studies have shown that moderately brisk walking can have the same effect as running without the risk of over stressing your muscles. What’s more, it does not have to be much of a burden as walking can be done:

  • on your way to the office
  • while walking your dog
  • going to the park with your family
  • while running errands

Of course, as with all physical activities, you need to match your walking habit with the right diet. Right diet does not have to be bland but it has to be a right mix of vegetables, fruits, meat, and carbohydrates. While you’re at it, you would also need to make sure that you hydrate regularly.

If you would like to be on the safe side, especially if you are one of those considered to have a high risk for heart attack, it would also be good to make sure that you and your family have an AED unit on hand. If you want to take it a step farther, you might even want to consider enrolling in a CPR training program.

When A Heart Is About to be Attacked

November 19, 2014Comments Off on When A Heart Is About to be Attacked

For the most part, most people would tell you that a heart attack could happen without you even knowing it. It does not help that media propagates the idea that you can simply fall down unconscious while clutching your chest. There have been cases, however, where a person was able to determine beforehand that a heart attack is about to happen. In those cases, some of the most common symptoms include the following:

1. Chest discomfort

This is considered to be the most common sign that you are about to have a heart attack. You would generally feel the discomfort radiating from the center of your chest. Some people would experience it for a few seconds while some would have to deal with discomfort that comes and goes. Generally, the discomfort would radiate to your upper extremities.

2. Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath in a person about to have a heart attack can happen with or without chest discomfort. You would generally feel too tired even if you have just been sitting.

3. Back or jaw pain

This particular symptom tends to occur more in women than in men. For some, the pain comes after the radiating discomfort. Depending on the gravity of the pain, some women might find themselves feeling nauseous

What should I do?

If you think you are about to have a heart attack, you would need to take the following steps:

1. Call 911.

You might think you still have a few minutes left to drive yourself to the hospital but this might not work in your favor no matter how near the hospital is.

2. Use an AED.

This would, of course, mean that you should have an AED unit on hand. If you are the one at risk for cardiac arrest, it would be best if you would train those around you on how to properly use the AED. Keep in mind that the AED should be stored in an accessible place. In a heart attack situation, time could either be your ally or your enemy.

3. Administer CPR.

If you are the victim, make sure that those around you would know how to administer, at the very least, chest compressions. The chest compression should be done for at least 100 per minute until the paramedics arrive. Now, if those around you have undergone a CPR training, they should be able to apply the whole C-A-B cycle.

4. Do not attempt cough CPR.

While many believe that coughing repeatedly and vigorously can help keep heart attack from happening, most medical professionals would tell you that this is not the case. In fact, it could even add more pressure to your heart.

Most cardiologists and medical professionals would tell you that, when it come to preventing a heart attack, your best move would be to have yourself checked early on especially if you are at a high risk. Familiarize yourself with the different risk factors for cardiac arrest so that you would know if there’s already a need for you to visit the doctor.

To make sure that you survive a heart attack, always keep an AED unit nearby. It also pays to know how to properly administer a CPR.

Smoking and Your Heart

November 17, 2014Comments Off on Smoking and Your Heart

Time and again, medical professionals have warned against the health hazards brought about by smoking. While there are some who heed this warning, there are those who are not yet aware of how smoking can not only damage your lungs but also increase your risk for cardiac diseases. In fact, in the US alone, smoking has been one of the causes for more than 400,000 deaths.

What does smoking do to your heart?

Smoking has been shown to cause the narrowing of the blood vessels. This takes place when you inhale the carbon monoxide released by your cigarette. This carbon monoxide causes the red blood cells to take in lesser amount of oxygen. Apart from this, the carbon monoxide also promotes build up of cholesterol along the lining of the blood vessels which, in turn, leads to your heart having to work twice as much.

Nicotine, a major ingredient in any cigarette, on the other hand, is known for increasing blood pressure as well as narrowing of the blood vessels. What makes nicotine even more toxic is the fact that it can stay in your blood stream for around 6 to 8 hours (and even more!) depending on how much you smoke each day.

Not many people may know it but another ingredient that can be found in the cigarette is Arsenic. Primarily used in order to preserve wood, arsenic in the human body can cause not only cancer but a number of heart diseases, including ischemic heart disease.

Cadmium can also be found in cigarettes. Commercially, cadmium are used in batteries. When taken in, it can hamper the repair of DNA. Aide from this, studies have shown that cadmium can also damage the lining of the arteries leading to what is known as aneurysm. According to statistics, around 30,000 people in the US alone suffer from ruptured aneurysm, so much so that about one aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes.

As a whole, smoking has also been shown to deplete the amount of good cholesterol in the body. At the same time, it raises your blood pressure, albeit temporarily, and causes your blood to clot. Now, you might say that blood clotting is important in wound management. However, this is not the case when there’s no would in the first place. A blood clot along your blood vessels can cause aneurysm which, in turn, can lead to cardiac arrest.

How do I stop smoking?

There is no one-size-fits-all manner when it comes to stopping your addiction with cigarettes. While the cold turkey solution might work for some, it might not be the best idea for you especially if you have been a long-time smoker. Keep in mind that, in some, quitting smoking can cause a number of withdrawal symptoms. If you think cold turkey is not the way for you, you might want to consider using nicotine patch, vaping, or slowly decreasing the number of sticks you consume each day. All of these allow your body to get used to lesser and lesser amount of nicotine.

Since smoking increases the likelihood of heart diseases, it would be a good idea to make sure that you have an AED unit on hand just in case you, or someone you know, suffers from cardiac arrest.

Preventing Heart Diseases in Women

November 13, 2014Comments Off on Preventing Heart Diseases in Women

Time and again, it has been said that heart diseases and conditions such as Sudden Cardiac Arrest is one of the top reasons for mortality here in the US. What makes it even more deadly is the fact that very few people, even more so women, really take the time to determine whether they are at a risk. If you are one of those who would like to know more about the risk factors that come with certain heart conditions in women, you might need to keep in mind the following:

1. Age

If you are a female of at least 55 years of age, you are at a higher risk for heart attack as well as other heart conditions. This is because, at this age, there could already be a solid build up of fatty deposits on your blood vessels that is keeping the oxygen-rich blood from circulating smoothly.

2. Smoking

Whether you like tobacco or cigarette, smoking, as well as long-term exposure to it,increases the chances of you suffering from heart attack. Aside from being a threat to your blood cells, the chemicals you release when smoking can also weaken your blood vessels.

3. High level of LDL

LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is also known as the “bad cholesterol”. A number of studies have proven that a high level of LDL can cause your blood vessels to narrow. The same is true for high levels of triglycerides.

4. Personal disposition

Although many equate a woman’s ease in expressing emotions as catharsis, thereby removing stress from the heart, mental stress and depression, whether expressed or not, is still one of the factors that increase a woman’s risk for heart diseases. More than anything else, having a gloomy or negative disposition gives rise to an unhealthy lifestyle. For example, if you are depressed, there is a higher chance that you would increase your alcohol intake as well as eat food that are rich in calories. You would also most likely avoid physical activities.

5. Estrogen Level

Women who have lower levels of estrogen tend to have higher risks for certain heart conditions. This could also be one of the reasons why female of 50 years or more of age, considered to be the menopausal age, tend to be more susceptible to cardiac arrest.

The Solution

Now, when it comes to dealing with the risks for heart diseases, gender does not play much of a role. After all, both sexes need to keep in mind the following:

1. If you have not started smoking yet, don’t. If, on the other hand, you are already a smoker, it would be to your advantage if you would keep it to a minimum. Smoking a pack a day might not be the best for your heart.

2. Keep away from a sedentary life. That means, you would need to make sure that you exercise at least 30 minutes a day, or around 60 minutes if you are trying to lose weight. Of course, you need to consider what the ideal weight is for your height, and make sure that you keep to those figures.

3. Eat a balanced diet. This means having vegetables, fruits, and some protein and carbohydrates on your plate.

To be sure that you know what to do should someone around you suffer from cardiac arrest, make sure that you undergo a CPR training program. It would also help if you have an AED unit nearby.

Watch Your Food, Watch Your Heart

November 11, 2014Comments Off on Watch Your Food, Watch Your Heart

Although most people equate taking care of the heart with proper exercise and limiting the kind of food you eat, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy a nice plate of your favorite food every now and then. In fact, a number of studies have shown promising results when it comes to some of your favorite food:

1. Coffee

While most people associate drinking coffee with higher sugar level, this is not actually the case. A number of studies have shown that drinking coffee especially in women, regardless whether it is decaf or regular coffee, has been shown to significantly decrease risk for heart problem. This was primarily because coffee slows down digestion which allows for healthier blood sugar level. It has also been known to increase good cholesterol.

2. Dark Chocolate

If you have a sweet tooth, eating dark chocolate is the best way to go if you also want to take care of your heart. A German study has shown that eating dark chocolate results to healthier blood vessels. This is as a result of the chemical Flavanoids that is inherent to the cocoa used in making chocolates.

3. Popcorn

It’s not just popcorn, actually. According to studies, eating whole grained cereal and foods can be likened to eating a healthy serving of fruits and vegetables. This is because both contain polyphenols which has been known to be an antioxidant. Polyphenol can also be found in red wine.

4. Oatmeal

Whether you eat it with nothing on or fill it with your favorite fruit, a bowl of oatmeal is one of the best ways to start your day, and to make sure that you have a healthy heart. This is because, oatmeal tends to have omega-3 fatty acids which has been proven, along with folate and potassium, to prevent plaque buildup along the walls of your blood vessels as well as ensure that bad cholesterol is kept to a minimum.

5. Salmon and Other Fishes

If you think oatmeal is the only great source of Omega-3, think again. Salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. That being the case, at least two servings a week can already lessen your chances of suffering from a heart attack by about a third. Aside from this, Salmon is also known to be a good source of carotenoid astaxanthin, a very powerful antioxidant. Of course, you need to make sure that you go for wild salmon as they have lesser probability of containing chemicals. Other fish types that you might want to consider woould include Mackerel, Sardines, Herring, and Tuna.

6. Nuts and Berries

Yes, nuts are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also great for aiding in digestion as they contain fiber. Berries, on the other hand, are great for anti-inflammation which results to lower risk for heart diseases. As a plus, berries are also known for lowering the chances of developing cancer. Almonds, blueberries, and blackberries are just some of the more popular choices among health freaks.

Now, although most of these food types are great to have, the kind of lifestyle that you have can still have an impact on your health. That being the case, if you or someone in your family is at high risk for heart attack, make sure that you have an AED unit ready.

 

The Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Heart

November 7, 2014Comments Off on The Ten Things You Need to Know About Your Heart

According to medical studies, heart diseases remain to be one of the top reasons for death in the US. Some of the most common form of heart diseases among adults include build up of plaque along the arterial walls, irregular heart beat, and congenital heart diseases. No matter what your heart’s condition is, however, you need to keep in mind the following:

1. Heart diseases in women is more prevalent than heart diseases in men.

Although most people think that men tend to suffer from since they bottle up their feelings more often then women, this is not the case. In fact, there seems to be more recorded cases of women suffering from a number of different heart conditions compared to men. Furthermore, there is a significantly higher number of women who die from heart attacks compared to men.

2. Your overall health has an impact on your risk for heart problems.

While some individuals might have been born with certain heart conditions, not taking care of your body can also lead to heart problems. For example, smoking on a regular basis can cause plaque to start building up along the walls of your blood vessels. This, in turn, could cause less oxygen-rich blood to reach various vital organs on your body. Similar to this, living a sedentary life could increase the chances of your blood vessels getting blocked by plaque. By engaging in physical activities, you are actually helping your blood to circulate more effectively. Studies have also shown that certain physical activities can help ensure that your joints are well-lubricated.

3. Your hormones play a role in your heart disease risk.

Not many people are aware of it but the presence of estrogen in the body provides the hart some sort of protection up until the woman experiences menopause. In the same line, women who regularly take birth control pills tend to have a higher chance of developing certain heart conditions.

4. Your family history can affect you.

If you have had a long history of heart problems in your family, then you also have a high chance of developing or suffering from a heart problem. That means, you need to make sure that you take extra care of your body if you have someone in your family who has already suffered from a heart attack or any other heart condition, including hypertension.

5. There is a correlation between your waistline and your heart

A waistline of more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men has been shown to be a good indicator of higher risk for a heart attack. Keep in mind that your waistline measurement is closely related to your Body Mass Index (BMI). If you find yourself at risk, you need to make sure that you watch what you eat. In most cases, eating food that are rich in carbohydrate can cause your waistline to increase in size. It can also cause an increase in your blood sugar level which, in turn, can increase the risk for a heart problem.

To make sure that you are safe even in the event of a heart attack, have the people around you undergo CPR training. It would also be to your advantage if you can have an AED unit on standby.