Heart Care

There are numerous distinct disorders that relate to heart. These include arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, and heart failure, arrhythmias, myocarditis, cardiomyopathy, heart murmurs, rheumatic heart disease, valvular disease, mitral valve prolapse and high blood pressure or hypertension.

Like any muscle, the heart needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients that are carried to it by the blood in the coronary arteries. When the coronary arteries become narrowed or clogged and cannot supply enough blood to the heart, the result is coronary heart disease. 
Coronary Heart Disease: The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease (CHD), also called coronary artery disease. It is the No. 1 killer in America, affecting more than 12 million Americans. Coronary heart disease develops when one or more of the coronary arteries that supply the blood to the heart become narrower than they used to be. This happens because of a buildup of cholesterol and other substances in the wall of the blood vessel, affecting the blood flow to the heart muscle.

Symptoms of CHD
The most common symptom is angina or “angina pectoris.” Angina can be described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing or painful feeling. Other sypmtoms are shortness of breath, faster heartbeat, sweating.

Angina Pectoris : Angina is chest pain caused by coronary heart disease, a partial blockage of the coronary arteries. It occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t get as much blood (hence as much oxygen) as it needs. This usually happens because one or more of the heart’s arteries is narrowed or blocked. Insufficient blood supply is called ischemia.

Some risk factors for developing angina are male sex, family history of angina, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and stress.

Heart Attack : A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when a coronary artery abruptly fails to deliver blood to a part of your heart. Coronary arteries are the blood vessels on the surface of your heart. They bring oxygen and nutrients to your heart muscle (myocardium). The reduction or stoppage happens when one or more of the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle is blocked. This is usually caused by the buildup of plaque (deposits of fat-like substances), a process called atherosclerosis.

Symptoms of Heart Attack : Symptoms of a heart attack include: Discomfort, pressure, heaviness, or pain in the chest, arm or below the breastbone, Rapid or irregular heartbeats, Difficulty breathing, Nausea, vomiting, Dizziness, weakness.

The best way to prevent coronary artery disease is to control high blood pressure, diabetes or a high cholesterol level and, if you smoke, to stop smoking. Maintaining a healthy diet, a healthy weight and a regular exercise program can help you avoid coronary artery disease.

Tips for a heart-healthy diet
Drink skim milk, and buy low-fat cheese, yogurt and margarine.
Eat less fat (especially butter, coconut and palm oil, saturated or hydrogenated vegetable fats such as Crisco, animal fats in meats, fats in dairy products).
Limit cholesterol consumption.
Eat a bare minimum of saturated fats and trans-fatty fats.
Reduce salt intake. This will help you control your blood pressure.
Water is vital to life. Staying hydrated makes you feel energetic and eat less. Drink 32 to 64 ounces (one to two liters) of water daily (unless you are fluid restricted).

Exercise Regularly: Exercise increases flexibility and improves circulation.
Reduce the Intake of Salt.
Eliminate the use of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco.
Maintain a Health Weight. Being overweight is associated with high blood pressure.
Keep your cholesterol level under control: Cutting your cholesterol by 25 percent lowers your stroke risk by 29 percent, according to an analysis of 16 studies by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.