Anxiety · Heart attack · Heart Diseases · Stress

Can Prolonged stress cause heart disease?

‘Stress’ is a complex subject to define. I would like to define stress as ‘an environmental challenge to which an organism reacts’. In the subject of biology, we often talk about heat stress, cold stress and chemical stressors of various kinds. I think it is a mistake when we think of stress on a personal level and ignore the sheer biology involved in stress responses.

The complexity of the neuro-psycho-endo-and immunological responses to stress makes it very challenging to give a clear response to the above-stated question. It’s like asking ‘what does long-term sun exposure does to the skin?’ – The answers would fill many encyclopedic volumes and still be incomplete. However, there are several types of heart diseases that are proven to have connections to stress.

It is well demonstrated that a combination of an activated sympathetic nervous system and consequent hormonal cascades result in ‘stunning’ of the heart muscles. Stunning is a form of acute cardiac failure. The myocardium is not damaged per se but the compromise of cardiorespiratory function can still have fatal consequences. Hence, many researchers have projected this condition as proof that it is possible to ‘die from a broken heart’ in both a literal and figurative sense simultaneously.

 

Angioplasty · Heart attack · Heart Diseases · heart health · Stent · Uncategorized

Life After Angioplasty – Your Guide to Angioplasty and Cardiac Stenting

Coronary angioplasty was developed in 1977 as an alternative to the much more invasive coronary artery bypass surgery as a way to open blocked arteries of the heart. For many patients, angioplasty can be a very effective treatment option, while other patients may be better suited for bypass surgery.
The blockages in coronary arteries can cause symptoms such as chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath. Sometimes, these blockages can result in a heart attack that can be successfully treated on an emergency basis with angioplasty. Angioplasty followed by stenting can restore the blood flow to the culprit artery.

Angioplasty – A Closer Look

Let’s get a closer look at the angioplasty procedure. Angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, unlike coronary artery bypass surgery, your chest does not have to be opened. The angioplasty procedure is performed by a Heart specialist known as an interventional cardiologist. A small incision is made, usually in the groin or sometimes in the wrist, and a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is then inserted into an artery. The catheter is carefully guided through the artery and it eventually reaches the coronary vessels.

A special dye is then pumped through the catheter and the cardiologist uses an x-ray machine to see if there are blockages. Once the blockage or blockages are located, an extremely fine wire is positioned within the blockage. Then a catheter with a small, deflated balloon is threaded over the wire to the center of the blockage. The balloon is inflated and deflated several times and this compresses the blockage against the walls of the artery to restore the blood flow.

Angioplasty is not a cure for coronary artery blockage because a blockage can return even after angioplasty. One way to prevent the recurrence of the blockage is to insert a stent at the time of the angioplasty to keep the artery patent. A stent is an extremely small mesh tube made of metal. The first stents were made of just bare metal, but currently, many patients receive stents that have been coated with a medication that is released into the surrounding tissue to prevent scarring and re-blockage of the artery.

Angioplasty Risks

All the procedures, even the safest ones, carry risks. Possible complications of angioplasty are bleeding, a heart attack, a stroke or even an allergic reaction to the dye, but fortunately the complication rate is under one percent for all patients. Also, In rare cases, the procedure has to be stopped and the patient is referred for coronary artery bypass surgery.
After the angioplasty has been completed, typically the patient stays in the hospital for twelve to twenty-four hours. It’s quite likely to have some bruising and discoloration at the site of the catheter insertion. The area is also likely to be a bit sore, the patient may also notice a small lump or some drops of discharge from the site.

Most angioplasty patients report feeling more tired than usual for several days after the procedure, especially if they were in the middle of having a heart attack, in this case, the tiredness can last for up to six weeks. The patient should call his consultant cardiologist if he begins to have chest pain that feels like the pain he had before the procedure. If the chest pain is prolonged, lasting fifteen or twenty minutes call 911. The physician should also be notified if patients begin to have bloody or pus-filled discharge from the catheter insertion site.

After Angioplasty – The First Few Weeks

let’s discuss what you can do to keep you and your coronary arteries healthy from now on.
As discussed earlier, angioplasty with or without stenting, is not a cure for coronary artery disease. Follow up with your physician is a must. The patient should also follow an approved exercise program, cardiac diet, and medications prescribed by his physician.

You should always follow your doctor’s instructions after angioplasty. Keeping that in mind, here are some general guidelines:

  • The patient should take all the medications exactly as prescribed.
  • For the first five days after the procedure, you should only do light activities. Walking and even climbing stairs and taking care of routine things at home is usually ok. Once the five-day period is over, the doctor will likely release you to a moderate level of activity but don’t overdo it with activities that lead to tiredness, shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • The patient should not lift heavy objects or do strenuous exercise for four weeks after the procedure.The patient should also get his physician’s clearance before undertaking heavy manual labor.

After Angioplasty – Lifestyle Changes 

Lifestyle changes are important for most people to prevent recurrence of the disease. If you smoke, immediately enlist your physician’s help to stop.

Most hospitals that offer angioplasty have a cardiac rehabilitation program and you should strongly consider enrolling. Patients who successfully complete a cardiac rehab program are more likely to be living and doing well five years after their angioplasty than those who don’t complete a program.
A heart-healthy diet is a must and physician can refer the patient to a nutritionist for help. This is doubly important if the person has high cholesterol problems or diabetes. In general, a diet low in saturated fats with plenty of fruits and vegetables and good sources of lean protein is recommended. Heart-healthy fats (high in omega-3 fatty acids) include walnuts, wild caught salmon, sardines, and flaxseeds, as well as flaxseed oil, should also be included in your diet in moderate amounts.
With proper nutrition, exercise and close follow up with your physician, your chances of leading a healthy and vital life after angioplasty and stenting are excellent!

Heart attack · Heart Diseases · heart health · Stroke

Drinking One Beer a Day may Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Consuming a glass of beer a day may prevent future cardiovascular events, according to a new research.

Researchers said average liquor consumption slows down the body’s natural loss of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL cholesterol levels, commonly referred to as a good form of cholesterol, eliminates dangerous cholesterol from the body and decreases a person’s cardiovascular illness risk.

A research on over 80,000 Asian adults has revealed appealing results on this theory, but physicians have cautioned people that more research is needed before any concrete assumptions can be made.

So to be on the safer side, don’t start drinking a glass of beer every day just yet.

Pennsylvania State University scholars came up with the theory that men who consumed one to two alcohol-based drinks per day had a slow depletion in good cholesterol levels (HDL), in comparison to those who didn’t consume.

The Same rule applied to women  who consume a little quantity of alcohol daily, according to The Telegraph.

While the outcomes were pretty analogous regardless of whether the research’s individuals consumed beer or spirits,but scientists did observe that beer and not spirits had the biggest and more beneficial effect.

In reaction to the research’s results, Dr Nitin Shori, director at the Pharmacy2U online physician service, said: “While undetermined, this research seems to point out that there may be some health advantages in consuming little alcohol when it comes to lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases or stroke. But further research is required before any concrete results can be attracted.”

Alcohol is one of the biggest risks associated with the style of living  that leads to illness and loss of life, after obesity and smoking.The newest NHS guidance is that there is a safe level of liquor intake and neither women nor men should consume more than 14 units (1 unit=15 ml) of liquor weekly.

Dr Webberley Sally, the devoted GP for Oxford Online Drugstore, said: “There are so many inconsistent research results being released daily and with that, it is difficult to tell which health advice is misleading and which is not”

We do know that booze is bad for the liver to function properly and it aids to obesity, it can adversely affect sleep and psychological wellness, it has been connected to cancer along with lots of other illnesses such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.

Contrarily, other research results recommend that average booze can have some health advantages and there’s no question that a lot of people like to use such justifications to warrant their activities when reaching for a glass.

“The key is in the moderation message. Because too much consumption of liquor can certainly have a detrimental effect on the well-being of a person.”

Heart attack · Heart Diseases

How to Recover from a Heart Attack

Okay, so you have survived a heart attack. I am truly happy for you. However, for going forward you need to follow some guidelines that will help you to avoid the next episode. By following specific lifestyle and diet suggestions, you will reduce the chance of another heart attack by enhancing your overall health and well-being.

Recovering from a heart attack can take several months, and it’s very important not to rush your rehabilitation.During your recovery period, you’ll receive help and support from a range of healthcare professionals like Consultant Cardiologist, nurses, physical therapists, dietitians and exercise specialists. These healthcare professionals will support you physically and mentally to ensure that your recovery is conducted in a safe manner.

The most important parts of the recovery process are as follows:

Cardiac rehabilitation

Your cardiac rehabilitation program will begin while you’re still in the hospital.  A member of your cardiac rehabilitation team should visit you in the hospital and provide detailed information about your state of health and how the heart attack may have affected it; the type of treatment you received; what medications you’ll need ;when you leave the hospital; what specific risk factors  have contributed to your heart attack; and what lifestyle changes you can make to address those risk factors.

Exercise

Once you return home, it’s usually recommended that you rest and only do light activities, such as walking up and down the stairs a few times a day or taking a short walk. You can gradually increase the amount of activity you do each day over several weeks.

Your rehabilitation program should contain different exercises, depending on your age and ability.

Returning to work

Every person can return to work after a heart attack, but how quickly will depend on your health, the state of your heart and the kind of work you do. If your job involves light duties you may be able to return to work in as little as two weeks. However, if your job involves heavy manual work or your heart is extensively damaged, then it may take several months before you can resume your duties.

Driving

You may be able to drive after one week. However, you should be cleared by your doctor in case there are other conditions or complications that would disqualify you from driving.

Depression

Having a heart attack can be frightening and traumatic, and it’s common to have feelings of anxiety afterward. For many people, the emotional stress can cause them to feel depressed and tearful for the first few weeks after returning home. If feelings of depression persist, speak to your doctor, because you may have a more serious form of depression. It’s important to seek advice because serious types of depression often don’t get better without treatment.

Diet

It’s recommended that you eat two to four portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish contain a type of fatty acid known as omega-3, which can help to lower your cholesterol levels.

Good sources of omega-3 include :

Herring

Sardines

Mackerel

Salmon

Trout

Tuna

It’s also recommended that you eat a Mediterranean-style diet. This means eating more fruit, vegetables and fish,but less meat. Replace butter and cheese with products based on vegetable and plant oil, such as olive oil.

Smoking

If you smoke, it’s strongly recommended that you quit as soon as possible. If you were a smoker, your doctor may be able to offer suggestions on remaining smoke-free for the rest of your life. Your doctor can also recommend and prescribe medication to help you give up cigarettes.

Alcohol

It is wise to limit your overall alcohol intake to allow your body to get strong and recover well. Eventually, some alcohol in moderation is okay.

Weight management

If you’re overweight or obese, it’s recommended that you lose weight and then maintain a healthy weight by using a combination of exercise and diet.

Regular physical activity

Once you’ve made a sufficient physical recovery from the effects of a heart attack, it’s recommended that you engage in physical activity on a regular basis. The level of activity should be strenuous enough to leave you slightly breathless. Start at a level you feel comfortable with (for example, 5-10 minutes of light exercise a day) and gradually increase the duration and intensity as your fitness improves.

6 Tips for sticking to your Recovery Plan

Take it one step at a time

1—Your Action Plan may include some changes to your lifestyle, from diet to exercise to stress reduction. Don’t feel like that you must tackle it all at once. It’s difficult to change too many things at once. Conquer one thing, then move on to the next.

2—Always talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.

3—Be realistic. 

Set achievable goals. If you need to lose weight, don’t think about losing 50 pounds – focus on the first five. If you’re just starting a workout plan, it’s probably not realistic to think you’ll be running miles in weeks. The key is to find what works for you.

4—Plan-ahead.

A heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. You can – and should – go out to dinners, attend parties, and take vacations. Just do a little planning ahead. Technology has made it easier than ever. Food Tripping and Map My Walk are two apps that can help.

5—Build a support system.

Don’t feel like you must do it alone. Build a support system of friends, family, and co-workers – they can help you keep going.Of course one of the most important supporters is your Heart Specialist. Be sure to get regular checkups and ask questions. There are also online support groups as well as local support groups. Take advantage of them.

6—Make new (healthy) habits.

Ever wonder why it’s easier to stick to bad habits than good ones? Unhealthy habits normally give you instant gratification. But you pay for it later. Healthy habits, on the other hand, may take longer to pay off – but the rewards are bigger and better.

Getting help

Everyone who experiences a heart attack faces challenges. Any guidance or advice you receive should be tailored to your specific needs.

Take care of your heart—and your heart will take care of you.

 

 

 

Heart attack · Heart Diseases

Never Ignore these Early Signs of a Heart Attack

signs heart attack - Copy

As a Cardiologist, much of my time is spent caring for my patients who are experiencing heart problems. I do everything I can to find the optimal course of treatment and help my patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

However, I’d much rather educate as many people as possible to the risks of heart attack so they can be aware and understand how to help themselves. Early detection and treatment saves lives. With that in mind, familiarize yourself with the ten major Signs of Heat Attack. Many people have decided not to pay attention to one or more of these signs and many have died or caused much more serious damage to their heart because they ignored them.

Be proactive by eating healthy, getting exercise, and plenty of rest. That is all helpful. However, even people that do all those things can have a heart attack. There may be things going on beneath the surface that go unnoticed. So, no matter what shape you are in know the signals that could alert you to a potential Heart Attack.

1.Chest Pain/Pressure

Any pain or pressure in the chest that goes on for longer than a minute is cause for concern. Especially if sitting down or resting doesn’t make it go away. Men are likely to experience a radiating pain to their left arm, while women may experience pain in either or both arms. This pain is directly related to the pain and distress in the chest. You can however, have one without the other. You may experience it more like heavy pressure. Some people say it’s like having an elephant sitting on your chest.

2. Sweating or Nausea

If you begin sweating for no apparent reason and it starts soaking through your clothes, it could be a sign of trouble. In addition, if you notice your skin go pale at the same time, you should react and get help. We all sweat on hot days or if we exert ourselves, but that kind of sweating has an obvious cause and can be stopped by getting in a cooler place or sitting down and catching your breath. The type being described here is uncontrolled and not affected by change in activity or outside temperature.

3. Fatigue

Fatigue can come on suddenly and for no obvious reason. It can also be associated with chest or jaw pain. If you experience unexplained exhaustion contact your doctor. This fatigue won’t be associated with sleep deprivation or a mental health issue like depression, it will seemingly have no explanation. It can feel like extreme weakness in your whole body. You may feel like you have to sit down right away.

4. Indigestion

This isn’t a common symptom and most people are unaware that it can be connected to a heart attack. Indigestion with heart attack won’t come alone however, it usually be accompanied by pain, nausea and shortness of breath.

5. Frequent Cough

Frequent coughing fits combined with wheezing is a most common indicator of heart failure. You may also experience bloody phlegm when you cough. A cough that continues and causes you to feel weak or faint may be an indication of bigger problems.

6.  Back Pain

Another less common symptom, seen mostly in women, is back pain. Radiated or referred pain from the chest causes the feelings to occur in the mid or lower back. Back pain can present with or without the more common chest pain and can even radiate to the legs. Back pain alone isn’t necessarily a sign of trouble. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms listed here, it should be taken very seriously.

7. Dizziness

As the heart struggles and fails to deliver oxygen, the brain is affected. Without enough oxygen, you may feel dizzy and light headed or even faint. Your blood pressure will likely be affected. Heart attacks often start with dizziness and the feeling of being woozy. Lightheaded feelings and disorientation are often not associated with heart attack because people expect more dramatic symptoms.

8. Shortness of Breath

This is a sign that your heart needs some help. You should be calling for help if you have shortness of breath for any reason but it is also a sign of a heart attack. You may get short of breath after climbing stairs or doing some other physical activity. However, that stops after a short period of time. Ongoing shortness of breath is definitely a sign that something is wrong.

9. Irregular Heartbeat

It seems a little obvious, but an irregular heartbeat is a big sign of heart attack. You may experience slight episodes of irregularity prior to your heart attack. Irregular heart beat is never a good thing. It typically points to a much more serious heart issue.

10. Racing Heart

If your heart needs to work overtime it will begin to race giving you a good indication that something may be wrong.Fast heart rate (more than 150 beats per minute), especially if accompanied by shortness of breath may be a sign of a Heart Attack.

Your heart is the engine that keeps your body running. Without blood being pumped throughout your body you would die—plain and simple. The circulatory system is an amazing system that brings nutrients to your cells, takes waste away, supplies oxygen to the brain and generally keeps everything functioning the way it was designed to function. You only have one heart and it is the key to your health and well-being. Know the signs that could warn you of trouble and pay attention to them. It could save your life.

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