Cardiovascular Diseases in Young Women

Cardiovascular diseases or in the common mans’ language, heart diseases are commonly associated with older people. But according to cardiologists, young people suffer from heart diseases more than people realize. More specifically heart problems were associated with older men more than women. But a study in 1984 determined that women suffered and died because of cardiovascular problems more often than men.

To spread more awareness, on February 3rd women all around America don red apparel to commemorate the National Wear Red Day. The American Heart Association has marked this day to raise awareness for the diseases which claim the lives of 500,000 women each year around the world. Cardiovascular diseases are still to this day, the number one cause of death in women of all ages. Although older women are more likely to develop a heart attack, 15,000 young women under the age of 50 die from them.

Many young women, who believe in the misconception stated above, tend to ignore the right actions which help prevent heart diseases. Although there is much more awareness now because of survivors, like Rosie O’Donnell, speaking up about their experiences many young women still remain unaware. This becomes a problem when this unawareness leads to them ignoring signs of heart diseases.

According to a survey done by cardiologists at the American Heart Association, women tend to be unaware of the symptoms when they are having a heart attack and ignore it thinking it might be indigestion or heartburn. This may be due to the fact that many women experience different symptoms than men. If you are unaware and seem to experience any of the following symptoms then you might need a heart specialist immediately:

· Pain in Shoulder or Neck

Like many others who experience excruciating pain in their chest, young women especially with no prior health conditions experience pain in the neck, left arm and shoulder rather than the chest. Few women who suffered reported that they did not even experience extreme pain, instead they experience only discomfort. In the case of extreme discomfort get immediate attention from a heart specialist.

· Shortness of Breath

While shortness of breath might be associated with being winded, intense shortness of breath might be an indicator of an incoming heart attack. An extreme shortness of breath indicates a heart issue when it is accompanied with chest pains. Get a cardiologist to investigate if you are experiencing this symptom.

· Fatigue

Although a little bit of fatigue after a long day is very normal, extended experiences of fatigue can be a sign of the insufficient amount of oxygen on your blood, which is an indicator of a heart disease.

· Racing Heartbeat

A racing heartbeat is normal after rigorous exercise which eventually subsides in a few minutes. In younger women especially a fast heartbeat without any heavy exercise is abnormal and shouldn’t be ignored.

Indigestion, dizziness, nausea and constant sweating might also be indicators of an underlying heart condition needing urgent attention. And if any of the symptoms go ignored, it may lead to a more complicated problem.

As per the saying, prevention is the cure, taking precaution is a smarter way to save you from any bigger issues later on in life. Especially when routines are more hectic and there is more stress, a yearly checkup with a cardiologist very important. Whether or not you are experiencing one or more symptoms, getting a full work up from a heart expert will rule out any possible heart disease and save you any distress later.

Insufficient Sleep Makes an Unhealthy Heart

Insufficient sleep can leave you feeling grumpy and agitated and will ruin your mood for the rest of the day.

Over a longer period of time, sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues like obesity, diabetes, slower metabolism and inflammation.

A prolonged lack of sleep acts as a catalyst in disrupting basic health conditions which has detrimental effects on your health.

Shortage of sleep in the long run can shorten life expectancy too. Studies show that people who get a good night’s sleep live longer than those who don’t.

This further strengthens the argument in favor of getting the required amount of sleep every day.

In fact, physicians might even just recommend a good nights’ sleep to resolve and prevent possible health issues.

Optimal Sleep

According to a study by Harvard Med, the optimal sleep required differs for everyone, depending on their age and genetics. But on an average 6-8 hours of sleep in a day are optimal for the body to function at its best. Less than 6 hours of sleep increases the risk of heart disease.

When the body is resting, different enzymes and chemicals are activated, which calm it down from the intense activity that it undertook throughout the day. During this rest, the blood pressure and heart rate drop, and the body start rejuvenating.

Insufficient Sleep and Your Heart

Less than 6 hours of sleep prevents the heart rate from dropping and keeps it elevated for a prolonged period. This lack of variability means the hearts’ work remains the same, causing hypertension.

The further validation comes from studies about sleep apnea. It’s a condition which causes troubled breathing which wakes people frequently and disrupts their sleep cycle, causing sleep deprivation and fatigue.

According to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea is a contributor to increased risk of elevated blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke and congestive heart failure.

Lack of sleep also disrupts metabolism, creating an imbalance in blood sugar levels, in turn, heightening the risk for diabetes. Shorter sleep cycles hinder the production of hormones which function to decrease appetite, triggering an increased consumption of calories. This increases the chance of high cholesterol and obesity which are known causes of multiple heart diseases.

How Can You Sleep Better?

According to the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention), 1 in 3 adults suffer from sleep deprivation; leading cause being a more hectic and busy lifestyle.

There are many ways which can help in getting a good night’s sleep, and some of them are;

  1. Exercise This tires out the body, improves the chemical balances and allows for more restful sleep.
  2. Lower the intake of alcohol and caffeine-laden beverages in the evening.
  3. Avoid a heavy, rich meal right before you go to sleep.
  4. And establish a fixed routine right before you sleep to trigger easy sleeping in future.

The most important tip is to get checked by a physician to make sure you have no underlying conditions that are causing the improper sleep cycle.

Not having sufficient sleep and rest in one day can have an adverse impact on not only the heart but overall physical and mental health. Recognizing and solving issues regarding your sleep early can save you distress later.

Heart Stents are not always Beneficial for treating Stable Angina (Chest Pain)

New findings in the field of cardiovascular research can transform patient care, a latest study proposes that the placebo effect of stents in heart disease patients with chest pain may be far more pronounced than thought.
That could mean that drug treatment alone, rather than the expensive, artery-opening cardiac stents, is all that’s required for most of the patients, the researchers said.
“The primary reason for considering a stent placement is to unblock the culprit artery that is causing a life-threatening heart attack. However, stents are also placed into patients who complain of chest pain on physical exertion caused by narrowed arteries of the heart. It’s the second group of patients that we studied,” explained lead author Rasha Al-Lamee, from National Heart and Lung Institute and Imperial College London.”
The researchers recruited 200 patients with stable angina who underwent six weeks of intense drug treatment for their angina. After that, they either received a stent or underwent a simulated procedure where no stent was inserted. The subjects who received stents did not show improvements in chest pain and quality of life compared to those who did not receive a stent.
Angina is the medical term for chest pain. It is typically caused by the build-up of fatty plaques in the coronary vessels. Stents aren’t cheap, either: The stent and its insertion costs from $11,000 to $41,000.
The study was published on the world wide web in The Lancet medical journal, to coincide with a presentation at a cardiology meet in Denver. Al -Lamee stated in a press release that “Surprisingly, even though the stents helped in increasing the blood supply to the affected part of the heart, however, they did not provide any relief of symptoms compared to previous drug treatments, at least in this patient group,”.
“While these conclusions are compelling and deserve more consideration. however, they do not suggest that patients should never undergo the [stent] placement for stable chest pain. There are several patients who opt to have an invasive procedure overtaking long-term medication to control the symptoms of chest pain,” she added.
The physicians plan to analyze their data further, to determine if there is a group of subjects whose chest pain improves after stenting.
“It seems that the connection between opening a blocked coronary artery and improving symptoms is not as simple as everyone had thought,” Al-Lamee said. “This is a unique trial of its kind, and [it] will help us to develop a better perception of stable angina, a symptom that affects so many of our patients every day.”
Writing in a commentary, concluding the report, a cardiologist stated the “landmark” study has implications that “are profound and far-reaching.” “First and foremost, the consequences of [the study] show that there are no benefits” for the use of stents compared to drug therapy for patients who are suffering from stable angina, said Dr. David Brown, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Dr. Rita Redberg, of the University of California, San Francisco.
In fact, based on the latest findings, Brown and Redberg believe that stents may not be useful in most of the case scenarios even when a patient’s angina fails to get better with medications.
“Based on this data, all cardiology guidelines should be updated to minimize the recommendation for [stents] in patients with stable angina,” whether or not they also received conventional drug therapy, the doctors said.
According to Brown and Redberg, every year over a half-million patients in Europe and united states undergo stent procedure — and a minority of these patients experience potentially serious complications that can include heart attack, stroke, kidney injury and even death. It is irresponsible to Subject these patients to undue risks when no benefit can be achieved.
The editorialists concluded that physicians need to put more emphasis on drug therapy and efforts at improving the lifestyle of many heart patients — things like bad diets, lack of activity and smoking.

Skipping Breakfast can lead to Heart Diseases

The new study backs up the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

This particular study appointed more than four thousand middle-aged adults in Spain. The researchers came to the conclusion that participants those who ate breakfast were less prone to developing artery-blocking plaques (atherosclerosis).

On average, participants who consumed over 2,300 calories per day. almost 3% didn’t eat breakfast, while around 27% ate a healthy breakfast and almost 70% took a light breakfast. Researchers used carotid ultrasound to look into their arteries for early evidence of plaque. About 75% of the breakfast skippers had signs of plaque buildup in their arteries, compared with 57% of those who ate a big breakfast and 64% of those who ate a lighter morning meal.

Breakfast Lovers usually eat more healthfully overall and are less prone to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and deranged cholesterol levels. By taking these factors  into account,we can say that skipping breakfast is linked to a higher risk of atherosclerosis.

What is a Holter Monitor?

A Holter monitor is a compact, battery-operated medical device, that measures your heart’s activity, such as rate and rhythm. Your physician may prescribe this test if he needs more information than a routine electrocardiogram (EKG) can offer.

Holter monitoring is an ambulatory test to record your heart rate and rhythm for 24 hours. You wear the Holter monitor for 12 to 48 hours as you go about your normal daily routine. This device has electrodes and leads exactly like a regular EKG. It can pick up not only your heart rate and rhythm, but it can also help to diagnose the cause of chest pain and many other symptoms related to the cardiovascular diseases.

The Holter monitor test is also called ambulatory electrocardiography. There are devices other than a holter that can be used to measure heart activity for longer periods of time. However, Holter monitoring is widely used because of its availability and affordability.

Instructions for Patients

Keep the Holter monitor dry to ensure its proper functioning. Take a bath or shower before your appointment so that the monitor can be properly attached to your skin.

Magnetic and electrical fields may interfere with the readings of the Holter monitor. Avoid going into areas of high voltage while carrying the monitor.

There are instances when misreading or false-positives do occur, in such cases, the Holter may need to be applied again.

Understanding the results

After the recommended time frame has passed, you’ll return to your
Cardiologist’s office to have the Holter monitor removed. Your doctor will read your activity journal and analyze the result by attaching the device to the computer. Depending on the results of the examination, you may need to undergo further testing before a diagnosis is made.

The Holter monitor may reveal that your medicine isn’t working or your dosage needs to be modified. This test is specially designed to detect abnormal heart conditions that are painless and unknown to you.

Wearing a Holter monitor is hassle-free and one of the best ways to identify potential heart problems and other related issues.

What is -White Coat Hypertension 

White coat hypertension is a situation when your blood pressure is higher in a doctor’s chamber, but is normal when measured at home. The term white coat hypertension is derived from the white coats of the  health care professionals.

Causes and dangers of white coat hypertension? 

It’s not strange for some people to feel a bit anxious while sitting in front of  their physician. This increased anxiety can sometimes elevate their blood pressure levels temporarily. However some doctors think that white coat hypertension is not a cause of concern since it is just a temporary surge, and the blood pressure normalizes once you are out of the doctor’s room. While there are cardiologists who believe that, white coat hypertension is a warning that signals to the risk of developing certain cardiovascular conditions like stroke, heart attack and heart failure. The same can be true for those who have masked hypertension, such patients have lower blood-pressure in the doctor’s office as compared to their home readings.

How to handle white coat hypertension? 

It may be harmful to prescribe  medication for hypertension by recording a single blood pressure reading. Unnecessary antihypertensives can cause  serious condition like hypotension – a state, when  blood pressure drops below the normal value.

If you are diagnosed with white coat hypertension, the cardiologist will talk to you about getting a  blood pressure monitor that  can be used at home. This may help you to record the actual blood pressure levels. Assuming that, the blood pressure is much better controlled at home, when you are in a relaxed atmosphere.

The second method is to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor which can track your blood pressure up to 24 hours. It can take readings during the day as well as during sleep. Both methods can help to determine if your  blood pressure rises only  in the physician’s office, or if it’s a persistent condition that needs treatment.

However, you may also go through periods of increased blood pressure because of a stressful situation, not taking your blood pressure medicine regularly, eating food high in table salt or consuming excess caffeine. Over a period, temporary increment in blood pressure, either at your doctor’s office or otherwise can damage your blood vessels and increase the risk of more serious conditions.

9 Vital Questions to ask Your Cardiologist 

One in two human beings will have a heart attack or stroke. In fact, nearly twice as many adults die of cardiovascular disease than all forms of cancer. Find out if you are at high risk. Begin by asking your cardiologist these 9 important questions.

  1. What is coronary heart disease?
  2. Do I have any major risk factors?
  3. If I hold a positive family history of heart attack, am I at greater risk?
  4. What is my blood pressure, cholesterol, level, body mass index and blood sugar level?
  5. If I smoke, what is the best means for me to quit?
  6. How much physical activity should I be doing?
  7. What is a heart-healthy diet plan for me?
  8. What are the warning signals of a heart attack?Are they any different for adult females and elderly?
  9. What screening or diagnostic tests for heart disease do I require?