Maintaining Good Heart Health

Several serious heart conditions can all lead to heart disease. Diseases under the heart disease umbrella include coronary artery disease, heart defects, blood vessel diseases, and heart rhythm problems.

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These conditions affect the heart's ability to work efficiently. It can be terrifying when a doctor comes back with a diagnosis of heart problems. However, there are a lot of resources out there to provide support. You should always consult with a healthcare specialist to discuss your heart condition and understand what is going on in your heart. Your doctor can provide you with the proper diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan.

Common Heart Conditions

  • Coronary heart disease - Coronary disease is the most common condition caused by narrowing of the heart's coronary arteries and blood vessels. When the arteries are blocked, they can't supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can lead to a heart attack or angina.
  • Angina - Angina causes discomfort when your arteries become clogged due to the restriction of blood  to the heart. You may experience pain in your stomach, chest, neck, arm, and jaw.
  • Heart Attack - A heart muscle needs constant oxygen to survive. A heart attack happens when there’s no blood getting to the heart muscle or it becomes reduced or blocked off. This is due to the narrowing of coronary arteries from cholesterol, fat buildup, and other substances that can create plaque. Unfortunately, in the United States, someone dies of a heart attack every 40 seconds.
  • Heart failure - When your heart muscle can't pump efficiently, you will experience fatigue, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. This is the result of heart failure which is a chronic, progressive condition.
  • Arrhythmia - A heart arrhythmia is when electrical signals to the heart that coordinate heartbeats stop working correctly. Many people with arrhythmia experience irregular heart rates, or fluttering. Some heart arrhythmias aren't dangerous. However, if you have a damaged or weak heart, it can be fatal.

Symptoms Of Heart Problems

It's not always easy to tell if you have a severe heart condition. Not all come with clear warning signs or chest pains. When in doubt you should always seek medical advice right away. The more risk factors you have such as diabetes, age, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, the higher your risk. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms you should see your doctor without hesitation:

  • Chest Discomfort - Chest pains are the most common sign of a heart problem. The beginning stages of a heart attack or blocked artery could be tightness, pressure, and discomfort. Some people compare it to a pinching or burning feeling or like a concrete block is sitting on their chest. The pain may only last a few minutes and then return later on.
  • Indigestion, Heartburn, Stomach Pain, or Nausea - Along with chest pain, some may have these symptoms during a heart attack. Women tend to show these symptoms more than men.
  • Pain That Spreads To The Arm - This is your typical symptom of heart attack and should never be taken lightly. Usually, the pain will begin on the left side of the body and radiate downwards. It may even move back and forth from the left to the right side.
  • Lightheadedness And Fatigue - If you are experiencing chest discomfort and all of a sudden feel unsteady, call your physician right away. When your heart can't pump properly, it can cause a drop in your blood pressure. You should also consult with your doctor if you suddenly feel winded or fatigued for no reason. Exhaustion for days at a time could indicate heart disease.

Treatment Of Heart Problems

If caught early, there are many things you and your doctor can do to treat and prevent heart disease. For starters, you should quit smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, and begin a healthy diet and exercise regimen. From implants, to surgeries, to medications, you have several options that will help you live a better quality of life including:

  • Stents
  • Angioplasty
  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Valve disease treatment
  • Cardioversion
  • EECP
  • Pacemakers
  • Lead extraction

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