Luka Space Health Care

Just about Health Care and Medical Reviews

You are here: Home - CHD


Tag Archives: CHD

Heart Disease And Cholesterol

For years, the medical community has held that a high level of cholesterol causes heart disease. While few will dispute this belief, there are other factors that may lead to severe and even fatal heart conditions.

Conducted by medical experts, the Framingham Heart Study determined that high blood cholesterol is a contributing factor of CHD, or coronary heart disease. These study results showed that people with higher levels of cholesterol were more likely to develop coronary heart disease. On the other hand, it is unusual for people with low cholesterol to suffer from CHD.

This connection between high blood cholesterol and heart disease was also confirmed by another group of experts, whose studies showed that lowering the total LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) level could actually reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. A recent series of cholesterol trials using statin drugs suggested that lowering both total and LDL cholesterol levels could greatly reduce the chance of experiencing heart attack, angioplasty (a surgical bypass) or death due to a coronary heart disease-related cause.

In addition to high cholesterol levels, there are other risk factors that can increase the risk of developing heart disease. Even though some risk factors can be lowered with diet, medication or lifestyle changes, others cannot be altered. The more combined risk factors you have, the higher your chance will be of experiencing heart disease.

The greatest unchangeable risk factors are as follows:

* Your age. The greatest risks are faced by women over 55 and men over 45

* Family medical history. If you have parents or a sibling who died from heart disease at the ages stated above, you face a higher risk

Fortunately, some risk factors can be changed:

* Cholesterol. Limit your high total cholesterol and your high LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Lower your levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol

* Reduce your blood pressure

* Stop smoking

* Diabetes (diabetics face a higher risk of developing heart disease)

* Little or no physical activity

* Lose excess weight

If you have one or more of these high-risk factors, see your physician to find out how you can take action and reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.

Some experts believe that high blood cholesterol and heart disease are indeed connected. On the other hand, there are those who hold that too much animal fat resulting in high cholesterol is the contributing factor to heart disease. These experts argue that there may or may not be “good” and “bad” cholesterols. They also believe that factors such as physical activity, mental stress and a change in body weight may influence the levels of the blood cholesterol, and that high blood cholesterol is a simply reflection of an unhealthy lifestyle, but not dangerous.

Experts may disagree on the factors of cholesterol and heart disease. The one thing everyone agrees on, however, is that we all need to reduce the risks and increase our quality of life.

Symptoms Of Coronary Heart Disease

All of our muscles need a continuous supply of oxygen carried by the blood and the heart is no exception. However, due to diet, age, and other factors such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking, our coronary arteries may become smaller or clogged. When the blood flow to the heart is restricted, it results in coronary heart disease, sometimes known as CHD. Angina occurs when not enough blood carrying oxygen can get through to the heart. This often causes a pain in the left arm or chest. When the blood flow is cut off completely, a heart attack occurs. Any part of the heart that is not receiving the oxygen it needs begins to die and permanent damage to the muscle can be done.

What are the symptoms of coronary heart disease?

Some people may not experience any symptoms. Others may feel short of breath or experience a mild discomfort in their chest area. Still others suffering from coronary heart disease experience a constant chest pain that may hinder their everyday activities.

Those that suffer from angina say they feel a pressure or heaviness on their chest. This can sometimes include a burning sensation or they may say it feels like their chest is being squeezed. Other symptoms associated with coronary heart disease include dizziness, queasiness, shortness of breath, and can include heart palpitations. Pain may spread to their neck, jaw, or arms.

If you suffer from angina, the doctor will try to diagnose what type you have stable or unstable. Just like the names, stable angina tends to occur at certain times such as after you exert yourself, after a large meal, or when you get upset. The pain lasts between one and five minutes and usually resting helps alleviate the symptoms. If you have no pattern as to when you experience the pain, it is known as unstable angina. This is the more severe type of the two.

Once the doctor establishes that you do have coronary heart disease, he may ask you to take some tests to see to what damage has been done. One test he may order is the electrocardiogram (ECG). This will show him the electrical activity of the heart. A stress test is normally done on a treadmill. This forces the heart to work harder, a time when problems often show up. Your blood pressure and heart rate will also be monitored while taking the stress test. A nuclear scanning involves the doctor inserting a small amount of radioactive material into your vein. He can then see damage done by using a scanning camera. Finally, a coronary angiography is a test where a catheter is inserted into an artery (usually in your arm or leg) and it films the heart while it pumps. The picture it takes is known as an angiogram.

What is the treatment for coronary heart disease?

That depends on the severity. If it is less severe, the doctor will probably suggest lifestyle changes. Many people do not care for this treatment because it involves giving up things they love. You will need to change your diet so it is lower in fat and cholesterol. You will also need to start on an exercise regiment as well. Even a small amount of exercise can lower your risks of a heart attack. Smokers can drastically reduce their chances of a heart attack when they quit smoking. Even if you have already suffered from one heart attack, stopping smoking can prevent another.

Those with more severe cases of coronary heart disease may need to undergo surgery. Coronary angioplasty is one type of surgery for coronary heart disease. Often referred to as balloon angioplasty, this involves a catheter going through the artery that is blocked. The balloon on the end is inflated to help open up the artery. If the artery cannot be opened, you will need a coronary artery bypass operation. In this, the surgeon removes a blood vessel from another part of the body and graphs it onto the blocked artery. The blood is then able to go around the blockage by way of this new vessel. Even after having these surgeries, you will be asked to change your lifestyle.

If you experience any type of chest pain, it is imperative that you visit your doctor to get a checkup. Chances may be it is nothing life threatening, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Tags:

The Low-down On The Diagnosis And Therapy Of Coronary Heart Disease In Women

It is not easy to diagnose CHD in women who develop chest pain more often than men. The chances for these chest pains to progress to heart attack are rare. In one study, half of the women undergoing coronary angiography did not have significant heart artery blockage. But, women with classical angina symptoms had a 71 percent probability of having diseased coronary arteries. Nearly 90 percent of women suffering from heart attack had chest pains as the initial clinical presentation. This is similar to what men have experienced. Nevertheless, females are more likely to exhibit symptoms such as breathlessness, fatigue, nausea, or upper abdominal pain.

Diagnosis of CHD among women has often been a challenging task for doctors. Resting electrocardiogram (ECG) frequently shows non-specific abnormalities in women, regardless of whether there is underlying CHD. The conventional treadmill stress test also does not help much as a diagnosing tool for women. Non-invasive tests such as myocardial perfusion stress imaging and stress echocardiography may improve the sensitivity and specificity over the treadmill stress tests in the female population.

Several reports have documented that women with CHD have a worse outcome than their male counterparts. Compared to males, females have higher chance of complications after heart attack. This could be explained by:

– Older age of female CHD patients, usually 10 years older than male CHD patients.

– Increased likelihood of co-morbid conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure.

– Differences in the size of the coronary arteries between men and women.

– A greater likelihood of urgent surgical or interventional procedures in women.

– Less aggressive approach generally adopted by doctors.

– Lower likelihood of referral for cardiac rehabilitation after a cardiac event

Pharmacological therapy using ACE inhibitors, aspirin, beta-blockers, nitrates and cholesterol-lowering drugs has been effective in both men and women.

A 1987 study showed that men were 6.3 times more likely than women to be referred to coronary angiography when their non-invasive tests were abnormal. Heart procedures such as PTCA (Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angiography) and bypass surgery were 15 to 27 percent more commonly carried out in men than in women with the diagnosis of CHD.

Complications during PTCA were higher for female patients. A slightly worse operative mortality was also associated with surgical treatment for women. After the heart bypass surgery, women have a lower likelihood of being free of angina than men do. Female CHD patients also experience greater disability and less return to work than the male patients. The rate of long-term survival and re-operation, however, are similar.

America’s Most Trusted Doctor Reveals … How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease – Without Drugs or Surgery. Read more about his confession at: http://www.howtopreventheartdisease.com/heart-disease-prevention-dr-robert-article.html

Tags: , , ,

Preventing Heart Attack

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2008, heart related diseases accounted for 24% of all deaths caused by non-communicable diseases. In other words 12,57,936 people died of heart diseases or cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

In 2004, total number of deaths due to ischaemic heart disease (IHD) was 5,54,194. Out of that 2,55,782 people died in urban areas while 2,98,412 died in rural areas.

The total number of DALYs for IHD in 2004 was estimated at 1,60,00,808. (1 DALY equals one lost year of healthy life.) The total number of YLL (Years of Life Lost due to premature death) for IHD stood at 49,52,150.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) related deaths are expected to rise from 27 lakh in 2004 to 40 lakh by 2030.

The prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) ranges from 6.6% to 12.7% in urban and 2.1% to 4.3% in rural India, among those aged 20 years or older.

It is estimated that there are currently 3 crore CHD patients, with 1.4 crore residing in rural and 1.6 crore in urban areas. But these are likely underestimates given that surveys do not include those CHD patients without the symptoms.

As compared to other countries CVD in India is characterized by early onset and premature death and higher cases of deaths related to complications from CVD. Also the diseases manifest more easily in Indians than their Western counterparts, particularly from risk-factors like overweight and obesity.

CVD disproportionately affects the young in India with 52% of deaths occurring under the age of 70 years compared to just 23% in Western countries.

Consequently, the country suffers a very high loss in potential productive years of life because of premature CVD deaths among those aged 35 to 64 years: 92 lakh years lost in 2000 and 1.79 crore years expected to be lost in 2030.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M HAVING A HEART ATTACK?

A heart attack takes place when blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted, causing heart cells to die. The interruption is caused by accumulation of fatty particles called plaque inside the walls of the pipes (arteries) carrying blood to the heart. A lack of blood supply results in the shortage of oxygen, which if left untreated for a sufficient period of time leads to death.

A heart attack is a medical emergency and should be attended to with highest priority. The most common symptom for a heart attack is chest pain. The sensation is often described as tightness, pressure or squeezing. The pain may be felt in only one part of the body or it may also move from the chest to the left arm (most often), lower jaw, neck, right arm, back, and upper central region of the abdomen. Other symptoms of a heart attack include anxiety, cough, fainting, light headedness/dizziness, nausea or vomiting, palpitations, shortness of breath and sweating which may be heavy.

HOW CAN I PREVENT IT?
Cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD) or ischaemic heart disease (IHD) lead to a heart attack. Such diseases are non-communicable, i.e., they do not spread through infection or contamination. Also known as lifestyle diseases, their onset depends on health habits in most cases. Keeping the blood pressure in strict control by eating food that is less in fat and oil content, cessation of smoking, limitation of alcohol intake and regular physical exercise can reduce the incidence of heart diseases and heart attacks by a great margin. In addition, regular screening of the heart with a preventive health check-up helps in early detection of blockage. Some of the tests commonly recommended are lipid profile, 2D echocardiogram, CT scan, etc.

Tags: , , ,

Flax Seed Why Eskimos Has Lower Heart Diseases

Why Eskimos Has Lower Heart Diseases?
Researchers started to focus on omega 3 fatty acids in early 80s when studies found that Eskimos had a lower rate of heart diseases despite consuming a higher-fat diet rich in fish. Fish oil contains Omega-3 which reduces heart diseases. However, in today’s polluted world, it is recommended that we take flax seed oil instead for a proper balanced ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6.

What Is Omega-3?
What are omega 3’s and what are the best omega 3 sources? The omega 3 essesential fatty acids (EFA’s) are polyunsaturated fats or the so-called “good fats”. These desirable fats cannot be made by the human body, so they must be obtained from foods or supplemental sources. These fats are required for normal development of the brain, eyes and nerve tissue in humans. Clinical studies show that omega 3 benefits come primarily from DHA.

Sources of Omega-3
The best omega 3 sources are animal foods, not plant sources. For example, flaxseed is a source, but the body must convert the flax oil omega 3 into DHA and EPA. This can be difficult for unhealthy or elderly persons. Three of the top omega 3 sources are cold-water fish oil, Flax Seeds and natural eggs.

Omega-3 Reduces Cardiovascular Diseases
The omega-3 fatty acids that are of particular interest for cardiovascular care include EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are found predominantly in fish and fish oils.1,2,3 The basis of this heightened interest in dietary intakes of EPA and DHA comes partly from epidemiological and population studies4 indicating that increased consumption of fish as a source of omega-3 fatty acids is often associated with decreased mortality from cardiovascular disease.

Flax Seed and Omega-3
We also recommend eating flax seeds and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed, and their oils. These contain alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), which can become omega-3 fatty acid in the body. The extent of this modification is modest and controversial, however. More studies are needed to show a cause-and-effect relationship between alpha-linolenic acid and heart disease. That is why, many doctors recommend that their patients take their daily dose of flax seed oil.

Benefits of Flax Seed oil
The ways that omega-3 fatty acids reduce CVD risk are still being studied. However, research has shown that they

1. Decrease risk of arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden cardiac death
2. Decrease triglyceride levels
3. Decrease growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque
4. Lower blood pressure (slightly)

The scientific evidence about whether omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is suggestive, but not conclusive. Studies in the general population have looked at diets containing fish and it is not known whether diets or omega-3 fatty acids in fish may have a possible effect on a reduced risk of CHD. Flaxseed Lowers Cholesterol too!

Omega-3 Improves Respiratory In Children
An analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and nine other studies addressed the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on respiratory outcomes. The AHRQ could not conclude whether omega-3 fatty acids are an efficacious adjuvant or monotherapy in improving respiratory outcomes in adults or children.

With so much health benefits associated with Flax Seed, we do urge you to find out more about flax seeds. Do visit our site at http://www.flaxseedfitness.com for more flax seed benefits.

Congenital Heart Disease and Physical Therapy

Congenital heart diseases refers to the structural (anatomical) or physiological defects in the normal functioning of the heart as a result of birth defects that may be diagnosed soon after birth or may take years to produce full blown cardiac insufficiency. Valvular heart defects form the most common variety of congenital cardiac defect that is associated with high morbidity and mortality in adult years if no management options are employed. This is because the metabolic demands of the body increase with growth and development that poses more pressure on the heart leading to cardiac failure or circulatory deficits. With overall prevalence of 26.6%, it was suggested that only 12.1% cases can be detected by clinical evaluation. Among the most prevalent congenital cardiac defects, ventricular septal abnormalities comprise 17.3% of all congenital anomalies followed by atrial septal defects (6.0%) and other less common cardiac diseases. The mortality is highest with cyanotic heart diseases.

According to the research statistics reported by Julien I.E Hoffman, over 1 million patients were born with congenital heart defects (during 1940 to 2002). Considering the quality of medical services and surgical/ medical advancements, Hoffman suggested that the total number of survivors with mild heart disease (who may reach well into adulthood) is 750,000 with mild heart disease, 400,000 with moderate heart disease and 180,000 with severe disease (with treatment). Without any management or treatment the survival rate may fall to 400,000 with mild disease, 220,000 with moderate disease, and 30,000 with severe heart disease, suggesting very high mortality.

Congenital heart diseases are also associated with stunted growth and development in children marked by poor weight gain, failure to thrive and frequent hospitalizations while growing up. In addition, these children also develop frequent episodes of shortness of breath, rapid heart rate (also known as tachycardia) and attacks of fatigue associated with decreased exercise endurance.
Physical therapy and mild exercises are helpful in the growth and development of children born with congenital heart disease. It is extremely important not to initiate exercise therapies in these children without seeking the guidance from registered physical therapists who work in coordination with the pediatric cardiologist to deliver best exercise regimens in order to optimize health without overloading the heart. Generally, children and adults can perform moderate static exercises of mild intensity without any complications; however, healthcare providers strongly restrict weight lifting in pediatric aged children and even in adults born with cardiac defects. Caution should be maintained to avoid lifting weight of more than 25 pounds in children and more than 50 pounds in adults. Physical therapist and pediatric cardiologist must assess every child individually and advice customized exercises and treatments according to the severity of illness and overall physical health. Treadmill test, bicycling and echocardiography are mainly used as assessment tools as the risk of sudden death increases if vigorous activity is attempted in children born with aortic stenosis, cyanotic heart diseases and coarctation of the aorta.

Hardcore or traditional gym exercises increase cardiac output that may overload the heart and may increase the risk of complications or sudden cardiac death. On the contrary, exercises performed under the guidance of physical therapists serve multiple benefits. Exercise or physical activities are needed in order to build stamina and maintain exercise endurance especially in school going children who engage in physical activities with peers. Physical therapy improves the pace of mental and physical development that allows children to develop healthy social relationships with peers, muscle and motor coordination and mental concordance. Physical therapy and periodic assessments are also needed in order to know the physical capacity of child and to track worsening of cardiac defect with age (in order to avoid accidents or unwanted incidents at schools) by restricting excessive physical activity. In some children, healthcare providers delay surgery until the child crosses some developmental milestones; however, it is very important that until then child stays in best possible physical shape to lessen the risk of surgical complications.

According to the scientific peer-reviewed journal- American Family Physician there are 5 stages of physical activity recommendations of Physical Activity in Children with CHD, ranging from no restriction to extreme limitation of physical activity (wheel chair bound).

Without any physical therapy, the progression into the severe disability is fairly high. It is the duty of parents to promote healthy physical activity but make sure to prevent contact sports or vigorous activities that may affect cardiac functioning.

Tags:

Using Your Health Savings Account To Pay For Over The Counter Supplements

When the government tells you that you qualify for a tax deduction, you should take it. Don’t claim more than you deserve, but take everything you’ve got coming. There is no honor in paying more taxes than you really owe. Using your Health Savings Account to pay for over-the-counter supplements is one deduction you want to make sure you don’t miss.

Qualified Expenses

A partial list of qualified medical expenses is provided in IRS Publication 502. There is no such thing as a definitive list of “qualified medical expenses”, though there have been thousands of cases involving the many nuances of what constitutes “medical care” for purposes of section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, virtually any expense that is primarily for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness can be considered a qualified medical expense. Any qualified medical expense can be paid for tax-free using funds from your Health Savings Account.

Over-the-counter Medication

Most bathroom cabinets contain a bottle of Advil or aspirin, perhaps some antacids, cold and flu medications, and other over-the-counter medication. People who own Health Savings Accounts can pay for sleep aids, motion sickness pills, throat lozenges, and most other over-the-counter medicines tax-free from their Health Savings Account.

Some people like to take herbal remedies like echinacea and astragalus, which are immune stimulants and come in children’s flavors. Herbal medicines can be paid for from your Health Savings Account only if prescribed by your medical practitioner. Fortunately, HSA legislation puts very few restrictions on the type of medical care you use, giving you, the consumer, the power to decide how to manage your health.

Nutritional supplements

If nutritional supplements have been recommended by your medical practitioner, to treat or prevent a specific condition, then you may be able to use your Health Savings Account to pay for it. (You may not use your Health Savings Account to pay for a vitamin taken for general health.)

As one example, there is a tremendous amount of evidence to support the use of fish oil to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is one of the most important nutritional supplements for most people to take. In 2002, the conservative American Heart Association even issued a scientific statement saying:

“Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of CVD. Large-scale epidemiological studies suggest that individuals at risk for CHD benefit from the consumption of plant- and marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids, although the ideal intakes presently are unclear. Evidence from prospective secondary prevention studies suggests that EPA+DHA supplementation ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 g/d (either as fatty fish or supplements) significantly reduces subsequent cardiac and all-cause mortality.”

Some healthcare providers recommend that you take fish oil supplements to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, so you can pay for it from your Health Savings Account. If you send $5 or $6 a week on this supplement, that’s the equivalent of another $300 that you don’t have to pay income taxes on. Not only are you saving money, but you’re also reducing the chance that you may one day be hitting Medicare up for a bypass operation. It’s win-win for everybody.

Record keeping

To enable you to pay for small expenses like over-the-counter medications directly from your Health Savings Account, many HSA Administrators offer a debit card. You may also reimburse yourself from your account if you paid with cash or a credit card.

You can also choose to reimburse yourself from you Health Savings Account at a later date, giving the account some time to grow, tax-deferred. So save all your medical receipts in a file labeled “un-reimbursed medical expenses”, and whenever you are ready, you can reimburse yourself from your Health Savings Account.