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Know Your Heart

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People the world over are highly concerned about heart disease because it is the No.1 killer. As Indians, we should be much more seriously worried because we are three times more vulnerable than Europeans to a heart attack because of generic factors. Heart diseases in our region grew by 300% in the last 30 years and are still growingby 2-3% every year. WHO projects that by 2015 one million people under the age of 40 will die from this disease and 60% of heart patients in the world are likely to be in India.

We may not be able to choose our parents but we can take many measures to prevent the onset of heart disease in the first place. if in the unfortunate event of becoming a victim of heart disease, we can promptly act to minimize its conseuences. we should, therefore, have some basic understanding of heart disease.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease is any disorder that affects the hearts ability to function normally. Various for,ms of heart disease include:

Coronary artey disease ( the most common form of heart disease resulting in heart attacks) - results in narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries.

Arrhythmias ( abnormal heart rhythms)

Heart valve diseases

Congential heart disease(defects in the heart present at birth)

Cardiomyopathy(damage to the heart muscle)

Heart Failure

A heart attack occurs when one or more of the tiny arteries supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood(coronary arteries) become blocked. Blockages are caused by a blood clot that forms suddenly where a coronary artery has narrowed over the years from buildup of cholesterol and other substances known as plaque. Interrrupted blood flow to the heart can damage or destroy a part of the heart muscle.

Heart Disease Symptoms:

Warning signs and symptoms of a heart disease include:

Pressure,fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of the chest.

Pain extending beyond the chest to shoulder ,arm,back, or even to teeth and jaw

Increasing episodes of chest pain/prolonged pain in the upper abdomen

Palpitations

Left arm numbness with exertion

Shortness of breath/fatigue.

Sweating/nausea and vomiting.

Swelling around the ankles

Lightheadedness

Fainting

Heart Disease Diagnosis & Treatment:

Doctors perform a number of tests to find out if one is having or vulnerable to a heart attacck. They include : Electrocardigram (ECG), blodd tests, Chest X-ray, echocardiogram and angigram.

Initially, doctors try to pre-empt a heart problem with medication. But some people do suffer a heart attack despite medication.

If the tests reveal that a person has suffered a heart attack because of the blockage or narrowing of caronary arteries, doctors have three options to provide relief to the patient. One is giving medicines. Other two options added sometimes are -angioplasty and bypass surgery.

Angioplasty is a medical procedure, which widens narrowed or blocked arteries. angioplasty relieves chest pain and reduces the risk of heart attack. Bypass surgery involves sewing veins or arteries in place at a site beyond a blocked or narrowed coronary artery.(bypassing the narrowed section), restoring blood flow to the heart.