Tag Archives: Heart Conditions

DR. C’S JOURNAL: SIGNS OF A SILENT HEART ATTACK

Heart attacks are something that most people know about; the sudden severe chest pain, radiating into the jaw or left arm,  associated with shortness of breath, nausea, and the like. However there’s a lot of confusion also; not all heart attacks have typical symptoms (silent heart attacks). Some significant chest pain is not due to a heart attack, and some significant cardiac disease is something different from a heart attack.

I will cover these three scenarios one at a time, beginning with the most dangerous, the silent heart attack.

The silent heart attack has the same effect as the more typical variety, and is caused by blockage in the coronary arteries,  which interferes with oxygen and glucose delivery, and causes death of heart muscle. It occurs under physically or emotionally stressful circumstances, particularly in the cold. It may be more common in women, and accounts for at least half of all heart attacks.

Risk factors are identical to those of a regular heart attack, and include being overweight, diabetic, not exercising regularly, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking cigarettes.

The symptoms may be Flu like, fatigue, indigestion, and perhaps a soreness in the chest, upper back, arms or jaw. My mother-in-law died in my house after a stressful incident, and was heard to be vomiting in the middle of the night. My father had inordinate fatigue and paleness, which caused my mother to take him to the doctor, who sent him by ambulance for a bypass operation.

Many silent heart attacks are discovered when the doctor takes an electrocardiogram in the course of an  examination. This is a good argument for the regular physical examination, since having a silent heart attack increases the likelihood that you will have another.

The frequency and seriousness of heart attacks is of course an excellent argument for proper sleep, diet, exercise, and other good preventative habits.

—Dr. C.

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Heart Failure: ‘What It Is & How To Treat It’ (Video)

The heart is a hero. It works relentlessly to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body. But just like all heroes, sometimes it gets tired, and can’t do its job as well. This is called heart failure – the inability for the heart to pump enough blood and oxygen to the lungs and rest of the body. In this video, Northwestern Medicine cardiologists Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc and Jane E. Wilcox, MD, MSc explain what heart failure is and the integrated and collaborative approach used to diagnose, stage and treat heart failure at Northwestern Medicine. For more information, visit http://heart.nm.org

YALE MEDICINE: ‘WHAT CAUSES HEART FAILURE?’

The heart is a muscle and it’s main job is to pump blood but certain things can cause that muscle to fail. There are genetic reasons, there are reasons related to valve disease, and there’s a viral infection that affects the heart called myocarditis.

The most common cause of heart failure is a heart attack. Fatty plaque builds up in the blood vessel that supplies the heart itself and unless that blood vessel is opened up immediately that muscle will die. The rest of the muscle that’s not dead anymore has to do extra to keep on pumping the blood and overtime it cannot keep and that’s when heart failure develops.

HEART DISEASE: TYPES & RISK FACTORS (CLEVELAND CLINIC)

There are lots of things you can do to prevent heart disease! The key is to live a healthy lifestyle and see your doctor for regular checkups.

To learn more about heart disease risk factors, please visit https://cle.clinic/3r3iKQh

TELEMEDICINE CASES: CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE PATIENT IN TEXAS (2020)

JULY 2020 ISSUE

On a Friday afternoon last summer, a patient, “Barb,” texted me: “Call me. I can’t breathe.” As a heart failure nurse serving rural patients, getting messages like Barb’s launches my adrenaline. I called her immediately.

A month earlier, I’d trained Barb to send daily vital signs via my clinic’s digital portal—blood pressure, weight, heart rate, and oxygen saturation.

Barb was suffering from a congestive heart failure exacerbation: her lungs were filling with fluid. If we didn’t remove it, she’d need to be hospitalized or worse.

Once I was sure she wasn’t in emergency distress, I called the clinic’s cardiologist for instructions. Then I phoned Barb’s pharmacy and ordered a new diuretic to add to her regimen—a water pill so powerful in its fluid off-loading effect that I’ve nicknamed it the Bellagio. Within two hours, Barb had taken the pill and begun to urinate out the fluid flooding her lungs. By the next morning, she was breathing comfortably.

Without access to a telehealth program, Barb would probably have gone to the emergency room, then to the intensive care unit for expensive intravenous medications. 

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OPINION: HEART AND BRAIN HEALTH ARE LINKED FOR LIFE

Your heart and your brain are your two most vital organs, and if you enjoy life, they should be a top priority. These amazing structures are tethered to life-giving support by your arteries, just as the new you was tethered by your ubilical cord.

Life is fragile, hanging by a thread, or an artery. over the span of your life, These arteries can become plugged by fatty deposits called plaques. A healthy life style-SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE– could slow down or prevent this atherosclerosis.

But everybody should know about the symptoms of HEART ATTACK and STROKE (1) and how to respond if the arteries sustaining your heart or brain become blocked.

You should be familiar with the hospitals in your area. How close are they? What are their capabilities? Are they Class 1 for heart attacks and stroke? Do they have a CATH LAB?

SPEED is important. Within minutes of the BLOCKAGE of an ARTERY to your heart or brain, vital cells start to die. The goal is to remove the blockage as soon as possible. CALL 911 as soon as you have heart attack or stroke symptoms. Don’t be afraid of the ER because of Covid, since almost all now use TELEMEDICINE SCREENING to keep infected patients segregated.

Alas, for many people, such PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE requires too much SELF DISCIPLINE AND CONVICTION. America has an epidemic of OBESITY and an avalanche of tasty FAST FOODS provided by a CONSUMER SOCIETY that is ever-attentive to the latest fads and trends.

DR. C

CARDIOLOGY PODCAST: “ATRIAL FIBRILLATION – A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW”

Atrial fibrillation is chaotic and irregular atrial arrhythmia, the prevalence of which increases progressively with age. It causes significant morbidity and death. Many patients are asymptomatic or have symptoms that are less specific for cardiac arrhythmias, such as mild dementia or silent strokes. 

Gregory Lip, Price-Evans Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Liverpool, gives us an overview of the condition.

Read more on Atrial Fibrillation at BMJ