There are two types of cholesterol: LDL cholesterol, which is bad, and HDL, which is good. Learn why too much cholesterol and elevated triglycerides can lead to heart disease and stroke. Make it a priority to have your cholesterol checked.
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.
It’s like an auto mechanic running a diagnostic test on your car’s engine while it’s out of the garage and traveling down the road. Wearable heart monitors are valuable tools that cardiologists use to determine if you are experiencing atrial fibrillation, which is your heart beating at an irregular or rapid rhythm.
Swirski acknowledged that “there is no question” that genetics play a role in cardiovascular health, but in the last several years, four risk factors — stress, sleep interruption or fragmentation, diet, and sedentary lifestyle — have been clearly identified as contributing to atherosclerosis, commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a variety of complications, including death.
I continue to be amazed by-and grateful for -the astounding collection of miracles that is the human body. Each element is durable if properly maintained and potentially provides us with a long and healthy life. The heart Valves are a part this wonderful orchestra, opening and closing about 2 billion times in a full lifetime.
It is possible to visually appreciate our heart and it’s valves, but millions of other microscopic-nanoscopic-little protein machines are also opening, closing, twisting and folding anonymously, allowing us to live and move.
Now is a particularly good time to talk about the heart valves because imaging devices are available to detect, and surgical techniques are at hand to treat, the common problems that develop in the course of optimally guiding our blood through the heart, into 2 separate circuits, the pulmonary, and the systemic. Life can be defined as an island of order in a sea of chaos. Energy is required to allow this island to fend off dissolution. The energy is used to continually maintain the integrity of our cells, the island in this metaphor, and keep entropy at bay. Myriads of biochemical mechanisms direct this repair. Sleep, diet, and exercise aid in the mending.
We use our bodies in the daytime, and at night switch to a cleansing and repairing function, sleep. Diet, and our resident microbiome, provide the materials for this restoration. Exercise helps utilize excessive nutrients, and directs our metabolism towards regeneration and repair.
Some valvular problems are present at birth because of defective development. Bicuspid aortic valves and mitral prolapse are examples. Hypertension places a strain on the entire system. Type two diabetes can cause inflammation and abnormal deposits in the valves. A variety of biochemical pathways active during the formation of the heart can go awry and fail to maintain the neatly layered deposits of collagen, proteoglycans and elastic tissue that forms the basis of the valves, and the endothelial cells that line them.
Tobacco smoke, which harms in so many other ways, can also damage the heart valves, as can infections, which sometimes grow on the heart valves themselves. Symptoms of heart valve disease include abnormal sounds that your doctor can hear, or the the presence of fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, and dizziness, which are common symptoms of cardiac malfunction. Unusual chest pains, particularly with mitral prolapse, and irregular heartbeat can also be present.
Replacement of some valves via a catheter inserted in an artery is one of the recent advances in treatment of Valvular heart disease.
Ultrasound is particularly useful in diagnosing valvular heart disease, but a whole cafeteria of diagnostic tests are available to doctors these days.
Please refer to the following Mayo clinic article for more information.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart muscle, making it more difficult to pump blood. Dr. Steve Ommen is a Mayo Clinic cardiologist who specializes in the disease. He says shortness of breath or chest pain, especially during exercise, are common symptoms. Many people with the disease won’t have any significant health problems. But there are cases that require treatment. If a patient has symptoms that affect quality of life, the disease is treated with medications. Surgery or other procedures also may be necessary in some cases.