What is Heart Disease?
The term heart disease actually applies to a number of illnesses that
affect the circulatory system, which consists of heart and blood
vessels. It is intended to deal here only with the condition commonly
called "Heart Attack" and the factors, which lead to such
Heart attack is the popular term for sudden pain in chest with
breathing difficulty arising out of certain heart conditions. Heart
attacks can be suddenly fatal, but the great majority- an estimated 85
percent are not. The patient recovers under proper treatment and goes on
to live many useful years.
It is important to understand what causes heart attack
. To understand it, consider this:
like all muscles and organs of the body, the heart also needs
nourishment and food which it gets thorough its own arterial system. The
arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle, may lead to impairment
of its function. The sudden narrowing of the artery may result in the
sudden stoppage of blood supply to the heart muscle. Such attacks of
narrowing of arteries are called angina. If the damage takes place it is
Infarction can also occur because of a blood clot, big enough to
interfere with blood supply, is formed in the coronary artery. This
formation of blood clot is called trombosis and the clot itself is known
a thrombus. The term coronary heart disease is usually applied to
diseases of the heart secondary to defective or interrupted supply of
blood to the heart muscles through the coronary arteries.
Besides the sudden narrowing of coronary arteries such as in anginal
attacks or thrombosis the blood supply to heart muscle could also be
impaired by certain long term and (chronic) conditions like
arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis is a condition when certain arteries (may be all)
start losing their elasticity and their walls, due to some unknown
factors, become thickened and hardened. When this happens. Blood
pressure inside the arteries tends to become high and which in its wake
puts more stress and strain on heart.
Recent researches in connection with heart diseases have demonstrated a
high correlation between fats in the diet, cholesterol level and
atherosclerosis. Cholesterol is fat like substance found in animal fats,
oils and some tissues of the human body.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Signs
It has been said earlier that any disturbance in the supply of blood to
heart muscle leads to its functional impairment. There are also other
heart attack symptoms which need to be observed on time to take required
measures for heart attack prevention.
It will be useful to discuss symptoms of heart attacks
, which may lead to disturbances in the supply of blood to heart muscles. Certain conditions increase the strains on the heart. Among these are lack of rest, over exertion or prolonged hard labor which create an excessive body demand for oxygen that the heart, muscle must supply through
pumping more blood. If the blood vessels are inelastic on account of arteriosclerosis fibrous thickening or narrowing of passage (atherosclerosis) additional work on the part of the heart will be needed to push blood through these vessels. Other indirect factors that may result in causing disturbance in blood supply are indigestion of food, anger and other emotional excitements.
There are some early heart attack symptoms, which may be important to
watch for. Their appearance calls for a visit to the doctor for a check
up. The heart attack symptoms are:
Dizzy spell or fainting fits
Discomfort following meals, especially if long continued.
Shortness of breath, after slight exertion.
Fatigue with out otherwise explained origin.
Pain or tightness in the chest a common sign of coronary
insufficiency is usually constrictive in nature and is located
behind the chest bone with radiation into the arms or a sense of
numbness or a severe pain in the center of the chest.
You might also be interested:Heart Attack First Aid
These symptoms of heart attack should be observed minuetly and
should be taken care of as and when required.
Causes of Hypertension Heart Attacks
Heart disease has been more frequently found in certain persons who
show peculiar personality physical and mental traits. It will therefore,
be worthwhile to discuss these factors. Coronary heart disease is
considered to have multiple causative factors i.e., no one single factor
perhaps could be identified as one causing a heart attack.
There is ample evidence to show that incidence
of heart disease is more in persons whose direct predecessors like
fathers, grandfathers, mothers, brothers have suffered from similar
disease. Coronary artery disease is found to run mainly in families.
A strong family history of the disease is important in diagnosis.
Heart disease has often been identified with
certain personality patterns. It is labelled as personality disease
or a high executive disease, that is, it strikes persons with a
certain personality. A certain study has shown that there was four
times as much coronary disease among aggressive type of individuals.
In addition to this other factors such as family responsibilities,
interpersonal relationship, financial worries, leisure interests,
habits of eating drinking and smoking etc. may play a part that may
effect one's heart.
It has been found by some workers that death
rate among those who had heart attack was 50-150 percent higher in
those who were heavy cigarette smoker than non-smokers.
There is a fairly general trend
towards encouraging regular physical effort of a kind suited to age
and condition of the person concerned. As a preventive as well as a
remedial measure exercise is of great importance. There is abundant
evidence to suggest that a stressful sedentary life without much
exercise provides a situation fraught with coronary danger. Death
rate from coronary heart disease is lower among those who do
strenuous physical work.
Even for patients, who have survived coronary attacks, there has
lately been a change in the thinking in marked contrast in earlier
ideas. The doctors are now a day advocating, after the initial
prescribed rest, walking up the stairs, going on hikes, bicycles and
other forms of exercise. The quantum of exercise in each case must
of course be decided by the attending physician.
Diet and Obesity
Certain studies have shown 50 percent
increase in heart attacks in employees who were over weight
similarly diet and amount of fat are matter of vital importance in
incidence of heart disease. The sound advice which could be given is
to lead a life of moderation in matter of diet and activity an also
to avoid obesity. Large fatty meals and strenuous exercise after
them is not conducive to a healthy heart.
Satured fats are likely of animal origin like whole
milk, cream, butter, cheese meat, fat, etc. They raise blood
cholesterol level. And they are not included in proper heart attack
diet. On the other hand unsaturated fats are of vegetable origin and
they tend to lower blood cholesterol levels like maize oil,
cottonseed oil sunflower oil and fat of fish.