Thursday, March 31, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - What Is Pulmonary Hypertension?

Hypertension or high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, is not unfamiliar to most people. However, few are aware of a form of hypertension that occurs in the lung. This is called pulmonary hypertension that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart. It occurs when… Click the following link for more details:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Is Palpitation Dangerous?

Have you ever felt that your heart is beating very hard or fast? If yes, then you might have a medical condition known as palpitations. These sensations might sometimes be felt in the throat or neck but the symptoms might often last for just a few seconds or minutes.

While palpitations are abnormal and can be bothersome or frightening, they are not serious or harmful and should go away on their own. Stress, and anxiety or consumption of stimulants like caffeine, nicotine or alcohol can cause palpitations. Palpitations can also occur during pregnancy.

However, palpitations can be a sign of a more serious heart condition that can be potentially dangerous. So people with such symptoms should seek immediate medical help, especially if one also experiences shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, or fainting. Palpitation may be due to a heart rhythm problem or cardiac arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation (AF) or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).

Being due to fast abnormal electrical circuits in the atria, AF is most common in people aged 55 and above. The victims can experience a fast, irregular pulse that can cause a persistent heart flutter. AF, though can be uncomfortable, is not usually life threatening. But it can cause considerable distress to the person. For older people with other conditions like coronary artery disease and heart failure, AF is a key factor of stroke. This group of people may require medication to lower their risk of stroke.

SVT causes episodes of an abnormally fast heart rate, but the heart rate is often steady and not irregular. SVT affect the upper chambers of the heart, called the atria. SVT can occur in healthy people and cause palpitations to occur suddenly and unpredictably. SVT are usually harmless and tend to settle down on their own without the need for treatment. But if one has prolonged episodes of SVT, he or she should seek medical advice.

People with palpitations that affect the lower chambers of the heart, known as ventricles, can be traced to conditions like ventricular extra-systoles or ectopic beats and ventricular tachycardia (VT). Ventricular arrhythmias can be potentially dangerous, especially if the heart structure is abnormal, for instance, having an abnormally thick heart muscle or an enlarged heart. In some cases, ventricular arrhythmias may cause the patient to lose consciousness and experience a blackout.

Tests that can detect the type of cardiac arrhythmia one has include electrocardiogram, and a 24-hour ambulatory heart rhythm monitor or Holter monitor. After the test, the cardiologist should be able to assess if this person has any significant underlying heart problem and whether further tests are required. Some patients may just need reassurance and maybe a change in lifestyle, while others may need specific medication or even surgery.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - How Is Palm Oil Linked To Heart Disease?

Palm oil contains a high amount of harmful saturated fat, about 50 percent higher than other commonly used cooking oils, but studies have found inconsistent effects of palm oil on blood lipid. A recent study that was published in May 2015 in ‘The Journal of Nutrition’ had reported that though palm oil raises LDL levels… Find out more at:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Why Prehypertension Should Not Be Ignored?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease. As such, making sure one’s blood pressure falls within the desired level is paramount. High blood pressure usually do not cause any symptoms. That is why it is also called the silent killer. According to survey, two-third of people with high blood pressure do not have it under control.

Desired blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. The top number (systolic pressure) measures the force from the heart as it contracts and the bottom number (diastolic pressure) indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between contractions.

Once a person’s reading exceeds 140/90, he or she is having high blood pressure. The higher the blood pressure, the harder the heart has to work and more wear and tear on the blood vessels. When a person’s blood pressure readings fall between 120/80 and 139/89, he or she is considered to have prehypertension. The blood pressure category is determined by higher number either the systolic or diastolic measurement. For instance, if a person’s systolic number is 115 but the diastolic number is 85, then this person is said to have prehypertension. This also means that though this person does not have high blood pressure yet, he or she is more likely to develop it in the future.

A new study conducted by American researchers reported that even though young people who have blood pressure of below 140/90 but at the high end of the normal range were still have a higher risk of developing heart disease some years later. These people should start watching their diet, exercising, and even taking medicines. The study covered 2,479 young adults over 25 years and their finding were published June 9, 2015 in ‘Journal of The American College of Cardiology’.

The study found that participants with high diastolic readings were 70 percent more likely than those with the lowest reading, of getting a treatment-resistant form of heart failure where the heart muscle is unable to relax. Some patients in the study had high-normal blood pressure in their 20s and 30s, and by the time they were 45, they had the heart function of a 75-year-old. The study, therefore, suggested that blood pressure control in early young adulthood might be essential to prevent coronary heart disease.

It is possible to prevent hypertension and prehypertension. People with these conditions can lower their blood pressure by adopting healthy diet and regular physical activity. For people who are obese or overweight, they should seek ways to lose weight. Smokers should quit smoking and alcohol drinkers should limit to one drink per day. Reducing stress can be helpful, too. If all these lifestyle changes cannot lower blood pressure, then they should see their doctor who might prescribe medicines for them.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Too Much Coffee Is Bad?

Coffee not only contains many nutrients it is also the large source of antioxidants. Studies had shown that coffee may decrease the risk for many kinds of cancers, stroke and heart disease. It may also prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer's disease and Type-2 diabetes. Coffee also contains a material called caffeine. More can be found at: Heart Disease Prevention - Why Too Much Coffee Is Bad?

Friday, March 04, 2016

Why One Should Not Panic About Positive Treadmill Test Results?

Being widely available at a relatively low cost, treadmill test (also known as exercise ECG or exercise stress test) is used to assess the response of the heart to the increased workload and demand for blood during exercise. This is done by recording the ECG (electrocardiograph) of one’s heart while he or she is walking on a treadmill machine.

First of all, the blood pressure will be taken and an ECG of the heart at rest will be recorded before the test. Then patient will be shown how to walk on the treadmill, which will begin at a slow speed. Thereafter, the speed and gradient of the treadmill will increase gradually at a regular interval of 3 minutes. When the exercise test ends, the patient will be asked to rest on the bed for about 5 minutes while his or her ECG and blood pressure are being monitored and recorded.

During exercise, as the body works harder, the heart must pump more blood since the working muscles need more oxygen. The test can indicate if there is a reduction in blood supply to the heart or if there are any abnormal heart rhythms develop with exercise.

A positive result shown on the ECG monitoring would suggest the likelihood of a blockage in the heart’s blood supply. This may give the doctor a starting point to consider further about the health of patient’s arteries. The doctor will often refer the patient to a specialist for further test.

One option is to have an exercise stress test with ultrasound imaging that is more sensitive and images of the pumping capacity of the heart while exercising could be captured. For patient having risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, or a strong family history of heart disease, the specialist may examine the patient’s heart arteries using a computed tomography (CT) scan. CT scan can provide high-resolution pictures and will accurately reveal the presence or absence of any severe blockages. Should there be any blockage detected, the patient may need further treatment ranging from medication to procedures to clear the blockages.

The tests, on the other hand, might also confirm that the arteries are completely free of any cholesterol build-up. In this case, the patient can be relieved that the treadmill test is somehow misleading and he or she is at low risk of heart attack.

In other words, treadmill tests can be a good screening tool in diagnosing ischemic heart disease because underlying problem that is not present on the resting ECG test may be detected. It is, however, not perfect because not all patients who have positive stress test have heart disease. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - How To Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death?

It is not uncommon to hear about the sudden passing of people who are practically healthy. Among those victims, some were young athletes. How did all these happen? According to cardiologists, this is almost always due to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition in which the heart stops pumping effectively… More details can be found at: 

Heart Disease Prevention - How To Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death?