Tag Archives: Heart

Sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action and causes blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body.

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked, depriving the heart muscle of necessary oxygen. Like a heart attack, however, sudden cardiac arrest almost always occurs in the context of other underlying heart problems, particularly coronary artery disease.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it is fatal, resulting in sudden cardiac death. With fast, appropriate medical care, survival is possible. Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — or even just rapid compressions to the chest — can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrive.

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About prehypertension

Blood pressure is the force exerted on your artery walls as blood flows through your body. Slightly elevated blood pressure is known as prehypertension. Left untreated, prehypertension is likely to progress to definite high blood pressure. Both prehypertension and high blood pressure increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

A blood pressure reading has two numbers. The first, or upper, number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second, or lower, number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Normal blood pressure is below 120 systolic/80 diastolic as measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Prehypertension is a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89.

When prehypertension was defined as a new category of blood pressure in 2003, many people who Continue reading About prehypertension

About Transposition of the great arteries

Transposition of the great arteries is a heart defect present at birth (congenital), in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed (transposed). The condition changes the way blood circulates through the body, leaving a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body. Without an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, the body can’t function properly.

Transposition of the great arteries is usually detected at birth or within the first few weeks of life.

Corrective surgery within the first weeks of life is the usual treatment. Having a baby with transposition of the great arteries is naturally worrisome to you as a parent. Remember that with proper treatment, most babies with congenital heart defects grow up to lead healthy, productive lives.

Symptoms

Typical signs and symptoms of transposition of the great arteries include:

  • Blue color of the skin (cyanosis)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of appetite
  • Poor weight gain

Causes

Transposition of the great arteries occurs during fetal growth when your baby’s heart is developing. Why this defect occurs is unknown in most cases. Continue reading About Transposition of the great arteries

About Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Left ventricular hypertrophy is enlargement (hypertrophy) of the muscle tissue that makes up the wall of your heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle).

Left ventricular hypertrophy develops in response to some factor, such as high blood pressure, that requires the left ventricle to work harder. As the workload increases, the walls of the chamber grow thicker, lose elasticity and eventually may fail to pump with as much force as a healthy heart.

If you have left ventricular hypertrophy, you’re at increased risk of heart disease, including heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) and sudden cardiac arrest.

The incidence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) increases with age and is more common in people who have high blood pressure or other heart problems.

Symptoms

Left ventricular hypertrophy usually develops gradually. You may experience no signs or symptoms, especially during the early stages of development. When signs or symptoms are present, they may include: Continue reading About Left Ventricular Hypertrophy

Cigarette and Alcohol Damage Hearts

Tobacco smoke-filled air is bad for cardiovascular health, and drinking alcohol at the same time only makes it worse.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham team study the effects of smoking and breathing second-hand smoke along with drinking, and test the theory that moderate alcohol consumption provides some heart-protection benefits.

The conclusion was that mice exposed to smoky air in a laboratory enclosure and fed a liquid diet containing ethanol, had a 4.7-fold increase in artery lesions. That compares to mice who breathed filtered air and ate a normal solid diet.

Artery lesions are a common problem in heavy smokers andat the same time are a key sign of advancing cardiovascular disease.

The studies reported mice solely exposed to the smoky air had a 2.3-fold increase in artery lesions and mice solely fed a liquid diet containing ethanol had a 3.5-fold increase in artery lesions when compared to mice who breathed filtered air and mice fed a normal diet.

This study shows that exposure to cigarette (tobacco) smoke when combined with alcohol caused the greatest degree of cardiovascular disease development compared to either action or exposure alone.

Moderate alcohol consumption is commonly thought to be cardioprotective. These findings are important for smokers and non-smokers alike in terms of what you should and should not do to protect their good health.

This experiments were performed over a 5 week period. Blood-alcohol concentrations reached the equivalent of a 150-pound adult consuming 2 drinks per hour. Cigarette smoke exposure was similar to being in an automobile with a chain smoker with the windows closed.

To measuring artery lesions in the study mice, the University of Alabama at Birmingham team looked at other signs of advancing cardiovascular disease.

These measurements showed that taking in both smoky air and ethanol had the effect of basically nullifying any potential heart benefit from drinking alcohol by itself.