Coronary Heart Disease - The Young Widow Maker
Arteries - Our internal transportation system. What do they transport? Life giving oxygen and nutrients. They cover our entire body and the heart is our bodies Grand Central Station. A healthy transportation system is flexible. It stretches when it has to with out compromising its strength. With time and for many reasons the arteries lose their flexibility. They become hard. Hardening of the arteries is called Arteriosclerosis.
~ About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event.
~About 1 American every minute will die from a coronary event.
~ Heart Disease is the leading cause of Death and is a major cause of disability.
~ In 2010 an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary event and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack.
Atherosclerosis is a type of Arteriosclerosis. One of the many reasons that arteries harden is due to fats inside the artery walls, this is called plaque. Plaque or fats get in the way of your blood flow. Plaque is responsible for slowing down and blocking the traffic of oxygen and nutrients. Plaque can also rupture. When this happens, it creates a blood clot. Both Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis are labeled as heart problems and heart disease but they can show themselves and cause other problems like peripheral artery disease and stroke.
Things to watch for
Since atherosclerosis and heart disease can be inherited, the slow building disease can begin in some people while they are children. Those who damage or injure their arteries at any time are also at risk. In fact, 30% of deaths caused by atherosclerosis happen in people who did not notice any symptoms.
Most risk factors are preventable and when properly diagnosed atherosclerosis is preventable and treatable.
Risk factors include
~Family history heart disease
~High Blood Pressure
~Too Much cholestorol in your diet
~Smoking and other sources of Nicotine
~Family history of aneurysm
Cause for Concern
Heart Disease is the No. 1 cause of death. Most deaths of Men under 40 are caused by heart disease.
Plaque in your heart arteries can cause chest pain and other heart attack symptoms
Plaque in the arteries near or in your brain can cause you to feel weak in limbs all of the sudden, you may slur your speech and have hard time communicating. These small warnings can lead to a stroke.
In the arms and legs, plaque can be responsible for leg pain when walking and symptoms similar to restless leg.
In some men Atherosclerosis is responsible for erectile dysfunction.
Testing for heart disease
Ankle-brachial index - comparing the blood pressure in arm with ankle.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) - electrical signals in heart
Stress Test - exercise/heart rate
Cardiac catheterization and angiogram - liquid dye reveals blocks in xray (THIS IS WHAT I WOULD PREFER!)
Imaging Tests - CT's, MRA's, etc.
Once diagnosed atherosclerosis can be treated and managed. A normal healthy lifestyle can be achieved with regular Dr. visits, maintained treatments, proper nutrition, and exercise. Treatments include:
~Angioplasty (Stent)- object that holds artery open.
~Endarterectomy- removal of deposits from artery.
~Thrombolytic Therapy- drug used to dissolve clots.
~Bypass Surgery- its like a detour for your blocked artery.
Go get checked!
Decrease the number of young widows by getting yourself checked!
Here are a list of questions to take with you!
- What kinds of tests will I need?
- What's the best treatment?
- What foods should I eat or avoid?
- What's an appropriate level of physical activity?
- How often do I need a cholesterol test?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
- What websites do you recommend visiting?