Generic Cardiovascular F.A.Q.
What is cardiovascular condition?
Cardiovascular diseases are called all diseases of the heart and vessels.
Yearly around 17 million people around the world die due to the aggravations of cardiovascular diseases.
The diseases in this group include:
– Ischemic disease;
– Aortic aneurysm;
– Congenital and acquired heart defects;
– Varicose veins and thrombophlebitis.
The most deadly of these conditions is ischemic heart disease. It is a blood supply disorder due to coronary artery disease.
Simply put, it occurs when the myocardium needs more oxygen than it receives with blood. It can be acute, then myocardial infarction happens, or chronic that manifests in recurrent angina.
Cardiovascular diseases have a lot of predeceasing conditions and the early symptoms many of which can be easily confused with signs of other diseases.
What are the signs of the cardiovascular disease?
If you have at least one of the below-listed symptoms, do not panic you can prevent the further development of a cardiovascular disorder in the timely visit to a doctor, checkup, and treatment plan followed.
– Blood pressure is one of the main indicators of the cardiovascular system. If there are any problems, it will fluctuate sharply - up and down. Such swings are much worse than even consistently high (hypertension) or consistently low (hypotension) pressure. The causes of it can be frequent stress, comorbidities (endocrine, problems in the cardiovascular system), and dietary habits. In people younger than 45 years, if the systolic pressure is not more than 150 mmHg without chronic diseases (kidney and diabetes mellitus), the pressure can be normalized without medications but with a change of the lifestyle. It is required to add physical activity and minimize salt in the diet. Individuals over 50 who have kidney diseases should monitor their arterial pressure thoroughly – if it is higher than 139/80, the risk of myocardial infarction or stroke significantly increases.
– Coughing. Usually, it occurs as a symptom of flu or common cold but it can also develop in the heart problems. You should go to a physician if coughing medications do not improve the situation and especially if dry coughing occurs when you lie down.
– General weakness and paleness of the skin. If you notice that you get tired more quickly and in general look pale, you should go to a physician as these can be symptoms of vascular spasm, inflammatory damage to the heart in rheumatism, aortic insufficiency, and so on.
– Swelling. Swelling at the end of the day can occur due to overconsumption of salt, kidney dysfunctions, and heart diseases.
– Dizziness and motion sickness in transport. This can be a sign of high risk of stroke. You should especially pay attention to this symptom if you have never had it before, do not have any diseases of the ears and digestive tract.
– Shortness of breath can be a sign of angina or heart failure. Only a specialist can distinguish heart-related shortness of breath with the pulmonary one so you have to go to a doctor if you have it.
– Nausea and vomiting. Cardiovascular diseases can be easily confused with a manifestation of gastritis or gastric ulcer. The lower part of the heart is near the stomach so the manifestations can be quite confusing.
– Osteochondrosis - like pain. Pain in the upper back, in the neck, left arm, shoulder, hand, even in the jaw can be a sure sign not only of osteochondrosis but also of heart problems. You should pay special attention to such symptom if it occurs after physical exercising or emotional turmoil. If pain occurs even during rest and after the use of heart medications, it may indicate an approaching myocardial infarction. Naturally, you are highly encouraged to go to the doctor.
– Pain in the chest. It is one of the easily recognized signs of heart disease that can be felt as a tight chest, acute, dull, severe, intermittent or spasmodic. In the spasm of coronary vessels, acute pain can occur even at rest, for instance, at night. Long lasting and severe pain in the chest, which also causes pain in the left hand, neck or back, is a common sign of developing myocardial infarction. Chest pain extending to the back of the head, back, to the groin area is a symptom of an aneurysm or aortic dissection.
Dull pain in the heart, which does not spread to other areas of the body along with increased body temperature, indicates the development of pericarditis. However, acute chest pain may indicate other diseases, such as intercostal neuralgia, shingles, radiculitis in the neck or chest, spontaneous pneumothorax, or esophageal spasm. Whatever is the cause of the acute pain, the best way you can cope with it without developing any complications is going to a doctor as soon as possible.
– Heart palpitations can occur due to intense physical exercising, emotional turmoil, or overeating. When it occurs without any noticeable efforts, when you are calm and resting, it can be a sign of developing tachycardia, stenocardia, heart failure, and impaired blood supply to the organs.
What are the most common cardiovascular conditions?
The most common cardiovascular condition is hypertension or elevated blood pressure. It is hard to notice without measuring the blood pressure. It is recommended for all people with a history of hypertension in their family to have blood pressure meter at home and measure the tension periodically when heart palpitations, headaches, general weakness, nausea, and other symptoms of a cardiovascular disorder occur.
Another widespread heart disease that also causes the most deaths is myocardial infarction. It usually develops on the basis of neglected heart problems including hypertension. If you have any of the symptoms of heart disease listed in the previous paragraph, you should go to a doctor and undergo the necessary checkup.
How is heart disease diagnosed?
To catch a cardiovascular disease at an early stage when it is easier treated and serious complications can be prevented you should undergo regular checkups at least once in a couple of years unless you have any health conditions that require more frequent checkups.
People younger than 45 who do not have chronic diseases such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease should check their heart once every 5 years. This includes cholesterol level tests, glucose tests, and arterial pressure measuring. Besides, a doctor should measure the waist to detect whether an individual is in the healthy waist zone since the accumulation of visceral (internal) fat in the stomach is associated with increased heart diseases risks. For a healthy, nonsmoking individual with a normal weight, such tests are sufficient.
If a patient comes to a doctor with complaints about the symptoms we described before such as chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of the limbs, and others, a doctor appoints additional tests such as electrocardiogram, MRT, CT, Doppler sonography, and others.
Can heart diseases be prevented?
Yes, they can be prevented. Here are the basic rules to minimize your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease:
– Quit smoking if you do. If someone from your family members smokes, make them smoke outside of the house so that you won’t be exposed to the smoke which also causes harm for non-smokers.
– Follow the principles of healthy eating. Your diet should comprise vegetables and fruits, minimum red meat, fast carbs, sweets, fried, and over-salted food.
– Spend your free time being active. Physical exercising is the best way to keep your heart in tone. Switch from passive rest behind a computer or TV screen to active rest – go hiking, walk in the evening, or start doing light morning exercises.
– Know your numbers. Get checked at least once a year and find out your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol level, and body mass index. These are the indicators that help easily understanding whether you are in a risk zone of cardiovascular diseases development and need a lifestyle change.
How are heart diseases treated?
Treatment of diseases of the cardiovascular system includes many classic and innovative methods of medical, therapeutic, surgical areas, from the simplest to very complex. The level of development of modern medicine allows doctors to provide emergency assistance to people in extremely difficult, seemingly hopeless conditions. But saving human life and protecting the patient from the grave consequences of critical states, such as a stroke, is possible only with timely, prompt access to ambulance specialists is ensured. To do this, people with cardiovascular diseases and from a high-risk group need to have information about the elementary signs of acute conditions, be able to adequately assess the situation and, if necessary, seek medical help.
First aid to people with acute heart disease sometimes has to be provided to those who are close by and have the necessary first-aid skills. Often this saves lived, but you should remember that even if the crisis seems to be gone, it is necessary to call an emergency at the first opportunity and get a medical report about the patient's condition.
Even if an individual considers himself or herself relatively healthy but at the same time has certain heredity, predisposition to heart disease, as well as a tendency to powerful manifestations of emotions or frequent depressive states, they should be aware that the prevention of heart diseases is needed. The principles of prophylaxis are quite simple and affordable.
The medications for cardiovascular conditions include:
– Antihypertensive medications are used for the normalization of elevated arterial tension which represents the major risk factor for myocardial infarction and stroke. This group includes diuretics, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and many others that should be chosen by a doctor.
– Antiplatelet agents are used to avoid platelets and red blood cell aggregation. It is needed to lower their ability to stick to the vessels walls and cause their narrowing.
– Beta blockers are used to lower the heartbeat and respectively the consumption of oxygen by the myocardium. However, these medications are contraindicated for lung pathology including COPD.
– Statins and Fibrates are cholesterol-lowering medicines that are used to diminish the development of existing plaques and prevent the formation of new ones.
– Nitrates are used for elimination of angina symptoms. They influence the contractile activity of vascular smooth muscle diminishing the preload on the heart muscle by expanding the vessels of the venous bed.
– Anticoagulants inhibit prevent the formation of blood clots, suppress the growth of already existing blood clots, and raise the effect on blood clots of endogenous enzymes that destroy fibrin. One of the most commonly used medications from the group is Coumadin (Warfarin) by Cipla.