HEALTH INFORMATION: CARDIOVASCULAR HEART HEALTH

heart health

HEART HEALTH

HEART AND BLOOD VESSEL DISEASES OR COMMONLY KNOWN AS HEART DISEASE MAY INCLUDE NUMEROUS PROBLEMS MANY OF WHICH ARE RELATED TO A PROCESS CALLED ATHEROSCLEROSIS. THIS IS A CONDITION THAT DEVELOPS WHEN PLAQUE IS BUILT UP IN THE WALLS OF THE ARTERIES. NARROWING THE ARTERIES AND MAKING IT DIFFICULT FOR BLOOD TO FLOW.

MAKING CHANGES IN YOUR LIFESTYLE EARLY ON AND TALKING WITH YOU PHYSICIAN WILL ALLOW YOU TO ENJOY MANY MORE YEARS OF PRODUCTIVE ACTIVITIES. HAVE YOU CHECKED YOUR HEART HEALTH LATELY?

COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES:

WHAT IS THE BURDEN OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE?

An estimated 17.3 million people die of cardiovascular diseases every year.  80% of the deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

WHAT CAUSES CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE?

There are many risk factors that contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.  Some people are born with conditions that predispose them to heart disease and stroke, but most people who develop cardiovascular disease do so because of a combination of factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity and smoking, to name just three.  The more risk factors you expose yourself to, the higher the chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

Many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease cause problems because they lead to atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is the narrowing and thickening of arteries. Atherosclerosis develops for years without causing symptoms.  It can happen in any part of the body.  Around the heart, it is known as coronary artery disease, in the legs it is known as peripheral arterial disease.

The narrowing and thickening of the arteries is due to the deposition of fatty material, cholesterol and other substances in the walls of blood vessels. The deposits are known as plaques. The rupture of a plaque can lead to stroke or a heart attack.

WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance used by the body to build cell walls and for making several essential hormones. Your liver produces cholesterol and you absorb it from the animal fats you eat.

Cholesterol is carried through the blood by particles called lipoproteins. There are two types: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). The former carries the cholesterol around the body in the blood and the latter transports cholesterol out of the blood into the liver.

When cholesterol is too high, or the levels of the two types are out of balance (dyslipidaemia), the cholesterol can clog the arteries affecting the flow of the blood.

WHAT ARE TRIGLYCERIDES?

Triglycerides are fats found in the blood that are important for muscle energy.  They travel through the blood in lipoproteins. As triglyceride levels rise, HDL cholesterol levels fall. High levels of of triglyceride increase the risk for heart disease. In rare cases, very high levels can lead to pancreatitis. Conditions that may cause high triglycerides include obesity, poorly controlled diabetes, drinking too much alcohol, hypothryroidism, and kidney disease.

WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HYPERTENSION) AND HEART DISEASE?

Blood moving through your arteries pushes against the arterial walls; this force is measured as blood pressure.

High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when very small arteries (arterioles) tighten.  Your heart has to work harder to pump blood through the smaller space and the pressure inside the vessels grows.  The constant excess pressure on the artery walls weakens them making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis.

HOW IS CORONARY HEART DISEASE DIAGNOSED?

There are a number of ways to diagnose coronary heart disease. Your physician will probably use a number to make a definitive diagnosis.

A coronary angiogram uses a dye inserted into your arteries and an x-ray to see how the blood flows through your heart. The picture taken, the angiogram, will show any atherosclerosis.

Another test is an electrocardiogram.  This test records the electrical activity of your heart.  An electrocardiogram measures the rate and regularity of heartbeats, the size and position of the heart chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart, and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart. It is a non-invasive procedure.

CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONS

  • ARRHYTHMIA
  • CARDIAC ARREST
  • CHOLESTEROL
  • HEART ATTACK
  • STROKE
  • PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE (PAD)
  • HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (HBP)
  • PERICARDITIS
  • METABOLIC SYNDROME
  • CARDIAC REHAB
  • CONGENITAL HEART DEFECTS
TRANSFER MY PRESCRIPTIONS

CONTACT US AT OUR FAMILY PHARMACY TODAY TO DISCUSS YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH AND HOW WE CAN HELP.

BY CENTRALIZING YOUR MEDICATIONS AT OUR FAMILY PHARMACY WE ARE ABLE TO BETTER MANAGE YOUR HEALTH.

HEALTH INFORMATION LINKS

EXTERNAL LINKS ON HEART HEALTH:

THE FOLLOWING LINKS PROVIDED HELPS YOU GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF YOUR HEART.