Health

Cardiac Care – Know The Symptoms & Risk Factors – Save A Life!

Cardiac problems or heart disease talk about several conditions that affect your heart health. This includes coronary artery disease (a kind of blood vessel disease), arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems) and congenital heart defects(heart defects you’re born with). Heart disease is at times interchanged and used with the term ‘cardiovascular disease’ that refers to certain conditions that involve blockage or narrowing of the blood vessels that can cause a heart attack, angina (pain in the chest) or stroke. Other conditions related to heart problems are commonly referred to as heart disease. The term ‘cardiology ‘refers to one of the branches of medical science that deals with heart diseases and their treatment. Many forms of heart disease can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle.

Cardiovascular diseases won’t get diagnosed until and unless you experience a heart attack, heart failure, angina, or stroke. Hence it’s very important to know the symptoms that can help in early detection. Also one should note that the symptoms vary for men and women. Here are some heart diseases and their symptoms for you to get familiar with and become alert.

Atherosclerosis

It is a disease condition in which plaque (deposits of fat, calcium, cholesterol, etc.) develops inside your arteries leading to narrowing and hardening of your arteries.

Symptoms associated with Atherosclerosis:

  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Breathlessness
  • Pain in the neck, throat, jaw, upper abdomen and back
  • Weakness, numbness, and coldness in arms or legs if the blood vessels in that area are constricted

Arrhythmia

In this condition in which your heart beats too rapidly or too slowly with an irregular pattern.

Symptoms associated with Arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat:

  • Tachycardia (quick heartbeat)
  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Quivering chest
  • Giddiness
  • Light-headedness
  • Fainting

Congenital Heart Defects

In this condition, the heart structure will be affected by birth. This defect can affect the heart walls, valves, arteries or veins.

Symptoms associated with Congenital Heart Defects:

In children, soon after birth, the symptoms include

  • Blue skin or pale grey skin(cyanosis)
  • Inflammation in the abdomen, legs and around eyes
  • In infants breathlessness during feeding that can cause poor weight gain

Less life-threatening symptoms that are seen in adulthood are

  • Shortness of breath during physical activity and exercise
  • Fatigue during physical activity and exercise
  • Inflammation in ankles, feet, and knees.

Cardiomyopathy 

In this condition, pumping of blood from the heart to the rest of the body parts are affected which can lead to heart failure.

Symptoms associated with Dilated Cardiomyopathy:

Symptoms appear as the condition worsens, as early stages won’t show any of these.

  • Shortness of breath at rest or with exertion
  • Tiredness
  • Inflammation of ankles, legs, and feet
  • Tachycardia or irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting, light-headedness, and giddiness

Endocarditis

An infection caused to the inner membrane of the heart that separates chambers and valves.

Symptoms associated with Endocarditis:

  • Fever
  • Breathlessness
  • Tiredness
  • Inflammation of abdomen and legs
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Altered heartbeat (tachycardia, Bradycardia or irregular)
  • Unusual spots and rashes on the skin

Valvular Heart Diseases

It is characterized by the damage or defect to one of the four valves of the heart. It can be caused due to narrowing, leaking or improper closing of the valves.

Symptoms associated with Valvular Heart Diseases:

  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Inflammation of ankles and feet
  • Breathlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting

Regular examinations are important to patients with a family history of heart diseases. You may click here https://www.thomsonmedical.com/service/cardiology/ to find a comprehensive list of cardiac investigations that help with early prevention and treatment to reduce the risk factors.

Emergency medical care should be sought if you experience angina, breathlessness, and fainting. Treatments are made easy if detected early. Heart failure, heart attack, aneurysm, peripheral artery disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac arrest are some of the complications of heart diseases.

Who are at risk?

  • Older people are at high risk as aging increases the risk of damaged or narrowed arteries and weakened or thickened heart muscle.
  • Men are at high risk. The risk for women increases after menopause.
  • Family history plays a major role in making you prone to coronary artery disease.
  • High consumption of fat, sugar, and salt can contribute to heart disease development.
  • Smokers are at high risk of heart attacks than non-smokers as nicotine constricts blood vessels and carbon monoxide damages the inner lining of the heart making them more prone to atherosclerosis. 
  • Cancer patients have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy.
  • Hypertension patients are at high risk of heart diseases
  • High cholesterol levels increase the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes condition increases the risk of heart diseases because both have similar risk factors like high blood pressure and obesity
  • Excess body weight worsens the risk factors
  • Stress damages arteries and leads to heart diseases
  • A sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity is directly associated with heart diseases.
  • Poor personal hygiene leads to bacterial and viral infections that will put you at high risk of heart diseases. Poor dental health could also lead to the same.

Besides regular check-ups, leading a healthy lifestyle can prevent and improve many heart diseases. Don’t panic if you have any of the aforementioned symptoms. Be cautious! Quit smoking, manage high BP and cholesterol, and control diabetes.  Do regular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, eat a well-balanced low salt diet, maintain your ideal body weight, reduce stress and practice good personal hygiene. These are the points one shall keep in mind to keep bay heart diseases.

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