Month: August 2018

Understanding The Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease

When it comes to cardiovascular disease or CVD, there are two types of risk factors – those you can control and those you cannot. Knowing the different risk factors, both controllable and uncontrollable can help you take proper steps to stay healthy and keep problems at bay.

Factors You Can Control

Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is the leading cause of premature death due to cardiovascular disease. The high pressure overworks and weakens the heart muscles, resulting in cardiovascular problems. Those who have hypertension are also more likely to develop other complications.

Diabetes

Diabetes or high blood sugar increases the risk of cardiovascular problems about 2 to 3 times. The higher the sugar levels, the higher the risk. Unfortunately, diabetes is often diagnosed too late, resulting in serious complications such as strokes, blindness, amputations and CVD.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Leading a sedentary lifestyle is the 4th leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Insufficient physical activity can put you at higher risk for hypertension, diabetes and obesity, all of which are precursors for CVD. Engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity 3-4 times a week can lower your risk significantly.

Obesity

People who are overweight usually also have high blood sugar, high blood pressure and glucose intolerance. All of these conditions put considerable pressure on the arteries and heart muscles, resulting in cardiovascular disease.

High Cholesterol

Statistics indicate that high cholesterol is responsible for about 1/3rd ischaemic heart disease globally. When your cholesterol level is high, fatty deposits form within the blood vessels. These fatty deposits narrow the diameter of the blood vessels, obstructing the free flow of blood to the heart. This insufficient blood flow weakens and damages the cardiovascular muscles increasing the risk of stroke.

Using Tobacco

Smoking or ingesting tobacco hardens the arteries and obstructs blood flow to the heart. As much as 10 % of all related problems are related to tobacco use, especially smoking. Some studies have shown that the risk reduces significantly within 2 years of abstaining from tobacco use.

Unhealthy Diet

What you eat plays a huge role in leading to cardiovascular disease or protecting you from it. Consuming too much salt, processed foods or saturated fats and not enough vegetables, fruit and fish are detrimental to the health of your heart. A healthy diet consisting mainly of vegetables, fruit and fish reduces the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, which in turn reduces the risk of related disease.

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

Age, gender and family history are the three uncontrollable risk factors for CVD. While the factors themselves cannot be controlled, going for regular checkups is necessary so that proper precautionary measures can be put in place.

The doctors at Trinity Medical Group have had several years experience with diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease. If you have any of the risk factors, don’t wait till it’s too late. Call Trinity Medical and make an appointment today. Also check out our new Blog Post on Symptoms of Cardiovascular Disease.

What Is Bradycardia?

Bradycardia is a type of arrhythmia characterized by reduced heart rate, which is less than 60 beats per minute (bpm). It can be considered as a variation of the norm in well-trained athletes, but most often it accompanies various cardiovascular pathologies. Slow heart rate is manifested by fatigue, semi-conscious state or transient loss of consciousness, cold sweats, darkening in the eyes, chest pain, dizziness, unstable levels of blood pressure; although, it can be asymptomatic as well.

If a person experiences any of the above symptoms, he or she should seek medical advice as soon as possible, since bradycardia can cause the following complications:

• Stokes-Adams attacks – periodic loss of consciousness. Such faints are followed by general muscle spasms, the pulse becomes too slow or undetectable, skin cover becomes very pale and breathing – deep;
• Sudden cardiac arrest;
• Arterial hypertension or unstable blood pressure;
• Coronary heart disease, effort or rest (unstable) angina pectoris;
• Development of chronic circulatory failure.

Pathological bradycardia can be the symptom of the following:
• Hypothyroidism – reduced production of thyroid hormones;
• Cardiovascular disorders like myocardial infarction, endocarditis or myocarditis;
• Acute intoxication (lead, pesticides, nicotine, narcotic substances);
• Traumatic brain injury, increased intracranial pressure;
• Infections such as typhoid, viral hepatitis, sepsis;
• Side effect of certain medications, for example, beta-blockers, cardiac glycosides, etc.

However, regardless of the cause of bradycardia, disturbed function of the sinus node (it means it cannot synthesize electrical impulses with the rate over 60 bpm) or inadequate spread of the impulses through the conduction pathways lie at the heart of this condition.

Preventive measures of bradycardia may include control and management of blood pressure and heart rate, healthy diet (reduced fat and salt consumption), smoking cessation and adequate alcohol consumption, maintenance of the work-rest regimen, fresh air, and regular physical activity. Annual medical check-ups will help to detect and cure any type of bradycardia.

Here are the basic principles of bradycardia treatment:
• If the heart rate is less than 60 bpm but no diseases of the cardiovascular system or other body organs are found, it’s enough to apply preventive measures;
• The treatment of an underlying disease that provokes bradycardia;
• Change in the medications that can cause bradycardia;
• Severe bradycardia (heart rate less than 40 beats per minute) that leads to the development of heart failure can require a surgery to implant a pacemaker.

Dangerous forms of bradycardia require emergency treatment and hospitalization of the patient. Self-treatment is not an option.