Heart disease is a name given to a variety of conditions that affect the performance of the heart. There are certain disturbances in the action of the heart without any disease in the organ. Most common of these is palpitation. This may be due to emotional states, such as fear, anger, joy, grief, or anxiety; or to certain drugs or poisons such as may be found in tea, coffee, tobacco, or alcoholic drinks.
As heart failure approaches, the real symptoms of the heart disease appear. Shortness of breath on slight exertion is one of the first symptoms. Distress and fullness after eating are very common. Other early symptoms are weakness and lack of endurance, in the legs particularly; palpitation of the heart with fullness in the chest and a dry cough; dull pain and soreness in the region of the liver and also over the heart. Swelling of the ankles may be one of the first symptoms noticed. It is usually worse in the evening and disappears during sleep. Weakness increases until the patient finds himself utterly exhausted on the slightest exertion. He is restless and sleepless.
Every person with acute heart disease of any variety should be under the daily care of a physician and everyone with chronic heart disease should be seen frequently by a physician. A common misconception about the heart is that once it is affected, there is the permanent difficulty, with chronic invalidism and early death. Nothing is further from the truth. The rugged heart often makes an excellent recovery in the course of time. Rest, both physical and mental, is a valuable remedy. The patient must choose food that will not cause gas and indigestion, and guard against emotional outbursts, especially anger.
1. Types of Heart Diseases.
Important examples of heart disease include:
i. Angina, in which there is poor blood circulation to the heart.
ii. Heart Attack, in which there is the death of part of the heart muscle.
iii. Arrhythmia, in which the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat is abnormal.
iv. Atherosclerosis, in which the arteries harden. It is a build-up of cholesterol and other fat substances within the walls of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease and can develop in any artery in the body. It is a common disorder of the arteries.
v. Rheumatic, this was formerly one of the most serious forms of heart disease of childhood and adolescence. This disease involves damage to the entire heart and its membranes. It is a complication of rheumatic fever and usually occurs after attacks of rheumatic fever. The incidence of this condition has been greatly reduced by widespread use of antibiotics effective against the streptococcal bacterium that causes rheumatic fever.
vi. Myocarditis, it’s the inflammation or degeneration of the heart muscle. This can be due to a complication during or after various viral, bacterial or parasitic infectious diseases, such as polio, influenza, rubella, or rheumatic fever. This can be caused by several diseases such as syphilis, goitre, endocarditis, or hypertension. It may be associated with dilation (enlargement due to the weakness of the heart muscle) or with hypertrophy (overgrowth of the muscle tissue).
2. Know the signs of a heart attack.
During a heart attack, men often have these symptoms:
i. Pain or discomfort in the Centre of the chest.
ii. Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
iii. Other symptoms, such as shortness of breath breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
3. The basics of stroke.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death for men. The stroke occurs when part of the brain does not get the blood it needs. Then, brain cells die.
There are two types of stroke.
i. An ischemic (iss-kee-mik) stroke. This happens when blood is blocked from getting to the brain.
ii. A hemorrhagic (heh-muh-ra-jik) stroke. This happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and blood bleeds into the brain.
A person might also have a “mini-stroke.” This happens when, for a short time, less blood than normal gets to the brain. You may have some signs of a full stroke, or you may not notice any signs at all. But it only lasts a few minutes up to 24 hours. Then you’re back to normal. Many people don’t even know they’ve had it. However, a “mini-stroke” is a sign of a full stroke to come, so it’s important to know the signs of a stroke.
4. Know the signs of Stroke.
The signs of a stroke happen suddenly and are different from the signs of a heart attack. Look for these signs:
i. Weakness or numbness on one side of your body.
iii. loss of balance
v. Trouble talking or understanding speech
vi. A headache
viii. Trouble walking or seeing.
Remember: Even if you have a “mini-stroke” you may have some of these signs.
5. 12 Steps to a healthy heart;
i. Do not smoke: It is no surprise that smoking hurts your heart. So if you smoke, try to quit.
ii. Get your cholesterol tested: If it is high (above 200), talk to your doctor or nurse about losing weight (if you are overweight) and getting more active. Ask if there is the medicine that may help.
iii. Know your blood pressure: Your heart moves blood through your body. If it is hard for your heart to do this, your heart works harder and your blood pressure will rise. Have it checked to make sure you’re on track! It is high (systolic above 139 and diastolic above 89), talk to your doctor or nurse about how to lower it.
iv. Get tested for diabetes: Diabetes can raise your chances of getting heart disease. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar levels in check! This is the best way for you to take care of yourself and your heart.
v. Eat heart-healthy foods: Whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruits. Choose lean meats and low-fat cheese and dairy products. Limit foods that have lots of saturated fat, like butter, whole milk, baked goods, ice cream, fatty meats and cheese.
vi. Keep a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese raises your risk for heart disease.
vii. Eat less salt: Choose foods salt. Use spices, herbs, lemon, and lime instead of salt. This is really important if you have high blood pressure.
viii. Do not drink too much of alcohol: Too much alcohol raises blood pressure and can raise your risk of stroke and other problems.
ix. Get moving: Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, if not all days of the week.
x. Take your medicine: If your doctor has prescribed medicine to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, take it exactly as you have been told to take it.
xi. Take steps to treat your sleep problems: If you snore loudly, have been told you stop breathing at times when you sleep and are very sleepy during the day, you may have sleep apnea. If you don’t treat it, it raises your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk with your doctor or nurse about treating this problem.