Coronary heart disease overview

30 Jan
2018
By Marie

Heart muscles require uninterrupted and sufficient supply of blood to pump blood. The coronary arteries which run along the surface of the heart, pick up oxygen-rich blood from the aorta and furnish the heart. In coronary heart disease, a combination of calcium, fatty material, proteins and inflammatory cells deposit along the inner walls of the coronary arteries. This leads to the formation of plaques. They differ in size. They are soft and spongy on the inside and hard on the outside.

Formation of plaques within the coronary arteries makes them narrow. This hinders smooth flow of blood through them and the heart does not receive adequate oxygenated blood. As a result, the heart muscle cells starve for oxygen and soon they start dying. This damage is permanent and can’t be reversed. The slowing of blood flow may cause angina or chest pain. If the plaques totally block a coronary artery, it may lead to a heart attack or a fatal rhythm disturbance (sudden cardiac arrest). Coronary heart disease is a major cause of disability and death.

A human heart is four-chambered that is it consists of four separate compartments: an atrium/auricle and ventricle on the right and an atrium/auricle and a ventricle on the left side of the heart.

Veins collect de-oxygenated or carbon-dioxide-rich blood coming from all the body parts and pour it into the right atrium. This blood then flows into the right ventricle, from where it is pumped to the lungs for purification. After purification, the oxygen-rich blood enters the left atrium. From there it flows into the left ventricle and is pumped at high pressure into the arteries. The entire process makes one heartbeat.

The pumping action of heart requires great energy in order to pump blood to each and every cell of the body. The heart muscles need to contract with great energy to keep the blood flowing throughout the body and for that, they must receive plenty of oxygen and nutrient supply coming via the coronary arteries. These arteries are usually quite flexible, elastic and strong.

There are 3 major coronary arteries, each one of them supplying different regions of the heart. The right coronary artery provides oxygenated blood to the right ventricle of the heart and a lower portion of the left ventricle. The left coronary artery supplies the left side of the heart. It is divided into LAD and LCX. The left anterior descending (LAD) branch furnishes the front part of the heart and the left circumflex (LCX) branch furnishes the left lateral and back side of the heart.

In children, the inner lining of the coronary arteries is very smooth and allows easy flow of blood. As a person ages, the cholesterol and calcium contents form plaque deposits along the inner walls of these arteries, making them thicker and less elastic.

As blood hits the plaques during each heartbeat, they may crack open. This promotes blood clotting. Blood clots may further decrease the blood flow, causing severe chest pain (angina), or complete blockage of the artery.

Coronary heart disease causes and symptoms

Coronary heart disease causes

Coronary heart disease can occur due to any problem with the coronary arteries which prevents the heart from getting sufficient oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood. Several factors speed up the deposition of fat and calcium along the inner lining of coronary arteries. This makes them thicker and less elastic. This is known as atherosclerosis and is the most common cause of coronary heart disease.

Atherosclerosis or narrowing of the coronary arteries obstructs and slows down the flow of blood supplying the heart muscles. This makes the heart muscles deficient in oxygen and nutrients. Lack of adequate blood is called ischemia, so coronary heart disease is sometimes called as ischemic heart disease.

There are several risk factors which are related to the cause of coronary heart disease. The following are the most common:

  • Inheritance or heredity: Coronary heart disease runs in the family.
  • Use of tobacco: This includes chewing tobacco and smoking any form of tobacco such as, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.
  • High blood cholesterol: Variations in normal levels of cholesterol in the blood that is, high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol.
  • High-fat diet
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Emotional stress
  • Type A personality characterized by impatience, aggressiveness, competitiveness, etc.

Coronary heart disease symptoms

The common symptoms of coronary heart disease include:

  • Angina pectoris which is a condition in which chest pain arises due to exertion. It may be relieved by rest.
  • Shortness of breath on exertion
  • Pain in jaw, back or arms, especially on left side of the body, either during exertion or rest.
  • Palpitations which include irregular, rapid or strong heartbeats due to exertion, agitation or illness.
  • Light-headedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Weakness on exertion or at rest
  • Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat

The most devastating symptom of coronary heart disease is sudden and unexpected cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest takes place when the heart stops beating, suddenly and without any warning.

Cardiac arrest usually occurs in people who have had suffered from heart attacks, but it may occur as the first symptom of coronary heart disease.

Most people display some symptoms or discomfort.

Symptoms generally occur while doing some activity or exercise. This is because the coronary arteries are blocked and fail in meeting the increased demand for nutrients and oxygen by the heart muscles.

When to seek medical care?

Inform your healthcare provider if you notice any of the following symptoms, which suggest angina (chest pain):

  • Chest pain, fullness, pressure or a feeling of indigestion after physical exertion, which may not be relieved by rest
  • Pain in shoulder or arm involving left, right, or both sides during physical or mentally stressful activity
  • Pain in jaw which is unexplained by another cause like, a sore tooth
  • Shortness of breath after exertion or walking uphill
  • Fainting spell which lasts for a few seconds to a few minutes. It happens when the brain doesn’t get sufficient oxygen.
  • unexplained vomiting, nausea or, sweating
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Palpitations

The most important factor is time. Each year thousands of people die because they ignore these symptoms and do not seek medical attention on quickly. This may prove to be the difference between life and death.

The most common symptoms of heart attack are as follows:

  • Continuous or prolonged chest pain, chest pressure, or a feeling of heartburn
  • Pain in shoulder or arm (left or right) or abdomen. It doesn’t go away on it’s own.
  • Shortness of breath after minimal activity or while resting
  • Blackout spells
  • Unexplained, excessive sweating, nausea, or vomiting
  • Recurrent chest pain or uneasiness at rest

Exams and tests

The symptoms of coronary heart disease are uncertain which means they can be caused due to many different conditions. During diagnosis, your healthcare provider will ask you questions about your symptoms, the medications you take, your general health and specific medical problems and, your medical and surgical history. He will also do a physical examination, blood test, an ECG or electrocardiogram, lab tests and imaging tests like X-ray or CT scan.

  • Blood tests are done to check your blood cells, the chemical composition of your blood, etc. to predict a heart attack.
  • ECG is a painless test which is done to determine the electrical activity of the heart. The test gives clues about the underlying cause of cardiac symptoms.
  • Chest X-ray can show abnormal changes in the size or shape of the heart.

If you are diagnosed to have angina symptoms or your healthcare provider infer that you have a coronary heart disease, you may have an exercise (treadmill) stress test. In this test, ECG tracings are measured before, during and, after stressing the heart by exercise. The accuracy of this test is 60-70%.

If a blockage is found in the coronary arteries then, you may undergo a nuclear (radionuclide) stress test. This test uses a radioactive tracer to identify the quantity of blood flowing into different parts of the heart muscles. This test is expensive but it’s quite successful.

More exams and tests

Echocardiography

Echocardiography is based on SONAR (SOund Navigation And Ranging) technique. It uses sound waves to create an image of the heart as it beats. The movements of the ventricular walls are compared when at rest and stress. The heart can be stressed either by exercise on a treadmill or by administration of a drug. The motion of the walls drops during stress if the coronary artery supplying that part of the heart is severely blocked.

Electron beam CT scan

Electron beam CT scan is a non-invasive method and does not require introduction of instruments into the body. It measures the amount of calcium deposited in the plaques of coronary arteries. It can detect blockages of only 10-20% of an artery, which may not be visible in other tests.

Coronary angiography

Coronary angiography by cardiac catheterization is the best way to estimate coronary heart disease. It is an invasive test as it requires a long, thin plastic tube (catheter) to be threaded into the opening of your coronary arteries from a blood vessel in either your groin or your arm. It is the only test that helps a cardiologist know whether to treat you with a by-pass surgery, stent placement, a less-invasive technique like, angioplasty or just medications.

Medical Treatment: Medications

Treatment for coronary artery disease aims towards balancing blood supply to the heart with heart oxygen demand and preventing further damage. Following are the medications which are effective in the treatment of the disease and should only be taken on a doctor’s prescription:

  • Aspirin: Aspirin is a blood thinner. It reduces the possibility of clot formation in the coronary artery and thereby, prevents a heart attack. The common side effects of aspirin are ulcers and bleeding problems.
  • Beta-blockers: They help in reducing the heart’s demand for oxygen by decreasing the heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Nitroglycerin: It reduces the heart’s oxygen demand and also increases the oxygen supply by dilating the coronary arteries. This is how it brings relief from chest pain.
  • Calcium channel blockers: They improve blood flow in the coronary arteries by causing dilation in them. They also lower blood pressure and slow heart rate.
  • ACE inhibitors: Angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors work by dilating blood vessels, increasing blood flow. They are very useful in people with diabetes and those with weakened heart muscles.
  • Statins: These drugs work by reducing the amount of cholesterol and other fats in the blood. This lowers the chance of plaque formation in the lining of the blood vessels and thus, reduces the progression of coronary heart disease. They prevent repeat heart attacks.

Medical Treatment: Invasive Procedures

When medical treatment is not enough for the worsening symptoms of angina, you may need an invasive procedure to clear the blocked artery. These procedures are complicated and are performed by a cardiologist.

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)

This procedure is similar to cardiac catheterization or coronary angiography but it can be used for both treating as well as diagnosing a disease.

  • This time, a stronger tube (guide catheter) is inserted into an artery in the groin or arm and a hair-thin guide wire is threaded via it into the coronary artery.
  • A much thinner catheter is threaded over the guide wire into the blocked artery. There is a tiny balloon at the end of this thinner wire.
  • The balloon is carefully positioned at the blockage and is inflated to widen the artery and improve the blood flow. It is then withdrawn.

Stent

A stent comprises of a small, sieved, coil-like metallic tube mounted over a balloon.

  • A stent is inserted and positioned at the blockage. The balloon is inflated, which expands the stent.
  • The balloon is then withdrawn but the stent is kept at that site. It prevents the artery from narrowing again.

Like arteries treated with angioplasty alone, arteries treated with a stent can eventually get blocked again. However, the stent is a longer solution for many people.

How to Coronary Heart Disease Self-Care at Home

27 Jan
2018
By Marie

Coronary Heart Disease Self-Care at Home

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque build up in the interior portion of the coronary arteries. These arteries deliver oxygen-loaded blood to your heart muscle. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis. The build-up of plaque occurs over many years.Over time, plaque can thicken or rupture. Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-loaded blood to the heart.

If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form on its surface. A large blood clot can mainly or completely block blood circulation through a coronary artery. Over time, ruptured plaque also hardens and narrows the coronary arteries.If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, heart attack or an angina can occur.

Coronary Heart Disease Self-Care at Home

Angina is chest pain or distress. It may experience like squeezing and pressure in your chest. The pain also can take place in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina pain may even feel like indigestion.

A heart attack occurs if the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle is cut off. If blood flow is not restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to expire. Without immediate treatment, a heart attack can lead to severe health problems or death.

Over time, Coronary Heart Disease CHD can weaken the heart muscle and lead to arrhythmias and heart attack. Heart failure is a condition in which your heart can’t supply an adequate amount of blood to meet your body’s needs. Arrhythmia is an inconvenience with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.

Home remedies for coronary heart disease

  1. Garlic: Several studies have found garlic to be beneficial for the condition like coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and, high blood pressure. Garlic improves circulation and has antithrombotic and antiplatelet aggregatory effects.
  • Eat one or two freshly crushed garlic cloves daily. If you find the taste too strong, drink a glass of milk after eating the garlic.
  1. Turmeric: Turmeric can help prevent atherosclerosis. Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin that helps maintain heart health by reducing cholesterol oxidation, plaque build-up and clot formation.
  • Use turmeric regularly in your cooking.
  • You can also boil one teaspoon of turmeric powder in one cup of water or milk. Drink it once or twice daily for several weeks to a few months.
  1. Alfalfa:

Alfalfa has been found to be beneficial in preventing cardiovascular problems as it helps reduce cholesterol levels and plaque build-up.

  • Alfalfa tea or juice extracted from its leaves is so good to drink it for few times a day for a few months.
  1. Arjuna: Arjuna is an important Ayurvedic herb for heart conditions. It is known as a natural cardio-tonic and cardiac restorative. The herb strengthens the cardiac muscle, decrease arterial congestion.
  • Add one-half teaspoon of Arjuna tree bark powder and a little honey to a glass of lukewarm water. Drink this two times daily for a few months.

Conclusion: you can follow the tips for the natural treatment of coronary heart disease and in the case of emergency you can call your doctor immediately.

High blood pressure overview

05 Jan
2018
By Marie

High blood pressure is a widespread disease in which blood flows from beginning to end in the blood vessels (arteries) at the higher pressure than normal pressures.

Measuring Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the power of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart push’s blood. High blood pressure, is known as hypertension, happens when this force is too elevated. Health care workers check blood pressure readings the same way for adult, teen, children. They use a gauge, electronic sensor or stethoscope, and a blood pressure cuff. With this equipment, they measure:

Systolic Pressure:  Blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood

Diastolic Pressure:  Blood pressure when the heart is at relax mode between beats

Health care workers write blood pressure numbers with the systolic number above the diastolic number. For example:-

118/76 mmHg
People read “118 over 76”
milli meters of mercury
.

Normal Blood Pressure: Normal blood pressure for adults is defined as a systolic pressure below 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure below 80 mmHg. It is common for blood pressures to fluctuate when you wake up, sleep, or are nervous or exited. When you are energetic, it is normal for your blood pressure to amplify. However, once the activity stops, your blood pressure get back to your standard baseline range.

Blood pressure on average rises with age and body size. Newborn infants often have exceptionally low blood pressure range, that taken as normal for babies, while grown-up teens have numbers similar to adults.

Abnormal Blood Pressure

Abnormal elevation in blood pressure is defined as having blood pressures higher than 120/80 mmHg. The subsequent table below outlines and defines high blood pressure severity levels.

Stages of High Blood Pressure in Adults

Stages Systolic
(top number)
  Diastolic
(bottom number)
Prehypertension 120–139 OR 80–89
High blood pressure Stage 1 140–159 OR 90–99
High blood pressure Stage 2 160 or higher OR 100 or higher

The ranges in the chart are blood pressure guides for adults who do not have any short-term severe illnesses. People with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should keep their blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg.

Although blood pressure increases seen in pre-hypertension are fewer than those used to diagnose high blood pressure, pre-hypertension can develop to high blood pressure and should be taken critically. Time after time high blood pressure weakens and damages your blood vessels, which can lead to tricky situation.

Types of High Blood Pressure

There are 2 main types of high blood pressure: First is primary high blood pressure and second is secondary high blood pressure.

Primary High Blood Pressure

Primary, or necessary, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. This category of high blood pressure tends to extend over years as someone ages.

Secondary High Blood Pressure

Secondary high blood pressure is caused by an additional medical condition or use of certain medicines. This type usually resolves after the cause is treated or isolated.

High blood pressure causes

The exact cause of high blood pressure is not well-known, but quite a lot of factors and conditions may play a role in its development, such as:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorder
  • Sleep apnea

Other factors are environmental factors: Air pollution may cause high blood pressure regardless to how long you are exposed to it.

Inhaling air pollutants may show the way to the development of high blood pressure, according to an analysis available in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Hypertension. Earlier studies have attempted to link air pollution to high blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension; however, the results were controversial and unpredictable. The recent study found that both short- and long-term exposure to air pollutants commonly associated with coal airborne dust, burning, vehicle exhaust, and dirt may influence whether somebody will develop high blood pressure.

 High blood pressure symptoms

In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure hypertension, which can lead to kidney failure, heart stroke, heart attack, and eye problems if untreated. The only way to come across if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is particularly important if you have a close family member who has high blood pressure

If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be assured symptoms to look out for, including:

  • A severe headache
  • Fatigue  or confusion
  • vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Blood in the urine

If you have any of these hypertension symptoms, see a heart specialist without any further delay. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

When to Seek Medical Care

Hypertensive emergency

A hypertensive urgent situation exists when blood pressure reaches levels that are destructing organs. Hypertensive emergencies, in general, occur at blood pressure level exceeding 180 systolic OR 120 diastolic but can take place at even lower levels in patients whose blood pressure had not been up to that time high.

The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this array can be harsh and comprise of:-

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Damage to the eyes and kidneys
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Eclampsia
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Aortic dissection
  • Angina

If you get a blood pressure reading of 180 or higher on top or 110 or higher value on the bottom, and are having any symptoms of likely organ damage (chest pain, shortness of breath, backbone pain, numbness/weakness, change in visualization, difficulty in speaking) do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Search for emergency medical help without delay. Call 9-1-1. If you can’t access the emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the hospital straight away.

High blood pressure treatment

You can take valuable steps to lower your blood pressure with changes to your lifestyle and by taking prescriptions.

In all cases, you can benefit from making some simple lifestyle changes. You are also suggested to take medication will depend on your blood pressure level and your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack, kidney failure or stroke.

  • If your blood pressure is constantly above 140/90mmHg (or 135/85mmHg at residence) but your danger of cardiovascular disease is low – you should be able to minor your blood pressure by making some changes to your lifestyle.
  • If your blood pressure is constantly above 140/90mmHg (or 135/85mmHg at home) but below 160/100mmHg – you will be offered medication to minor your blood pressure if you have the active or high risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • If your blood pressure is constantly above 160/100mmHg – you will be suggested for medication to lower your blood pressure.

Lifestyle changes

Below are several changes you could make to your lifestyle to decrease high blood pressure. Some of these will minor your blood pressure in a matter of weeks, others may take longer.

  • Cut your salt intake
  • Eat a healthy, low-fat, balanced diet, including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Do yoga
  • Be active
  • Cut down on alcohol.
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink less coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks such as cola

 High Blood Pressure Medications

There are numerous classes of blood pressure medications. Each class lower the blood pressure in a different manner.

Diuretics

Diuretics enhance urination which reduces the sodium and fluid in the body. That can help minor the blood pressure because it lowers blood amount. Mild hypertension can some time be treated using diuretics alone. Examples of diuretics include:

  • Bumetanide
  • Chlorthalidone

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers lower blood pressure by acting directly on the heart. These high blood pressure medications reduce heart rate and force of pumping, as well as reduce blood volume. Beta blockers include:

  • Acebutolol
  • Tenormin

ACE inhibitors

Angiotensin is a hormone in the body that causes blood vessels to narrow. The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors diminish the production of angiotensin and, in turn, that helps minor blood pressure. Examples of ACE inhibitors include:

  • Benazepril hydrochloride
  • Captopril

Calcium channel blockers

Calcium increases the potency and force of contractions in the heart and blood vessels. Blocking its access to smooth muscle tissue reduces this consequence. Calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure by soothing blood vessels and reducing heart rate. Examples of calcium channel blockers include:

  • Amlodipine besylate
  • Clevidipine

Anti-platelet drugs- Clopidogrel

15 Dec
2017
By Marie

2017-12-15_1139

These are among the most widely used drugs in the world. Antiplatelet drugs are the part of the class of drugs that are used to decrease the platelet aggregation. The drug is quite effective in preventing the formation of thrombus. Antiplatelet drugs are used to decrease the heart attack risks and prevent the strokes. The drugs are also known to treat those people who are suffering from the problems of blocked arteries in the legs.

What are Antiplatelet drugs and who needs them?

Antiplatelet drugs are used to prevent the blood platelets from clumping together to form a blood clot. Blood platelets clump together if you bleed to form a mesh or network-like structure to prevent the blood from flowing endlessly. It is an essential feature of blood to form the clot to prevent the loss of blood, but in some people, blood clot can be formed in the arteries or veins in places where they have become very narrow due to the deposition of fat or cholesterol.

Such area where the fat/cholesterol deposition occurs is called plaque. When the blood platelets flow over these areas of plaques, then they clump together to form a clot. As the artery gets blocked completely due to the formation of clot and deposition of plaque, then the heart muscles have to work more hard to take the blood through the artery. This can initiate a mini-stroke or a stroke if the clot is formed in the artery located in the brain or connecting the brain with the body. Similarly, a patient with coronary artery disease can face heart attack or stroke due to the poor blood supply.

Antiplatelet drugs help to prevent such instances. These drugs prevent the potential risks of clot formation.

People who need antiplatelet drugs:

Certain people might need an antiplatelet drug treatment due to various health reasons. A few people who need antiplatelet drugs are:

  1. People who are at a high risk of having a heart disease, but have not been diagnosed yet
  2. People who are having a heart disease along with ‘stable’ angina.
  3. People who have a heart disease, but with an unstable angina pain
  4. People who have acute coronary syndrome
  5. People who have undergone a bypass surgery/an angioplasty
  6. People who have had mini strokes
  7. People who have had strokes
  8. People who have coronary artery disease or peripheral artery disease

Classification or different types of antiplatelet drugs:

The different types of antiplatelet drugs are classified into four types:

  1. ADP antagonists/thienopyridines:
  1. COX inhibitor drugs:
  • Aspirin
  1. Phosphodiesterase inhibitors:
  • Dipyridamole
  1. GP lib/via inhibitors:
  • Tirofiban
  • Eptifibatide
  • Abciximab

How to decide which is the best antiplatelet drug suited for your condition:

The doctor will take into account many things before he decides the best antiplatelet medicine suited for your use. The doctor will consider the risks or side-effects it might pose to your health.  Safety issues like allergy and effectiveness are also considered. Cost issues are also taken into account before choosing a drug. So taking different factors into consideration like effectiveness, safety, side effects and cost, following drugs have suggested under different clinical circumstances:

  1. Aspirin Plus Clopidogrel: for people with coronary artery disease/ had cases of heart attack or stroke or those who have stent implantation
  2. Clopidogrel only: for those who are allergic to aspirin or for those who are diagnosed with coronary heart disease
  3. Aspirin only: for those with peripheral vascular disease
  4. Aspirin/ aspirin plus dipyridine(Extended-release) / clopidogrel: for those you have had stroke or mini-strokes

The mechanism of action of different antiplatelet drugs is different. If too many or multiple antiplatelet drugs are used then drug toxicity chances, like gastrointestinal bleeding, also increases.

How to Prevent High Cholesterol?

09 Sep
2016
By Marie

Prevent High Cholesterol

These days a number of people suffer from cardiovascular diseases such as heart diseases or stroke; the major reason found behind every heart problem is High cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in the blood can actually be serious whereas high blood cholesterol itself would not cause any symptoms so people remain quite unaware when their high cholesterol level gets high. It’s been known that about 71 million American people have high cholesterol level from which hardly 1 out of 3 adults has the condition under control.

If I have to define cholesterol, then in simple words I would say it is a waxy or a fat like substance that is found in all cells of the body. Cholesterol is a need of our body to make hormones, vitamin D and substances that let us digest foods. It can be found in the foods that we usually eat. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream and is carried in small packages known as lipoproteins. These small packages are largely made up of fat i.e. lipid on inside and proteins on outside. The two kinds of lipoproteins that carry the cholesterol throughout the body are given below. It is important that one maintain healthy levels of both:

  • LDL or Low density lipoprotein– Sometimes known as bad cholesterol. The high LDL cholesterol may lead to build up of cholesterol in our arteries. The higher is the LDL level in blood, the more is the chance of getting heart diseases.
  • HDL or High density lipoprotein– Sometimes known as good cholesterol. HDL is responsible to carry cholesterol from other body parts back to the liver. The liver tends to remove cholesterol from the body. The higher the HDL cholesterol level, lower is the chance of developing any heart diseases.

Another type of lipid that comes from the fat in the food is Triglycerides. The energy that comes from the food if does not get used up immediately gets converted into triglycerides and transports to the fat cells for storage. In this way it provides us with an important source of stored energy. Also most of the triglycerides are stored as a fat, and the low levels are found in the blood. Raised level of blood triglycerides along with high LDL may enhance the risk of heart diseases especially in that case if you already suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure.

What causes high cholesterol?

There could be certain factors which may contribute to you having high cholesterol level. Given below are some:

  • Eating a diet rich in saturated fats may increase cholesterol level
  • Being physically inactive or lack of exercise
  • Being obese or having a body mass index of 30 or more
  • Consuming liquor more than the recommended daily amount can increase the level of triglycerides in the blood
  • Those who smoke
  • The cholesterol level starts rising with an increase in age and can get affected by gender. A man younger than 55, could have high cholesterol than any woman. On the other hand if you are a woman over 55 and past the menopause, then your cholesterol level may slightly increase

Genes also plays a major factor in development of high cholesterol; so it may be caused by a condition that may run in the family called hypercholesterolaemia (FH). Uncontrolled diabetes, certain kidney or liver diseases are some other conditions which may cause the level of cholesterol or triglycerides to be high.

Treatment for high cholesterol

Now in order to get rid of high cholesterol, what utmost important is to follow healthy lifestyle? Proper exercising and eating a healthy balanced diet are the first line of defence against the high cholesterol. If you get successful in doing this, then the cholesterol level will remain in control.  But if the cholesterol level still gets high, then doctor may prescribe some medications. The common medications include

  • Statins– The choices are: Atorvastatin, Fluvastatin, Lovastatin and Pravastatin
  • Bile-acid-binding resins- The medications Cholestyramine (Prevalite), Colesevelam (Welchol) and Colestipol (Colestid)
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors- The medication Ezetimibe (Zetia) helps to reduce blood cholesterol by limiting the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Zetia can also be used in combination with statin drugs.
  • Combination cholesterol absorption inhibitor and statin- The combination drug ezetimibe-simvastatin (Vytorin) is effective to decrease both absorption of dietary cholesterol in the small intestine and production of cholesterol in the liver.

How to get rid of high cholesterol?

Diet to be followed should be low in saturated fats and low in fat overall. One must cut down food items like biscuits, cakes, pastries, red meat and butter because they tend to be quite high in saturated fats.

Foods that must be added as part of daily routine and to keep cholesterol level in check are mentioned below:

  • Avocados– They are found to contain a substantial amount of good fats and fibre that largely helps to boost good cholesterol and lower bad one.
  • Barley– It is a great food item known to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides level. As per the study, the cholesterol lowering effect is caused due to beta glucan that is a type of fibre present in barley. Further it has shown to reduce cholesterol level ranging from 4-10% depending on how much barley one consumes.
  • Brown rice– Brown rice is an excellent food for health. The nutrients present are: B vitamins, selenium, phytonutrients and magnesium. Having a cup of brown rice may provide about 14% of daily recommended value for fibre. High fibre is good to lower blood sugar and controls cholesterol.
  • Broccoli- This is another food item which is good and have cholesterol lowering properties. Try to have steamed broccoli in place of raw broccoli to lower cholesterol level.
  • Cinnamon– Half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day could reduce blood sugar, triglycerides and bad cholesterol. You can have it by adding in to your green tea or use it in food to add some flavours.
  • Cluster beans– Being rich in dietary fibre, the food is good in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Fenugreek seeds– If you consume fenugreek seeds on regular basis, then you could definitely see some improvement in LDL or triglyceride level in the blood. Also fenugreek seeds have shown to control the blood sugar level in people suffering from diabetes.
  • Fatty fish– Salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. As per the scientific evidence, consuming fish rich in fatty acids helps to reduce triglyceride level by 25-30 percent, further it increases HDL level and also reduces the risk of heart problems. As recommended by AHA, eat two servings of fatty fish every week to get its maximum health benefits.
  • Green tea– Green tea contains catechin polyphenols which are good for heart health. Those who drink green tea daily are able to lower their total and LDL cholesterol and has no effects on HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It’s a drink of zero calories when taken without sugar, so is quite good for people who watch their weight.

Apart from eating healthy food, you must do proper exercise to remain fit and to lose some weight. Excess weight too contributes to high cholesterol, so losing 5 to 10 pounds can greatly help to lower total cholesterol level.

So make sure that you quit smoking, stop drinking alcohol and always follow heart healthy lifestyle to prevent high cholesterol and to live a disease free life ever.

What is hypertensions cause, control and treamtnet

09 Sep
2016
By Marie

hypertension cause, control and treatment

Cardiovascular diseases have  influenced  millions of people worldwide, representing a  foremost cause of morbidity and mortality and imposing a significant economic burden upon society. High blood pressure (Hypertension) is a conventional risk factor for cardiovascular disease and from the last decade. It has become one of the prime contributors to the global load of  illness. The  worldwide occurrence of hypertension is more than 1 billion whereas more than 7.1 million deaths may be accredited to hypertension annually.

Detailing hypertension and its causes

The force exerted by the blood on the blood vessels is called  blood pressure (BP), and an  elevated blood pressure is known as hypertension. High blood pressure is an open invitation to various health problems as diabetes, heart problems, and many other critical health issues. Some of the major risk factors are mentioned below:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • High salty diet
  • High intake of alcohol (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

Hypertension is of mainly two types one is primary hypertension also known as   essential hypertension   and secondary hypertension. In the former one, there is no underlying reason for hypertension and people may or may not experience any signs and symptoms. Though the exact reason is unknown,  but the above written factors are the risk factors for the essential hypertension. The latter one is the condition that has an identified reason behind the condition. Kidney diseases, adrenal gland abnormalities, and thyroid diseases are the factors that cause the secondary hypertension.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

The high blood pressure is a condition that produces bare minimum signs and symptoms. Approximately one-third of individuals who have high blood pressure don’t know it. The only way to know high blood pressure is regular checkups. Some of the signs and symptoms are:

  • Severe headache
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty in breathing

If you find  any of the above symptoms immediately, contact with the doctor as untreated hypertension may result in serious health problems like stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and eye problems.

How to control high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can be well managed by medication, diet management and proper exercise. Some remedies for high blood pressure treatment by natural way are as follows:

  1. Exercise regularly – Regular physical activity can lower the elevated blood pressure within just a few weeks.The patients with hypertension can reduce high blood pressure by almost 8 mm Hg over 6 mm Hg with a brisk walk for thirty minutes daily.The exercise helps the heart to  use oxygen more efficiently; that decreases the workload and high blood pressure levels.
  1. Eat a healthy diet- A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products  help  to reduce  the high  blood pressure. DASH (Dietary approach to stop hypertension) is a recommended diet plan for the patients having hypertension.
  • Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables like peas, cantaloupe, tomatoes, orange juice, potatoes, bananas, kidney beans honeydew melon, and dried fruits like prunes and raisins help in lowering blood pressure.
  • Soy or milk protein make down systolic blood pressure.
  • In a study by Tufts University, it was found that participants who sipped 3 cups of hibiscus tea daily reduces systolic blood pressure by 7 points in 6 weeks on average.
  • Restrict salt intake in your diet. Use herbs or spices to add flavor in place of salt.
  • Some herbs have a significant role in lowering blood pressure like Basil, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Garlic, Hawthorn, Celery Seed, French Lavender, Cat’s Claw. Foods having medicinal properties that may help to reduce high blood pressure include water chestnut, Chinese celery, hawthorn berries, turnip, honey and mung beans. Avoid processed food.
  1. Seek the help for snoring- Don’t ignore if your partner is complaining about snoring as it is one of the primary symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. The person with sleep apnea has a higher level of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure. It is advisable to seek proper treatment of sleep apnea that also keeps the blood pressure levels low.
  2. Avoid the stress- Take adequate rest and keep yourself relaxed and calm as they can temporarily increase blood pressure.Yoga and meditation can help to remain stress- free.
  3. Don’t use the tobacco product- Chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco have deleterious effects on our heart blood vessels that can impede their functioning and can harm them.
  4. Drink alcohol moderately- Various studies reveal that a small amount alcohol consumption lowers the elevated blood pressure and increases the HDL, the good fat of the body.It  is very harmful to take it in excess as it increases the blood pressure and triglycerides.
  5. Medicinal Treatment- Various medicines like; Captopril, Amlodipine, Furosemide, Losartan, and Propranolol are present in the market for the treatment of hypertension that are taken only on doctor’s prescription.

Hypertension is an invisible killer that can cause significant serious health problems. It is one of the major risk factor for cardiovascular problems. It is advisable that moment you get diagnosed with high levels of blood pressure, immediately reach for a solution. Intake of healthy diet and exercise helps a lot in decreasing the blood pressure levels. Your little consciousness about your health keeps you healthy. Remain stress-free and safeguard your heart.

Take full sleep to avoid high blood pressure

22 Jan
2016
By Amelia Smith

Take full sleep to avoid high blood pressure

If you sleep less than your body actually requires, then you are likely to become an easy victim of high blood pressure, sooner or later. A strong link between poor sleep and high blood pressure is medically proven. Continue Reading…

Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

25 Dec
2015
By Amelia Smith

Keeping your blood pressure in control is very important, especially if you have diabetes. Having high blood pressure and diabetes together increases the chances of heart attack and other problems.

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Healthy Blood Pressure prevents heart Diseases

16 Dec
2015
By Amelia Smith

Healthy Blood Pressure prevents heart Diseases

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is the assurance that the chances to acquire coronary heart diseases are minimized. Heart disease possesses a huge risk on the body as it can lead to heart attack or stroke.

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Avoid excess use of the internet to check blood pressure

18 Nov
2015
By Max Jones

Different ways to deal with high blood pressure

Teenagers seem to be more affected by the excess use of the Internet than other age groups. So, it’s very important to understand how to keep blood pressure in check and ensure a healthy life, even if you’re living in the virtual world of internet.

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