Heart Health

Cardiovascular Health and Heart Disease

Heart Disease Defined
The term “heart disease” refers to several different types of heart conditions. The most common type is coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease.

A Public Health Problem:
– Every minute someone dies from a heart disease related event
– Heart disease comprises approximately 25% of all deaths in America.
– In 2008, more than 600,000 individuals died of heart disease in the United States.
– Heart disease is the number one cause of all deaths among men and women.
– In 2008, men were more than 50% of all deaths caused by heart disease.
– Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease.
– In 2008, slightly over 400,000 deaths occurred from coronary heart disease.
– Approximately 800,000 individuals have a heart attack for the first time every year.
– Every 34 seconds someone has a heart attack
– Every year, approximately 500,000 individuals have another heart attack beyond the first or second that
they have already experienced
– In 2010, the cost of coronary heart disease was more than $316 billion dollars.  This includes the cost of
health services, medications, and lost productivity

Death by Race and Ethnicity
The following table demonstrates how heart disease specifically effects the population by race and ethnicity:

Percentage Of Deaths Caused by Heart Disease

2008

Race of Ethnic Group % of Deaths
Whites 25.1
African Americans 24.4
Asians or Pacific Islanders 23.2
Hispanics 20.7
American Indians or Alaska Natives 17.9
All 24.9

Several disease conditions and lifestyle choices can place individuals at higher risk of heart disease.  Below is the percentage of U.S. adults with heart disease risk factors during the period 2005-2008:

Risk Factors

Risk Factor %
Physical Inactivity 53
Overweight/Obesity 34
High Blood Pressure 32
Cigarette Smoking 21
High Cholesterol 15
Diabetes 11

Other Risks: Alcohol Use, Poor Diet

Nine out of 10 heart disease patients have at least one of the above mentioned risk factors.

Heart Disease Behavior

Tobacco Use

Tobacco use increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Cigarette smoking promotes atherosclerosis and increases the levels of blood clotting factors, such as fibrinogen. Also, nicotine raises blood pressure, and carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that blood can carry. Exposure to other people’s smoke can increase the risk of heart disease even for nonsmokers.

Alcohol

Excessive alcohol use leads to an increase in blood pressure, and increases the risk for heart disease. It also increases blood levels of triglycerides which contributes to atherosclerosis.

Physical Inactivity

Physical inactivity is related to the development of heart disease. It  can also impact other risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can improve risk factor levels.

Diet

Several aspects of peoples’ dietary patterns have been linked to heart disease and related conditions. These include diets high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which raise blood cholesterol levels and promote atherosclerosis. High salt or sodium in the diet causes raised blood pressure levels.

Obesity

Obesity is excess body fat. It is linked to higher LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to lower HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Heart Disease Conditions

Blood Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the liver or consumed in certain foods. It is needed by the body, and the liver makes enough for the body’s needs. When there is too much cholesterol in the body—because of diet and the rate at which the cholesterol is processed—it is deposited in arteries, including those of the heart. This can lead to narrowing of the arteries, heart disease, and other complications.

Some cholesterol is often termed “good,” and some often termed “bad.” A higher level of high–density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL, is considered “good,” and gives some protection against heart disease. Higher levels of low–density lipoprotein, or LDL, are considered “bad” and can lead to heart disease. A lipoprotein profile can be done to measure several different forms of cholesterol, as well as triglycerides (another kind of fat) in the blood.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is another major risk factor for heart disease. It is a condition where the pressure of the blood in the arteries is too high. There are often no symptoms to signal high blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure by changes in lifestyle or by medication can lower the risk of heart disease and heart attack.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes also increases a person’s risk for heart disease. With diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin, can’t use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugars to build up in the blood. About three–quarters of people with diabetes die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease. For people with diabetes, it is important to work with a healthcare provider to help in managing it and controlling other risk factors.

Heredity and Heart Disease

Heart disease can run in the family. Genetic factors likely play some role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other vascular conditions. However, it is also likely that people with a family history of heart disease share common environments and risk factors that increase their risk. The risk for heart disease can increase even more when heredity is combined with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes and eating a poor diet.

What is Meant by Heart Disease

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type of heart condition in the United States is coronary artery disease.  This condition can cause angina pectoris, arrhythmias, and myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque, which is comprised of cholesterol deposits, builds up in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.  As plaque accumulates in the coronary arteries, they become narrower causing a stenosis. The process of this plaquing is called atherosclerosis.

The stenosis in the coronary arteries can cause angina pectoris.  This is the most common symptom of CAD. Because of the limitation of blood flow to the heart muscle, chest pain can occur, thus angina pectoris.  If CAD is unattended to, it can have a debilitating effect on the heart muscle, which will cause it to weaken.  Eventually, this condition may lead to ischemia which can lead to heart failure.  As a result, the heart cannot cannot  pump blood as intended. Additionally, an irregular rhythm or arrhythmia can occur.

For some people, the first sign of CAD is a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when plaque totally blocks an artery carrying blood to the heart.  It also can happen if a plaque deposit breaks off and clots a coronary artery.

Early Action can be Lifesaving

  • In a survey that was performed in 2007, 92% of the respondents recognized chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack. Only 27% of the respondents were aware of the key symptoms of a heart attack, and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was experiencing them.
  • Approximately 50% of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital. This means that nearly half of those with heart disease are not aware of the early warning signs.

 

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Symptoms

The five key symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.

If you or someone you know is having the symptoms mentioned above, call 9–1–1 immediately.

Signs

If the blood supply to the heart muscle is stopped, a heart attack can result.  As a result, cells in the heart muscle do not receive oxygen and die.  This condition leads to tissue damage known as necrosis. The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart.

Having high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, smoking, and having had a previous heart attack, stroke, or diabetes can increase a person’s chances of having a heart attack.

According to the American Heart Association, about 785,000 Americans have an initial heart attack and another 470,000 have a recurrent heart attack each year.  According to a CDC report, almost half of the cardiac deaths in 1999 occurred before emergency services and hospital treatment could be administered.

It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and to act immediately by calling 9–1–1. A person’s chances of surviving a heart attack are increased if emergency treatment is given to the victim as soon as possible.

Heart Attack

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a section of the heart muscle dies or gets damaged because of reduced blood supply. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the main cause of heart attack. A less common cause is a severe spasm of a coronary artery, which can also prevent blood supply from reaching the heart.

It is important to seek treatment for a heart attack immediately. Otherwise, further damage to the heart muscle can occur and an irregular heart rhythm may develop.

Sudden cardiac arrest (the stopping of the heart) occurs when the heart stops completely. Unless treated, a person whose heart has stopped will die within minutes.

Treatment

People who experience a heart attack need emergency care such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or electrical shock (defibrillation). That’s why you need to act quickly once you notice the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.

If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Bystanders who have been trained to perform CPR or use a defibrillator may be able to help the victim until emergency medical personnel arrive. At the hospital, doctors can perform tests to determine whether a heart attack is occurring and decide on the best treatment.

Remember, the chances of surviving a heart attack are greater when emergency treatment begins quickly.

 

Diagnostic Procedures

Important Tests To Consider

At Inspyre Health we can determine your risk for CAD by checking your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose, and by finding out more about your family’s history of heart disease. If you are at high risk or already have symptoms, our doctor can perform several tests to diagnose CAD:

Test What It Does
CardiovisionAcoustic Cardio-myograpyEKG (electrocardiogram) Measures the elasticity of the vessels in the bodyMeasures the competency of the valves in the chambers of the heartMeasures the electrical activity, rate, and regularity of your heartbeat 
Echocardiogram Uses ultrasound to create a picture of the heart.
Exercise stress test Measures your heart rate while you walk on a treadmill. This helps to determine how well your heart is working when it has to pump more blood.
Chest X-ray Creates a picture of the heart, lungs, and other organs in the chest.
Doppler UltrasoundCardiac catheterization 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checks the inside of your arteries for blockage by threading a thin, flexible tube through an artery in the groin, arm, or neck to reach the coronary artery. Can measure blood pressure and flow in the heart’s chambers, collect blood samples from the heart, or inject dye into the coronary arteries. 

 

Coronary angiogram Monitors blockage and flow of blood through the heart. Uses X-rays to detect dye injected via cardiac catheterization.

Cardiovision

The CardioVision® Model MS-2000 measures blood pressure, records pulse, pulse pressure (systolic minus diastolic blood pressure), and provides additional cardiovascular information (Arterial Stiffness Index – ASI) to the physician or other health care provider. Blood pressure provides important clinical information on the blood circulation system since the actual blood pressure level is a function of cardiovascular dynamics that are determined by the strength of the heart beat and the overall condition of the arterial system. This information can be evaluated while measuring blood pressure.

Before the invention of the MS-2000, Oscillometric blood pressure measuring devices typically provided only the patient’s systolic, mean, and diastolic pressure levels, and the number of heartbeats per minute. Through extensive research in Japan, it was observed that a high level of correlation existed between certain cardiovascular conditions and the type of patterning obtained from the Computerized Oscillometric pulse measurement over the course of the entire cuff pressure drop from systolic to diastolic.

The MS-2000 software employs this data to provide five identified, distinct, graphical patterns (and combinations thereof) which show close correlation to known cardiovascular conditions. The pressure/volume relationship of an artery is not linear. When blood is infused into a relaxed artery, a great deal can enter initially with no increase in pressure. This is true until the artery becomes full enough to create a measurable pressure change. As the internal pressure increases, the rigidity of the artery also increases. Therefore, the ratio of liquid volume to pressure becomes higher. This property of the artery is related to the dynamic character of the elastic fibers and collagen fibers that comprise the arterial wall. The elastic fiber is a soft, muscular fiber that maintains the expandability of the artery and the tension of the arterial wall when the inner pressure of the artery is low. The collagen fiber makes up the outer part of the artery and has low elasticity. As the artery stretches its further expansion is restricted.

An occluded artery will have high stiffness producing a flat-topped graphical pattern with the MS-2000 (pattern C). This phenomenon is quantitated by an Arterial Stiffness Index of greater than 210. An artery free of impedance or occlusion will produce a sharp-peaked mountain graphically represented by the MS-2000 as pattern A (ASI less than 80). When a patient has arrhythmia the accuracy of usual methods for measuring blood pressure is adversely affected because the Computerized Oscillometric method is not accurate when blood pressure varies during measurement. In the case of arrhythmia, the blood volume per each heartbeat is not constant. This is caused by variations in blood flow into the heart during diastole, since each systolic period is not the same. As a result, the blood pressure per heartbeat can vary greatly. A large pulse pressure is obtained after a long diastolic period due to large stroke volume, whereas the pulse pressure after a short diastolic period is small. In this situation, the amplitude of the pulse waves, which appear while cuff pressure is being reduced, is irregular and the interval between appearances is not equal. Due to this instability in the changes in arterial volume, the MS-2000 records and displays a very choppy graphical pattern (pattern D).

This is a peripheral device which, when linked to a desktop or notebook computer, can both function as a highly accurate and easy to use oscillometric blood pressure monitor, and also provide information on the overall condition of the cardiovascular system which can be of use to the physician or other health care provider in screening for possible health problems, or monitoring patient progress. Unique to CardioVision® is its ability to produce an Arterial Stiffness Index (ASI) marking the position of stiffness in Patterns A, AC, and C.

Acoustic Cardiomyography:

Today’s digital technology has revolutionized medical instrumentation to an unprecedented degree.  An example of this is the electronic stethoscope which allows today’s healthcare practitioner to examine and investigate his/her patient’s heart far more thoroughly than they were able to do previously.  This is the latest technology in listening to the heart.  The technique of examining the heart with this modern and advanced instrumentation is referred to as Acoustic Cardiomyography.

How exactly does Acoustic Cardiomyography determine the competency of the heart?

As the blood moves through each chamber of the heart, the electronic stethoscope amplifies the sounds emanating from each of the valves involved in the process of the heart function.  With special placement of the stethoscope over each valve on the chest wall, the sound emanating from the opening and closure of the valve can be heard.  By interfacing with special computer software, the sounds can be captured and translated graphically by the computer.  The graph for each valve (heart sound) can be kept for reference, study, and comparison.  The graphic record can be studied to determine any abnormalities present which indicate pathology.  Thereafter, based on these abnormal graphic findings, a specific treatment protocol of clinical neutriceutical can be prescribed to address the condition determined.  Once having partaken of the protocol, within a short period, the positive effects of the clinical nutritional intervention can be demonstrated and recorded through a post-examination with acoustic cardiomyography.

Electrocardiography:

An electrocardiogram (otherwise known as an EKG) is a test that obtains information about the electrical conductivity of the heart, such as the rate and regularity of the heartbeat. The EKG interprets electrical signals produced by the heart, capturing them and recording them via electrodes attached to the skin. The size and position of the heart chambers as well as any damage to the heart can also be obtained through an EKG.

EKG is sometimes the only method of detecting irregularities in heart rhythm, such as atrial fibrillation, which can lead to the formation of blood clots.  After forming in the heart, they can come loose, flow to the brain, get lodged in a small artery in the brain, and can cause a stroke.

You will be asked to lie down while the sites where the sticky electrodes will be attached are cleaned and shaven, if necessary. About 12 electrodes are attached to various parts of your body, six of which will be attached to the chest. The other six (called limb leads) will be attached accordingly: one on each arm, one on each leg, and two on the abdomen.

You will lie still during the test, while holding your breath for short periods at a time. The test requires ten to 15 minutes to complete.

Since EKG is done without entering the body and does not use dyes or x-rays, there is no pain or risk associated with having an EKG.

The electrodes contain wires that can detect the electrical signals of the heart through the skin. These wires are connected to a machine that traces the heart rhythm on graph paper. Because the results are immediately known, your doctor will instantly know the basic vital signs of your heart.

Treatment

As stated earlier, the most common type of heart disease in today’s society is coronary artery disease.  If left unattended, this condition could ultimately lead to a heart attack.

Even if you have sustained a heart attack, the probability of having a reoccurence can be reduced by undertaking appropriate measures

If you have CAD or choose to prevent it, there are steps you can take to lower your risk for having a heart attack or worsening heart disease.

Based on a comprehensive health history, physical examination, specialized cardiovascular tests, and laboratory testing, our doctor will determine the best course of care to undertake for you.  Our clinic will assist you in implementing lifestyle changes such as not smoking, not drinking alcohol, exercising, stress reduction, and eating a healthier diet based on your metabolic body type and bio-individuality.  In addition, our staff will determine and prescribe a specific protocal of clinical nutriceutical therapy that will assist you in restoring biochemical/physiological balance to your body.  Natural medicines can address CAD risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, and low blood flow.

In summary, by modifying your lifestyle, diet, and providing your body with the required nutrients (nutraceuticals), you can reduce the probability of coronary artery disease, and ultimately reduce the risk of a heart attack.

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Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your healthcare professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing or partaking of any medication, natural or otherwise. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your healthcare provider.