Month: September 2017

Things You Should Know About Common Heart Disease

Any disease related to blood vessels and heart is known as heart disease. However, this is an umbrella term that encompasses many conditions.

Some of the most common types of heart disease are as follows:

Atherosclerosis

In this condition, the walls of arteries constrict due to buildup of plaque. As a result, blood cannot flow easily through the arteries. Hence, your heart has to work harder to pump blood so that it can reach every corner of your body. Sometimes, plaque can break from the arterial wall, obstructing the flow of blood. This can result in a stroke or an attack.

Heart Attack

If blood flow to the heart is blocked due to a blood clot or plaque, the affected region begins to get progressively weaker. This is a heart attack. Typically, if you suffer your first attack, you will have to make certain lifestyle changes so that you can enjoy a normal and productive life. In addition, you may have to take medication to prevent further damage to this organ.

Ischemic Stroke

This is the most common type of stroke wherein the blood vessel supplying blood to the brain gets blocked due to a blood clot. When this happens, the affected part of the brain begins to die due to lack of oxygen and nutrients. As a result, it will prevent you from performing functions, like talking and walking, that you could do before the event occurred.

Another form of stroke is hemorrhagic stroke, which is common in people with untreated, severe hypertension. Here, the blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing bleeding or hemorrhage. The brain has the ability to repair itself and many times, as the cells repair, body functions improve. However, if too many brains cells have necrotized, the damage will be permanent.

Heart Failure

This refers to the inability to pump blood optimally. Hence, adequate amounts of oxygen and blood do not reach vital organs. This condition tends to worsen with time and hence, it requires prompt treatment.

Arrhythmia

If your heart is beating too fast, irregularly or too slow, you are suffering from arrhythmia. Any abnormality in the rhythm affects the working of the organ, and it will be unable to pump out sufficient amounts of blood to meet the requirements of the body.

Treating Heart Disease

Depending on the severity of the condition, doctors prescribe the treatment. It can be as simple as making a few lifestyle changes or taking medications; and as complex as undergoing a major surgery. The treatment looks to minimize the damage caused by the condition while reducing chances of future cardiovascular events.

All About Pericarditis

Pericardial disease or pericarditis is an inflammation of any of pericardial layers. Pericardium is a thin double-walled fibroserous sac that surrounds the heart and consists of:

  • Fibrous layer – the most superficial pericardial layer.
  • Serous layer – the inner layer which in its turn is divided into outer parietal and internal visceral layers.
  • Pericardial fluid – the lubricating serous fluid located in the pericardial cavity between the parietal and visceral layers. It serves to reduce the friction of the heart during cardiac contractions.

Pericardium performs an important function by protecting the heart and maintaining its adequate position so that it could work properly.

Causes

In most cases pericarditis develops as a complication of an underlying disease. Since it’s an inflammatory condition, it might seem that it could be the consequence of an infectious disease. However, there are different types of pericarditis depending in its cause:

  • Pericarditis caused by viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections. The most common infectious organisms include streptococcus, Epstein-Barr virus, Candida fungi, toxoplasma, echinococcus.
  • Pericarditis provoked by autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma.
  • Traumatic pericarditis that results from severe injuries or trauma in the chest area. Sometimes it can develop after a surgical intervention in this area.
  • Pericarditis developing due to tumors located directly on the pericardial layers or in the adjacent areas.
  • Pericarditis associated with serious metabolic disorders such as Addison’s disease.

The most common causes of pericarditis include rheumatism and tuberculosis. Besides, the provoking factors for pericarditis are myocardial infarction, endocarditis, allergic reactions, and radiation therapy.

Symptoms

Since this pathology usually develops as a complication of other diseases, it lacks specific clinical symptoms; however, depending on the type, pericarditis symptoms include any of the following:

  • Piercing or sharp pain in the middle or left side of the chest that can spread to one or both shoulders
  • Attacks of heart palpitations
  • Fever
  • Fast or irregular heart rate
  • Swelling of ankles, legs or feet
  • Breathlessness
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Dry cough

Treatment

The goals of pericarditis treatment involve:

  • Relieving symptoms
  • Treating the underlying conditions
  • Preventing complications

Treatment methods and its duration are determined by the cause that provoked inflammation and complications, if any. Once experiencing first symptoms of pericarditis, one should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Complications and prognosis

In general, pericarditis is considered a disease with a benign outcome since timely qualified treatment leads to a complete recovery in the majority of patients. However, in rare case severe pericarditis can cause serious complications:

  • Cardiac tamponade is caused by too much fluid being collected in the pericardium. It’s a dangerous condition that prevents adequate cardiac contractions and leads to a dramatic decrease in blood pressure.
  • Chronic constructive pericarditis, a rare disease that needs time for development. It causes the formation of scar-like tissue throughout the pericardium, which makes it stiff thus preventing the heart from functioning properly.

How To Prevent Heart Diseases

In my conversations with my patients, they are often surprised by 2 facts that don’t seem to go together.

1. That heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the world.

2. That the vast majority of heart disease is preventable.

And you also may think, how can this be? How can the leading cause of death and disability be mostly preventable and yet remain the leading cause of death and disability?

The answer of course is complex, but here is why I believe we can’t rely on others to look out for our heart’s health. We need to do it ourselves.

Losing the War

It is clear that we are losing the war on heart disease. Sure we have amazing procedures and medications, but they can only do so much. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death and disability in the world.

What is particularly troublesome about this is that we know exactly how to keep your Heart healthy. Take care of 7 common sense aspects of health and your risk of heart disease is decreased by 80%. Really, 80%!

And the benefits don’t end with the Heart. These 7 good health factors cut your risk of stroke by 50%, your risk of cancer by a third and are the most effective ways to prevent dementia.

Life’s Simple 7

What are these 7 magical things? The American Heart Association calls them “Life’s Simple 7” and they are:

  • Get Active
  • Stop Smoking
  • Eat Better
  • Manage Blood Pressure
  • Control Cholesterol
  • Reduce Blood Sugar
  • Lose Weight

So, not particularly surprising, mostly common sense, but when taken care of, remarkably effective at improving health, the length and the quality of life.And how are we doing with this knowledge?

By just about any criteria, the answer is poorly. More than 9 million people die each year from heart disease. When you add stroke (the combination of stroke and heart attacks doctors call cardiovascular disease), that is 15 million deaths per year or about a death every 2 seconds)

Now back to our original question. How can this be? How can the leading cause of death and disability be mostly preventable and yet remain the leading cause of death and disability?

Follow the Money

It’s a good question, and no doubt the reasons are complex, but one factor undoubtedly is that a lot of money is made when we are sick.

The financial success of the tobacco industry, the fast food industry, the soft drink industry, the healthcare industry, the pharmaceutical industry and many others depends on you making choices that make your heart sick.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to pay the bottom line of big industry with your life. It is important for you to know that your future health is in your hands.

I will continue to talk about simple steps that can keep your heart in the game.

How To Choose The Perfect Doctor For You

Looking for the doctor is not always easy. It is even harder when you go out of network and locate a practitioner that can meet your health needs. However, if you are prepared and informed, your will be able to choose the right one. You can also use our tips to find the right one. Read on to find out more about the tips.

1. Look for an Integrative Doctor

In traditional medicine, the objective is to find out the core cause of the disease and then prescribe the right medicine. If you have a health issue, you may want to look for a good integrative doctor. To find the right one, you can ask friends, family or your colleagues. The goal of integrative medicine is to heal a person with a certain health condition.

Make sure you go with a practitioner that has a good deal of knowledge. Moreover, the professional should use a holistic approach in order to treat you. He should find out the root cause of your condition instead of treating the symptoms.

2. Symptoms and Underlying Causes

Today, doctors consider symptoms of a condition to prescribe medicine. On the other hand, an experienced integrative physician will take into account your illness symptoms and then try to find out the root cause of the symptoms. In the end, they may prescribe the right treatment. So, before you hire one, make sure they can identify and address the underlying cause of the problem.

3. A Coach, not a Friend

Your doctor is your coach, not a friend. The doctor will let you know what to do and what not. But it’s also your responsibility to follow their advice. So, during the interview, you should try to find out if the doctor is going to play the role of a doctor or coach. Remember: if the practitioner is friendly, doesn’t mean he is going to act like a friend.

4. Dispensary

It’s a good idea to buy medicine from the doctor’s dispensary. You may want to ask each potential practitioner if they operate their own dispensary. The dispensary should not have just nutritional supplements. In fact, it should have herbal products, natural meds, homeopathic remedies, biological medicines and minerals, to name a few.

5. Insurance

You are not bound to hire an insured doctor. As a matter of fact, top integrative doctors are not insured. The reason is that the paperwork and bureaucracy may waste a lot of the doctor’s time. Moreover, it may limit the therapeutic options a doctor may use. According to a study, doctor’s spend more time doing paperwork than checking patients in their office.

So, if you are going to look for a doctor soon, we suggest that you consider these simple but useful tips. This way you will be more likely to pick the right doctor to get rid of your condition once and for all. Hopefully, you will be able to get rid of your health issue by hiring the right doctor.