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HEART DISEASE The heart pumps blood around the body, supplying oxygen to all the organs, including the heart itself.

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HEART DISEASE The heart pumps blood around the body, supplying oxygen to all the organs, including the heart itself. The vessels that carry blood to the heart muscle are called coronary arteries (1). There are two sides to the heart, each of which acts as a separate pump. The two halves are sub-divided into four chambers, so there are four chambers in all (2). A healthy heart will function in this way, but disruptions along the cardiac cycle can cause serious problems to the heart and lead to conditions, such as Heart disease. Coronary heart disease or (CHD) is more common in the elderly and affects 4 times more men than women according to recent studies (2). Coronary heart disease comes in two main forms: heart attack and angina. The coronary arteries become narrow with the build-up of fatty deposits, which may build-up over the course of 20-30 years. This will reduce the flow of blood to the heart and increases the chances of a blood clot blocking the artery, and becoming lodged in the coronary vessel. The blood cannot reach the heart muscle beyond this clot and a section of the heart then dies. ...read more.


The warning signs of a heart attack include a crushing pain in the centre of your chest, which spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms. It also makes you feel breathless and dizzy, and a feeling of nausea. The skin may also be clammy to the touch, and have a grey appearance (3). You will also have an increased or irregular heart rate (palpitations) during a heart attack. If a heart attack affects the bottom of the heart and affects less than 10% this would be considered a mild attack, but if more than 40% of the heart is damaged then death can occur (6). A heart attack is a signal that some lifestyle changes need to be made, like eating a healthier diet, exercise and if you smoke then you should quit. The most common symptom of arrhythmias is 'palpitations' the awareness of the heartbeat. It will occur as a beating that is hard enough to be felt in the chest and the upper abdomen. The causes for arrhythmias and palpitations are lack of sleep, stress, caffeine and nicotine and over the counter medicines (decongestants) or medications related to a heart condition (7). ...read more.


This will help the artery work well and prevent further complications. These procedures can be prevented if lifestyle changes could be made before too much damage has been done. Coronary heart disease can be inherited through our parent's genes. We can inherit high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes from our families. Similar lifestyles can contribute to the disease being passed down, like eating the same food, or if the parents smoke, then often their children do as well (2). Many suffers that have inherited CHD can change their lifestyles so that their condition can be managed more effectively. If they are smokers, then it would be beneficial to them if they quit, or at least reduce their tobacco intake. Changes in their eating habits (healthy eating) would also help reduce the cholesterol levels instead of increasing them. Alcohol levels can also be controlled to prevent further complications, and by reducing the alcohol intake by 2-3 units per day, as this would be the normal recommended daily amount, instead of a large intake which can poison the heart and cause serious consequences to the individual. Controlling stress levels and participating in exercise can assist with reducing high blood pressure and making it more manageable and this would be beneficial to prolonging life and reducing the effects of coronary heart disease. ...read more.

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