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"Heart Disease"

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"Heart Disease" In the United Kingdom we have one of the highest death rates from heart disease in the world; every three minutes one British adult dies from the disease. (1) The above statement clearly outlines how serious a problem heart disease is in the UK, but before one can begin to understand heart disease and how it affects the heart and cardiovascular system in the body one must first understand how the heart and related systems work. The heart is found directly in the centre of the chest, directly behind the sternum and is surrounded by the pericardial cavity. It is roughly fist size and beats around 100,000 times every day, pumping roughly 8000 litres of blood (2). The heart is part of a system called the cardiovascular system that transports cells, nutrients wastes and gasses to and from the various cells and organs of the body. The circulatory system can be subdivided into two further parts; the pulmonary circuit which carries blood to and from the lungs and the systemic circuit which carries blood to and from the body. Carrying blood away from the heart are arteries and veins return blood to the heart. ...read more.


However it was found that the cholesterol that causes the damage is not the same as the one we eat, it is in fact the liver that produces this damaging cholesterol. So it is saturated fats that need to be reduced. People who have too much body fat are much more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors. Obesity is unhealthy because excess weight increases the strain on the heart, not to mention bones and other tissues. Its link with coronary heart disease is mainly attributed to raising the blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Smoking is another contributing factor to the development of heart disease; it causes damage to the lungs resulting in the heart having to beat faster to get sufficient oxygen around the body. Smoking has also been linked to increasing the likelihood of fats to be deposited on the interior walls of arteries. Another contributing factor is the lack of regular exercise as there has been a tendency in recent years for people to become couch potatoes opting to sit around watching television and playing video games. It has been shown that even half an hour of brisk exercise a day such as walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 50% (3). ...read more.


The device may also contain a short tube of stainless-steel mesh, known as a 'stent'. As the balloon is inflated, the stent expands so that it holds open the narrowed blood vessel. The balloon is then let down and removed, leaving the stent in place (2). The technique of coronary angioplasty only works if the artery is narrowed or partially blocked. In the case of a complete blockage a coronary bypass is performed. In this operation a blood vessel (usually a vein removed from the leg) is grafted between the aorta and a point in the coronary artery beyond the blocked area. In cases of complete heart block and heart rhythm disturbance an artificial pacemaker may be used. Pacemakers are used to maintain and correct the rhythm of the heart and are used either continuously or on demand (2). In conclusion it is clear to see that coronary heart disease is a major killer but through correct diet and healthy lifestyle it is an easy killer to evade. One can also see that with the ever increasing numbers of obese children the problem will not go just disappear, the problem needs to be tackled head on with correct advertising and education. In my opinion the preventative measures of living a healthier lifestyle seem a whole lot easier and less painful than living with the disease. . ...read more.

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