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The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Treatments Of Heart Disease.

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The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Treatments Of Heart Disease. Every year in the United Kingdom 270,000 people suffer heart attacks; along with this 2.1 million people suffer angina and other classic symptoms of heart disease (source 6). In this piece I am going to discus and in some cases challenge the modern technological, pharmaceutical and ethical issues related to heart disease. The overwhelming cause of heart disease is atherosclerosis: the build up of lipid plaques (atheromas) in the coronary arteries; this in turn causes arteriosclerosis which is a thickening and hardening of the arteries and a decrease in elasticity (saurce1). Plaques have a protruding rough surface and so platelets stick to them and rupture. They then release growth hormones that cause the plaque to increase in size or release clotting factors that also cause the blockage to increase in size. Once this reaches a limit ischaemia sets in. This condition, in this instance, is the lack of O2, glucose and amino acids and reduced removal of H+ lactate and K+ ions to the mycrocardium; this decrease in pH produces a pain known as angina. If this lasts for an hour or more, the area may be permanently damaged (source 4). Death of heart muscle is known as myocardial infraction or more commonly, a heart attack. During ischaemia an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation can occur (source 1 & 4). This results in uncoordinated, weak contractions, a drop in blood pressure and sudden death if untreated. Other types of heart disease include; congenital heart disease: abnormalities that are present at birth, cardiomyopathy: affects manly heart muscle rather than the arteries, valular heart disease: abnormalities of the four valves that control blood flow in the heart (Source 2). ...read more.


This is in no way internal or intrusive to the patient. If a patient is believed to have had a myocardial infraction then tests for certain enzymes can be done. Damage to cells of a particular organ may cause release of enzymes into the blood. Therefore measurements of enzyme levels in plasma are useful is diagnosing a wide variety of diseases including myocardial infraction. Certain enzymes show significant changes in their plasma levels following myocardial infarction (source 13). In this case patients only need blood samples taken. Ecocardiography is the term used to describe ultrasound scans of the heart. It can be used to study a variety of cardiac disorders. It works by sound waves of a high frequency being directed into the body. Different tissues reflect sound differently and the reflections can be used to form images (source3). Nuclear imaging is an excellent diagnostic tool because it shows not only the structure of an organ or body part, but the function of the organ as well. A gamma cameras is used to detect the movement of the very low-level radioactive chemicals that are introduced into the body. The chemicals emit faint gamma ray signals, which are measured by a gamma camera, which convert signal into a digital picture, still or moving. It can be used to monitor blood flow through the heart and its walls (source14). Injecting a radio opaque die into a patient and then taking an X-ray can detect narrowing of the arteries. This is called arteriography (source 1 &13). ...read more.


The risks of taking aspirin are the possible development of stomach ulcers and abdominal bleeding. Many people must avoid aspirin such as pregnant women, people awaiting surgery, heavy drinkers, people with ulcers or any bleeding problem and people who are already on pain medication (source 6 & 7). Calcium channel blockers are given to patients with high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. They work by preventing the movement of calcium in cells thus relaxing blood vessels and increase blood supply to the heart while reducing its workload (source 6 & 7). Thrombolytics are clot-busting drugs that are injected to prevent the ongoing damage of heart attacks, which saves many lives in emergencies. They may cause low blood pressure and excess bleeding in some patients after administration. As with all drugs these have a variety of side effects although most are temporary (source 6 & 7). The advances in modern technology and medicine help to save thousands of lives and give better quality of life all over the globe. However the attitudes of many modern societies encourage a poor, unhealthy life style. The numbers needing treatment could be lowered a great deal by people looking after their own health and so preventing the need for any sort of treatment. Simple yet effective life style changes such as not smoking, lowering LDL cholesterol by eating a low calorie diet, taking care of blood pressure problems with medical advice and treatment and exercise regularly to strengthen the heart and reduce high blood pressure (source 1 & 2). Treatment is highly beneficial but prevention is even more so. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

*** This case study appears to have consulted a large number of references in order to discuss the treatment of heart disease but has failed to include a bibliography. It would benefit from focussing more on the title of the case study by discussing the differences in the treatments and their relative costs and benefits.
To improve
Collecting information
It seems a good range of sources were used to provide information but unfortunately but these were not listed as references. There should be some discussion as to the confidence level that can be attached to the sources.
Science content
The background science is described in some detail but there is too much emphasis on the causes and detection of heart disease rather than the the subject of the case study which is the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment of heart disease.
Comparing views
The advantages and disadvantages need to be discussed in terms of cost, effectiveness and availability as well as the side effects of the treatment. This could be achieved by including some well annotated graphs , charts or tables.
Conclusion and recommendations
Information from different viewpoints needs to be identified not just as

Marked by teacher Stevie Fleming 15/10/2013

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