Facts About Heart Disease:
I am not writing here as a doctor but as someone who has had a strong family history of heart disease and I am married to a man who has just had his third heart attack. My father died at age 53 after his third attack, my mother had her first at age 47 but managed to live on to be 82 although with ongoing medical issues.
Heart disease is a disorder of the blood vessels of the heart which can lead to a heart attack. When an artery becomes blocked the normal flow of oxygen and blood is impeded or totally inhibited which in turn will cause a heart attack .
A heart attack is life threatening and can be fatal on the first or subsequent attacks depending on the location and extent of the damaged artery.
. Once a patient has heart disease it can be managed but the arteries remain damaged. With each heart attack a part of the heart muscle will effectively die due to lack of blood flow to that area of the heart. This will put extra pressure on the remaining arteries and so the hearts optimum functioning is compromised.
This image was taken from Wikipedia. It is a clear diagram of the various heart components. Because the heart woks like a muscular pump sending oxygen enriched blood throughout the body it needs to have clear right of way for the blood to flow.
When anyone of those arteries or veins are blocked the normal flow of blood is restricted and it can cause heart attack or stroke or some other illness depending on the severity of the compromised heart function.
It really is quite an amazing organ and we need to look after it as if our very life depended on it and it does.
- Heart disease is responsible for almost 22% of all deaths in Australia each year although this has decreased significantly over the past few years with improved awareness and diet.
- Heart disease accounts for a significant number of hospitalizations and costs the economy billions of dollars, not only in hospital care but on going prescription drugs and lost productivity.
- Risk of heart disease increases with age as a consequence of the gradual build up of fatty deposits or plaque in the arteries.
- The risk of heart disease is greater in men than women
The following are the warning signs I observed in my husband prior to his most recent heart attack. He has had a total of 3 heart attacks, two were treated with medication and one required 4 bypasses.
Pain or discomfort in the chest. My husband said it felt like he had an elephant sitting on his chest.
Shortness of breath. We were out walking and I could not understand why my husband could not keep up. I continued to encourage him to keep moving but he was struggling. A couple of days later he suffered a major heart attack and required immediate heart surgery.
Extreme tiredness and a feeling of light headedness . Hubby usually worked a full and energetic day on the farm but prior to his heart attack he was coming in frequently to rest.
Feeling cold and clammy. This also happened on his last heart attack, his body felt cold to touch but he was sweaty and clammy.
Feeling unwell and loss of appetite I had prepared a lovely evening meal but he just did not want to eat it.
Blurred vision I suggested he watch television while he waited for the ambulance, but he said his vision was all blurry, my focus then was to keep him chatting and comfortable.
What to Do if You Suspect a Heart Attack
- If you experience the symptoms listed above and fear you are having a heart attack do not hesitate to call and ambulance. Many people die because they think it will pass and do not get help when it is needed most.
- Rest and stay calm until the ambulance arrives, stress will only exacerbate the situation
- Ensure you are in a comfortable position, if you fall you will risk other damage.
- Try to explain your symptoms as clearly as possible to the paramedics and listen to their instructions.
You Have Had a Heart Attack: Now What?:
Your body has suffered a huge trauma. Be guided by your cardiologist and follow his instructions for your recovery carefully.
Join a rehabilitation group to gain a better understanding of your heart disease and learn ways to live better and longer with an improved diet and exercise program.
Listen to your body and know when to rest.
Take time out for recuperative relaxation.
Maintain a discipline of taking the prescribed medications
Have some fun, be happy. Laughter is still the best medicine.
To find out more about heart disease visit the Australian Heart Foundation site: My Heart Matters
I hope you have found some useful information on this page and that you will take care of yourself and especially your own heart.
Please leave your thoughts below.