Your Heart – Keep it Pumping!

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How Does the Heart Perform?

It is the most important internal organ.   It has the job of pumping blood around the body, supplying the body’s cells with oxygen and nutrients. The heart requires its own supply of oxygen and nutrients. The blood supply generates from the coronary arteries, found on the outside of the heart.

What Causes a Heart Attack?

Coronary heart disease is normally the cause of a heart attack. Coronary heart disease occurs when either one or several coronary arteries have become narrowed through a buildup of fatty deposits in the artery walls, medically termed as atheroma. The fatty areas in the arterial wall are referred to as plaque, and if this plaque should crack, a blood clot appears and tries to restore the damaged wall.

An attack happens when suddenly there is no supply of blood to the muscle, this causes severe pain or a feeling of discomfort in the chest area. Other symptoms include pain spreading to the left or right arms, neck and jaw. There could be a shortness of breath and a feeling of nausea.

When an attack happens, treatment is urgently needed to get a supply of blood circulating again in the damaged area of the muscle, and this will hopefully reduce further permanent damage to the heart.

What About Treatments?

Some treatments include primary angioplasty. This unblocks the coronary artery.  Thrombolysis means the patient is given ‘clot-busting’ medication to dissolve the clot. This is not a suitable solution for some heart attack patients and other alternative medication or treatment is given.

Treatment all depends on how severe the heart condition is and sometimes a transplant is necessary to keep the patient alive.

Key Points to Avoiding  Heart Problems Occurring

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Prevention is better than cure. However, some people are born with heart defects and sometimes they do not become apparent straight away.  Looking after ourselves can help prevent heart problem occurring.

Keep your weight reasonable; it is not always overweight people, but some underweight people can suffer from heart problems.  Stop smoking because this can cause heart damage, leading to a heart attack, and cause cancers to develop.  Keeping the cholesterol level below 4 mmol and the blood pressure around 130/80 mm Hg.

Some sort of exercise is essential, even if it is just a brisk walk every day or a cycle ride. Swimming and dancing are excellent ways to exercise. There is no need for expensive gym fees, even doing the garden is another way to work out.

Your diet should include fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholemeal bread and the type that contain seeds, lean meats and oily fish. If fish is something that is undesirable, a fish-oil supplement is available by prescription from your G.P and they are available to buy cheaply.  Do not consume large portions of dairy products and limit sugary foods.  Drink alcohol sensibly.

If you think someone is having a heart attack dial 999 immediately, stay calm, you will be given help over the phone until the ambulance arrives and the paramedics will then take over.

Be good to your heart and it will be good to you!

© Jan Horner

[Featured image: Pixabay]


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