How Healthy Is Your Heart? You Might Be At Risk!
There are various cardiovascular diseases that affect your heart. These diseases have numerous predisposing factors that can finally risk the healthy status of your heart.
They manifest themselves using different signs and symptoms that vary from individual to individual as well as disease to disease.
Examples of diseases affecting the cardiovascular system include:
This is when you experience pain on the left side of your chest which radiates down your left arm.
You may be feeling this pain due to stress or physical strain owing to exercise, lifting a heavy weight or running up the stairs.
The reason is because of insufficient blood supply to your heart muscle as a result of narrowing of the blood vessel, thrombosis (i.e. formation of blood clot in the blood vessel) or arteriosclerosis (deposition of fat in the inner layers of the coronary artery).
a.) Nitrates e.g. nitroglycerin
They relax vascular smooth muscle. Nitroglycerin is usually given sublingually.
It decreases sympathetic stimulation of the heart and therefore reduces the heart rate as well as reducing myocardium contractility.
These effects decrease oxygen requirements of the myocardium.
It relaxes vascular smooth muscle and slows down the artrioventricular (AV) and SinoAtrial Node conduction.
Hypertension (Persistent high blood pressure)
This is an increase in blood pressure.
When you are tested your blood pressure consistently and found to be having same results that are above normal e.g. 140 mmHg, it means you have a persistent high blood pressure.
The best or rather, normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg i.e. having a systole of 120mmHg and a diastole of 80mmHg.
Causes of Hypertension
- Psychological e.g. stress
- Lifestyle i.e. lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits.
- Use of oral contraceptives.
- Use of certain drugs e.g. Viagra
a.) Diuretics e.g. frusemide and thiazides
These increase urination or urine formation which is useful in the treatment of hypertension.
They reduce the blood volume through loss of fluids by enhancing secretion in the kidneys.
It reduces or decreases sympathetic activity, slowing down the heart rate and dilating blood vessels.
Dilates the arteries and reduces blood pressure.
Reduces blood pressure by suppressing the CNS.
Diseases of the Heart
Arrhythmias – This is an abnormal rhythm of the heart either slow, fast or both. Drugs used in the treatment include:
Congestive Heart Failure – It is the inability of the heart to meet the metabolic requirements of the peripheral systems.
Myocardial cells can be lost due to death or disease of a part of your heart muscle.
Pheochromocytoma – A disease whereby the heart develops a tumour or cancer. This leads to a release of too much catecholamine mostly norepinephrine and a less amount of epinephrine hormone.
As a result, it causes high blood pressure which can damage your heart, brain, lungs and kidneys.
DRUGS USED IN TREATING CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE
- Cardiac glycosides e.g. digoxin
- Diuretics e.g. frusemide
- Vasodilators e.g. hydralazine
All cardiovascular (Heart) diseases are non communicable but can be genetically inherited. Therefore, it is always important to know your family history as well as your individual risks like what you eat, exercise and so on. Seek health services for these diseases because they are provided in every health facility in almost every country. It is part of the Primary Health Care package. This brings us to an important topic explaining why we need access to health services.