Causes of Heart Problems
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the pressure of the blood flowing against the blood vessel walls is above the normal range. It is written in two sets of numbers, for example, 120/70. The first number is the systolic reading, which is the pressure when the heart is beating. The second number is the diastolic number, the pressure when the heart is resting. High blood pressure occurs when the systolic reading is elevated above 140 or higher and/or the diastolic reading is 90 or above.
The causes of high blood pressure are not exactly known. It cannot be cured but it can be controlled with changes to your life and medicine prescribed by your doctor. Almost 1 out of 4 Americans have high blood pressure and most of them don't know that they have it. High blood pressure doesn't have any signs, which is why it is so dangerous.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure People who are at risk for high blood pressure usually have one or more of the following factors:
Usually you cannot tell if you have high blood pressure. You can get blood pressure readings during your physical exam.
Cholesterol is an essential fat found in every cell in the body and used to produce hormones like vitamin D and bile. While a certain amount is necessary, too much cholesterol is unhealthy and blocks the blood from flowing through the arteries. This can eventually lead to a stroke. Cholesterol levels can be controlled through an active and healthy life .
There are three different types of cholesterol, some of which are healthier than others. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the "bad" cholesterol that builds up in the walls of the arteries and blocks blood flow. Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) also narrows the blood vessels and contains the most triglycerides, another type of fat that can lead to pancreatitis if too much is present. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is the "good" cholesterol that carries extra cholesterol back to the liver.
Life changes are usually the first line of defense against high cholesterol. A low-fat diet and losing weight in general can help lower LDL and triglyceride levels. More aggressive treatment methods may be needed if total cholesterol and LDL levels are still high. Medications or hormone replacement therapies may be used, but a healthy life must also be maintained. These steps can also help prevent high cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about your potential risks and what you can do to reduce them.
Angina is a symptom of most heart conditions and is often the result of a decrease in blood flow to the heart. Also referred to as angina pectoris, angina is characterized primarily by chest pain and discomfort, which may be experienced as pressure, squeezing or fullness in the chest and can be mild or severe. Chest pain is often accompanied by nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, sweating and dizziness.
Angina is classified as either stable or unstable. Stable angina is most common, with symptoms that occur on a regular basis and are predictable after certain activities. In most cases of stable angina, symptoms occur after physical exertion and usually last less than five minutes. Unstable angina is more serious, causing symptoms that are more severe and unpredictable. Symptoms of unstable angina tend to be more frequent and can occur at any time.
Treatment for angina depends on the type and severity of the condition, but can include life changes, medication or surgery. Life changes such as avoiding smoke, stress and too much physical exertion can help manage mild cases of angina, while other people may benefit from medication to lower cholesterol, widen blood vessels and reduce the risk of blood clots. More invasive methods such as angioplasty and bypass surgery may be needed for more severe cases.
While angina itself is not usually a serious condition, it can be an early sign of a heart attack and should therefore be treated promptly and effectively.
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