As heart disease is rising it is vital to gain an understanding of the the fatal heart complications people are faced with today and some steps of prevention and intervention to maintain a healthy heart. Through gaining an understanding of the heart and taking the steps to maintain a healthy heart, you will keep your heart and can enjoy life to the fullest.

PROMOTE A HEALTHY HEART

THROUGH EXERCISE

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/exercise-healthy-heart

There are practical ways to promote a healthy heart, and one of those ways is to exercise regularly. This article gives the practical guidelines in an effective workout. Some areas emphasized in an effective workout program include but are not limited to a warm up time of stretching, cardio exercises and strength training. The one thing an individual can control is having a consistant workout time. Take part in preventing a poor heart from developing and find the right workout system that works best for your heart.

Benefits of exercise taken directly from this article are as follows:

* Strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system

* Improve your circulation and help your body use oxygen better

* Improve your heart failure symptoms

*Increase energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath

*Increase endurance

*Lower blood pressure

*Improve muscle tone and strength

*Improve balance and joint flexibility

*Strengthen bones

*Help reduce body fat and help you reach a healthy weight

*Help reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and depression

*Boost self-image and self-esteem

*Improve sleep

*Make you feel more relaxed and rested

*Make you look fit and feel healthy

THROUGH DIET
The Mediterranean Diet Part I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VKC8OpROSQ
The Mediterranean Diet Part II
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEGFyL5J0iA

Another approach to maintaining a healthy heart is eating healthy. Through these short videos some myths about obseity are exposed and several suggestions are given to provide guidance to get on the path of eating right. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating three servings of fish a week, eating nuts and four tablespoons of olive oil. There is more of a focus on eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains and a low salt intake.  An experiment was done implementing three diets: eat what you want, low fat and the Mediterranean diet. The study was performed on smokers, diabetics and obeise individuals. However, it was stopped prematurely due to the advanced death rate of those on the low fat and eat what you want diets.

STOP SMOKING

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/smoking/smoking_hrtds.aspx

Smoking is detrimental for the heart as it wears away at the lining of the arteries causing atherosclerosis. This thickens and hardens the walls of the arteries limiting the flow of blood and oxygen. Smoking is the number one thing people can control in prevention. Smoking affects the body in many ways:

  • Decreased oxygen to the heart and to other tissues in the body
  • Decreased exercise tolerance
  • Decreased HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Damage to cells that line coronary arteries and other blood vessels
  • Increased risk of developing coronary artery disease and heart attack
  • Increased risk of developing peripheral artery disease and stroke
  • Increased risk of developing lung cancer, throat cancer, chronic asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • Increased risk of developing diabetes
  • Increased risk of developing a variety of other conditions including gum disease and ulcers
  • Increase tendency for blood clotting
  • Increased risk of recurrent coronary artery disease after bypass surgery
  • Increased risk of becoming sick (especially among children: respiratory infections are more common among children exposed to second-hand smoke)

KNOW HOW YOUR HEART WORKS

BLOOD FLOW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06iQlVMSB34

The blood in the heart has a consistant cycle that is vital to understand when learning about the heart. Starting with the superior vena cava and inferior vena cava, the path of blood flow travels into the right atrium, through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle into the pulmonic valve to the pulmonary arteries to the lungs back into the heart through the right or left pulmonary veins into the left atrium through the mitral valve into the left ventricle into the aortic valve to the aorta into the systemic circulation back into the body. Understanding blood flow provides a deeper understanding of the heart and how it pumps and circlulates the blood into the body.

HEART PROBLEMS

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/ss/slideshow-visual-guide-to-heart-disease
http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/ss/slideshow-cholesterol-overview

More than 1 million Americans have a heart attack every year. Heart disease is rampantly spreading in families today and will continue to do so as people neglect taking care of their bodies through diet and exercise. Sometimes it is just in family genetics and there is not much to be done but to take good care of the body. Take a closer look at heart disease,what is actually taking place within a diseased heart and some warning signs to beware of.

HEART ATTACK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7wmPWTnDbE

A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in the heart that restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the body. After a heart attack occurs that area of the heart is permanently damaged affecting the heart for the rest of it’s life. That is why it is imperative to be actively responsive to the things that hurt and benefit the heart to keep it healthy. There are specific symptoms related to a heart attack.

HEART ATTACK WARNING SIGNS

* Pain or pressure in the chest
* Discomfort spreading to the back, jaw, throat, or arm
* Nausea, indigestion, or heartburn
* Weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath
* Rapid or irregular heartbeats

HEART ATTACK VS. CARDIAC ARREST

http://www.ochsner.org/podcasts/episode/heart_attack_vs_cardiac_arrest/

CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YddwXPWVSc

Congestive heart failure takes place when the body is unable to circulate the blood into the body. “The body releases neurohormones causing vasoconstriction, fluid retension, increased heart rate and contractility along with myocardial injury.” The body fills up with fluid and eventually shuts down. If the right side of the heart is failing, specifically the liver and legs will start to fill up with fluid.

CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5su_DVcE2Q

What coronary artery disease is

CAD is the leading cause of death in men and women. It is vital to understand what coronary artery disease is, some steps of prevention and practical things to do if you have already been diagnosed with it.The blood becomes restricted in the heart and is unable to be pumped through due to plaque build up within the walls of the artery. This plaque hardens and eventually blocks the passageway in which the blood would travel.

SYMPTOMS OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE

  • Maybe none
  • Pressure/ tightness in chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue after physical activity

RISKS OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE

  • Age
  • Race
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Family History

PREVENTION OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2RfPcvN1Ek

An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure. Coronary artery disease may be prevented for a majority of individuals who do not have a family history of it, and if family history is a concern, there is a way to live to help the heart function effectively. First, know if you have it. There are blood tests that can be taken, an EKG may be performed, a stress test and other tests can be given to determine the condition of the heart. If CAD is detected some helpful advice woul be to consider these things: medications are effective, do not smoke, manage your weight, keep the blood pressure down, reduce stress, have regular medical tests done and exercise daily for thirty minutes a day.

TREATMENT OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09QKVr6nVdM

There are two regular options considered when dealing with the treatment of CAD. The medicinal approach focuses mainly on slowing the heart down, lowering cholesterol and controlling blood pressure. If the condition is more advanced, surgery may be the best option. One common and affective surgery is angioplasty. In this procedure a small puncture is made in the vein and a catheter is pushed up into the heart area that has a piece that is expanded by a balloon opening the blockage. This enables the blood and oxygen to freely flow again.

Angioplasty Procedure

http://www.thevisualmd.com/health_centers/cardiovascular_health/angioplasty/watch_an_angioplasty_procedure_video

COMMON HEART TESTS

ELECTROCARDIO GRAM (EKG)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUIKXnot-1k

The leads are placed specifically to view different areas of the heart to determine what is going on inside the electrical activity of the heart. Through this areas of infarct or heart attack are detected along with causes of angina and shortness of breath. This test is beneficial in such cases and is also effective to determine other potential problems.

EKG Example

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ys6fY1ZsFvc

STRESS TEST

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXay0q1kJVw

The stress test identifies issues in the heart when it is put under stress through exercise. If the exercise is too much for the patient, a chemical test is performed through using medications that will cause the body to mimic the stress from exercise.

FACTS ABOUT THE IMPLANTABLE CARDIOVERTER DEFIBRILLATOR (ICD)

http://www.bcmj.org/article/implantable-cardioverter-defibrillator-mirowski-its-current-use

http://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2011/10001/Dealing_with_ICD_lead_fracture.2.aspx

http://www.texasheartinstitute.org/HIC/Topics?Proced?icdtopic.cfm

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/services/tests/procedures/icd.aspx

https://www.cardiosmart.org/healthwise/hw12/6046/spec/hw126046spec

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/icd/

Cardiovascular disease is rampantly rising and will continue to do so through 2025 as the vast population ages. This increase causes a great need of intervention for people who fall in this category. As the need escalates, there is a higher demand on an implantable cardioverter device or defibrillators (ICD) which play a vital role in extending the lives of unhealthy hearts. It is imperative to gain a thorough understanding of an ICD to promote its success, and it may possibly be a major part in the life of someone you care about. The use of ICDs has become more of a trend today because it is more in demand. Take a look at the details of an ICD, its history and how it works; understand what a lead fracture is to ensure the most promising results.

An ICD is an internal cardio defibulator or device, and it is the size of a pager with two parts. It contains a pulse generator with a battery and many electronic circuits. The other part consists of wires, also known as leads. These deliver the shock to the heart which is called “overdrive pacing.” The ICD is used to establish a normal rhythm in the heart through an electric shock to the heart. This is necessary when the pacemaker of the heart is not working properly. It is interesting to learn where the ICD has come from and advancements that have taken place since its origin.

While associating Michel Mirowskid with creating the ICD may be the least relevant aspect of this trend, it is beneficial to know who to give credit to and to recognize the steps he took to create a device that has saved the lives of many people. Mirowskid had a trail of successful medical experience, and after being recruited to Sinai, Baltimore, he created a broken external defibrillator on a dog in 1969. In 1975 Mirowskid and Mower, a junior cardiologist, were able to successfully implant an ICD inside a dog. In 1980 Michel Mirowskid created the fully implantable defibrillator in a human. It was 225g and required a thoractomy. The structure was more bulky mandating an abdominal implantation, and the leads were epicardial, located on the outside surface of the heart. At this point it was only capable of defibrillation. Mirowskid and Mower were both a part of making the beneficial change of the synchronized cardioversion for ventricular tachycardia. Mirowskid’s creation advanced over time and is safer to implant as the size has significantly decreased. They only weigh 90 grams now. As of September 28, the first subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator for ventricular tachycardia arrhythmias has been approved by the FDA allowing the leads to be placed under the skin rather than through a vein into the heart. The traditional placement of an ICD is under the left collar bone, and the wire goes through a vein connecting the device to the heart. Other improvements have been made in the newer ICD’s with their therapeutic and diagnostic functions. Older versions basically shock the heart when a patient’s rate reached a certain point. Today specific anti-tachycardia pacing schemes, low-energy and high energy shocks can be programmed in many tachycardia zones. All modern ICDs are capable of overdrive pacing that eliminates the tachycardia without resorting to shock therapy. Today the ICD can be programmed to determine the strength of the shock for non-life-threatening arrhythmias as well.  The continual advancement of the ICD is the most relevant aspect of this trend. It is constantly improving to benefit more lives. The doctors set each ICD for the specific needs of the individual’s heart. While it has proven to be successful, there is one important thing that needs to be monitored.

Although technology continues to advance, there are still some possible complications that may arise in a life dependent on an ICD. Understanding a lead fracture is vital as this is a critical area with a potential complication to be aware of.  A lead fracture is when the “integrity” in one of the leads break. When this takes place the shocks are dispersed unnecessarily due to false implications of dysrhythmias. The lead will normally kick in when the heart fails to fire. However, when there is a fracture the lead is firing when the heart does not need it to. This causes a low quality of life and higher rate of mortality. How do lead fractures happen? The most common reason for a lead fracture is due to mechanical stress. This is when the lead is not placed properly with enough slack for movement as the heart palpitates. Direct stress is another factor when the lead tends to fracture caused by compression, kinking and friction. As the heart is constantly beating the wire attached has the capability of causing direct stress, and it will continue in that fashion as the heart beats. Another tendency has been found in the older versions of ICDs. They are not as advanced in their design and have a higher potential of fracturing. All of these things make it imperative to monitor the leads closely.

Preventative maintenance by being informed is the key when dealing with an ICD lead fracture. They need to be checked every 3 to 6 months to validate a standard performance level. A lead fracture can be detected by opposition to the electrical current flow and noise in one of the leads which are seen in small, tight wave forms. Lastly, the ICD is unable to detect the R waves.  It is vital the leads are not fractured to have an accurate reading and proper performance taking place in the heart. The leads detect what is taking place within the heart and then they transfer the information back to the generator. The generator will then turn the reading of the electrical activity into ECG waveforms. One effective way of ensuring a close monitoring of the waves is the home monitoring system that can be hooked up to a landline phone that will transfer the heart beat patterns and convey any possible lead failures. It also reveals information about the battery. In order to ensure the best possible outcome, it is necessary to be alert and responsive to what is going on.

Some things are concerning and fascinating about the ICD. The main concern with this trend is as the technology of the ICD increases, people may become more dependent on it then necessary. Over using them where they are not needed may result in careless fatalities during the follow up procedures due to infection. If a person truly doesn’t need to be dependent on an ICD and something goes wrong, it may unnecessarily cost them their life. The most intriguing part of the ICD to me is how it has advanced over time. It is hard to believe it started out as an experiment on a dog progressing to a thoracic procedure and now is at a reasonable size with continuous technological improvements. I believe this is becoming universal because it has proven to effectively save lives. It is said that the mortality rate due to heart disease has decreased by 50% since people are using the ICD.

The current trend of using an implantable cardioverter device has proven to be effective over the years. Mirowskid and Mower made an indelible impact in history that has extended to many generations and will continue to do so. As the demand continues to grow, people need to stay informed about the advancements and any accompanying complications with an ICD to give a more guaranteed positive outcome.

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