February is Heart and Stroke Awareness Month

Heart and Stroke logo

The Heart and Stroke Foundation plays a leading role in the tracking and development of applicable and current statistics on heart disease and stroke in Canada, as well as their related risk factors. Statistics listed in the link below are the most current available and are updated when new reports and studies are issued.

In an effort to deliver expert, up-to-date information, the Heart and Stroke Foundation uses the latest available guidelines to produce evidence-based content on heart disease and stroke related issues on our website. Please find a list of guidelines and references used for this purpose at the following link:-

http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3483991/k.34A8/Statistics.htm

 

Heart arrhythmia: a common problem is caused by the improper action of electrical impulses that are responsible for coordinating the heartbeats, by either causing the heart to race, flutter, and miss, or skip a beat.  Sometimes heart arrhythmia’s signs and symptoms can be quite bothersome and life threatening.  A damaged or weak heart can make arrhythmia worse and troublesome.

Medical technology advances have added new procedures, treatments, and processes to eliminate or control the arrhythmia.  Changing to a heart healthy lifestyle will also assist in reducing the arrhythmia risk.

Heart failure – (congestive heart failure): This happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s requirements.  Underlying conditions such as high blood pressure or coronary artery disease can leave the heart too stiff or weak to efficiently pump, by slowly sapping the heart of its strength.

Medications can improve symptoms and signs of chronic heart failure leading to survival but the condition cannot be reversed.  Like most chronic illnesses, heart failure can improve with the changing of lifestyle by eating healthy and exercise, which also improves the quality of life.

Mitral valve regurgitation (mitral valve prolapse) is a condition where the blood flows backwards into the heart.  This is caused by the mitral valve that does not close tightly.  When the valve does not work properly, the blood does not move through the body as efficiently as it should.

Mitral valve stenosis (mitral stenosis) with this disease the valve is blocked from opening properly and the blood flow is obstructed in the left chamber of the heart due to a condition where the heart mitral valve is narrowed.  With the narrowed mitral valve the blood is unable to flow efficiently through the heart onto the rest of the body.

Symptoms are similar for both valve problems:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Treatments are similar for both mitral valve problems, the valve may have to be repaired or replaced and if left untreated can lead to serious heart complications.

Medications:

Medications can calm the Mitral valve, which improves the symptoms and the survival rate.

Heart Murmurs: are abnormal sounds during a heartbeat.  The sound is made by turbulent blood near the heart making a swishing or whooshing noise.  Most murmurs do not need treatment, as they are quite harmless.  These are called “innocent” murmurs and are often found in new babies and children.  In fact most children have heart murmurs at sometime during their lives.  In some children abnormal murmurs can be serious if they are due to congenital heart disease.  Abnormal murmurs in adults are usually caused by valve problems.

Treatments:

1.  Innocent Heart Murmurs usually do not require treatment unless they are caused by hyperthyroidism or fever.  Once the condition is treated, the murmurs go away.

2.  Abnormal Heart Murmurs treatment is not usually given at first.  Depending on what is causing the heart problem the doctor will monitor the condition for a while and may prescribe either medication or surgery.

Signs and Symptoms:

Although most people are not aware that they have a heart murmur, the following signs would prompt the doctor to order diagnostic tests.

  • Skin that turns blue on both lips and finger tips.
  • Swelling.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Enlarged liver.
  • Enlarge neck veins
  • Poor appetite.
  • Weight gain.
  • Heavy sweating for no reason.
  • Chest pains.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.

Medication:

Depending on the type of heart condition, medications are given to ease or help the following symptoms.

  • To help your heart pump harder.
  • Prevent blood clots (which can cause blocked blood vessels).
  • Prevent fluid retention.
  • Lower blood pressure.

Surgery is used to:

To patch a hole in the heart.

Fix a valve.

Rebuild blood vessels

Widen a narrow blood vessel.

Diagnostic Testing:  are usually done to find the answers for the following questions

  • When the murmurs happen.
  • The length of time they last.
  • The murmurs’ pitch: high, medium, or low.
  • How loud a sound it makes
  • Where the heart is actually situated.

Additional Tests

  • Chest X-ray.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG).
  • Echocardiogram.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Cardiac catheterization.
  • Endocarditic
  • Valve calcification.

For more information please visit the following links:

http://www.heartandstroke.ca

http://www.bhf.org.uk/#&panel1-2

http:// www.­americanheart.­org

Written by Sylvia McGrath, 2007 updated February 2013

**Please note: that this is just to serve as an information resource, this is not to be used for diagnosis.  If you have any medical concerns or questions, please see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

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About writingmama

Sylvia McGrath ~ AKA Writingmama, a freelance writer from King City, Ontario has worked in the business field for about forty years obtaining business management experience and business writing skills. She also spent several years in social work for Children’s Services. Now retired is living her childhood dream of being a writer. A few years ago Sylvia decided to take a course in freelance writing, which she really enjoyed as it was the key to follow her dreams. Since completing the course, she has worked as a professional writer, a published poet and co-authored a book with Two Maximum Life Coaches about living with chronic illness; this is titled After The Diagnosis: The Journey Beyond.” She also co-authored an E-Book of Resources for the parents of children with special needs, chronic illness and learning challenges titled “The Treasure Chest of Resources,” part-one has already been sent to the Canadian National Library Archives. Sylvia has also written several articles on chronic illness for the following online sites. •www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/writingmama •www.helium.com/users/32475 •www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=Writingmom Besides working as a freelance writer, Sylvia still finds time for two other passions of hers; to volunteer as a literacy tutor for her local Learning Centre, and assist in facilitating of workshops on disability awareness. Her main mission for the future is to write a series of books for young adults and children who have learning challenges and suffer chronic illness. At present she is also the co-owner and columnist for “Professor Owl’s Newsletter” which is published on-line monthly for children.
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5 Responses to February is Heart and Stroke Awareness Month

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