Cardiovascular disease (CVD) describes any of the following conditions: high blood pressure, Coronary heart disease, Myocardial infarction (acute heart attack), Angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort caused by reduced blood supply to the heart muscle) and Stroke.
(Adapted from americanheart.org)
The following factors may increase your risk for cardiovascular disease:
• Increasing age
• Post menopausal women
• Heredity (including Race)
• Tobacco smoke
• High blood cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Physical inactivity
• Obesity and overweight: excess body fat especially around the midsection (waist)
• Poor ability to adapt to stress
• Excessive alcohol intake
Sudden cardiac death (also called sudden cardiac arrest, SCD or SCA) is a sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function (sudden cardiac arrest). The heart abruptly and without warning stops working, so blood can no longer be pumped to the rest of the body. SCD is the largest cause of natural death in the United States, causing about 325,000 deaths each year. The victims may or may not have diagnosed heart disease. The time and mode of death are unexpected. It occurs within minutes after symptoms appear. Sudden death from cardiac arrest is a major health problem that's received much less publicity than heart attack.
(Adapted from americanheart.org and clevelandclinic.org)
Yes. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. A heart attack (also known as a myocardial infarction), occurs when a blockage in a blood vessel interrupts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, causing heart muscle to die. To help understand the difference, if the heart can be compared to a house, SCD occurs when there is an electrical problem and a heart attack occurs when the problem is the plumbing.
(Adapted from hrspatients.org)
Factors that can increase a person's risk of sudden cardiac arrest and sudden death include:
• Previous heart attack
• Coronary artery disease
• Ejection fraction of less than 40 percent, combined with ventricular tachycardia
• Prior episode of sudden cardiac arrest
• Family history of sudden cardiac arrest or SCD
• Personal or family history of certain abnormal heart rhythms including long QT syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, extremely low heart rates or heart block
• Ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation after a heart attack
• History of congenital heart defects or blood vessel abnormalities
• History of syncope (fainting episodes of unknown cause)
• Heart failure: a condition in which the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal
• Dilated cardiomyopathy (cause of SCD in about 10 percent of the cases): a decrease in the heart’s ability to pump blood due to an enlarged (dilated) and weakened left ventricle
• Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a thickened heart muscle that especially affects the ventricles)
• Significant changes in blood levels of potassium and magnesium (from using diuretics, for example), even if there is not organic heart disease
• Recreational drug abuse
• Taking drugs that are “pro-arrhythmic” may increase the risk for life-threatening arrhythmias
(Adapted from clevelandclinic.org)
An Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) is a device that measures the electrical activity of your heart. Used to detect heart rhythm problems, it is also a quick, simple and painless test that provides important information about possibly serious heart disease.
An echocardiogram (Echo) or ultrasound of the heart is a quick, simple and painless test that displays moving images of the heart using ultra high frequency sound waves. This test is similar to having ultrasound pictures of an early pregnancy taken in women. The test can identify problems with the hearts structure and also measure the pumping function of the heart to determine the EF.
Ejection Fraction is the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during each beat or contraction. In a healthy heart, 50-75% of the blood is pumped out during each beat. This indicates that the heart is pumping well and able to deliver an adequate supply of blood to the body and brain. Many people with heart failure and heart disease pump out less that 50%. An echocardiogram is used to determine your ejection fraction.
The Electron Beam Tomography scanner (EBT or EBCT) Heart Scan is the gold standard diagnostic tool for predicting your risk of a heart attack. The scan detects traces of calcification in the coronary arteries, the earliest indicator of heart disease. The EBCT scan is the only CT scan approved by the FDA for the detection of coronary calcium.
Your Calcium Score reflects the degree of calcifications in your coronary arteries. The amount of calcium that is measured is reported as a “calcium score.” The higher the calcium score, the higher your chance of having a heart attack. Coronary calcium is much more predictive of your risk of a heart attack than all the traditional risk factors, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity or diabetes. Armed with this information, you can now act to reduce and even reverse your risk.
• If you want to learn more about your heart health
• If you suffer form high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, chronic lung condition, alcohol dependency, smoke cigarettes, suffered a previous stoke or any hear condition
• If you have a family history of heart disease or sudden death
• If you have been diagnosed with a heart murmur
• If you are an athlete concerned about your heart health
• If you are not feeling well and are concerned about your heart health
• If you don’t know your Ejection Fraction (EF)
• If you have not had and EKG or an Echocardiogram in the past year
• If you are looking for peace of mind
• Men over the age of 35 with one or more cardiac risk factor
• Women over the age of 40 with one or more cardiac risk factor
• Borderline or mildly elevated lipids (or HDL <35)
• If you have a family history of heart disease (even with normal lipids)
• Chest pain with normal or equivocal stress test
• If you have intermediate coronary risk
• If you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, chronic lung condition, alcohol dependency, smoke cigarettes, suffered a previous stoke or any heart condition
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