Fitness

Common Heart Problems and How to Deal with Them

Common Heart Problems and How to Deal with Them

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Heart problems are much more common than we think. Shockingly, around 610,000 people in the United States die from heart diseases every year and many more struggle through life with various heart conditions.

Although we tend to think of heart conditions as problems older people have, you can experience issues with the heart at any stage in your life, which is why it is important that you should be able to identify and deal with common heart problems.

Hypertension

Did you know that roughly 50 percent of women aged 45 and over suffer from hypertension in the USA? Hypertension, or high blood pressure, as it is more commonly known, can, over time, cause the arteries to become less flexible. This makes it more difficult for blood to travel through them and it can lead to damaged blood vessels and diseases such as kidney failure, blindness, and stroke as well as a heart attack.

Unfortunately, doctors are seeing more and more cases of hypertension in younger women due to the fact that more of us than ever before are now overweight. Being overweight or obese puts a lot of strain on every part of the body, including the arteries and heart. If you are overweight, eat too much salty junk food and have diabetes in the family, you are at an increased risk of hypertension, and you will need to look out for the tell-tale signs of the condition.

Symptoms of Hypertension

One of the problems with hypertension is that it quite often does not manifest any symptoms and you are left blissfully unaware that you are suffering from the condition. However, if you experience dizziness, headaches or blurred vision, this could be a sign that your blood pressure is too high.

What Should You Do?

If you experience any of the symptoms above, first and foremost, you should make an appointment with your doctor to have them check out your blood pressure. If you are diagnosed with hypertension, you should then seek to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Things like losing weight, lowering your salt intake, exercising eating a healthy balanced diet, along with taking measures to lower your stress levels, could lower your blood pressure to normal levels in as little as three months. You can also get medication to help lower your blood pressure, but it is certainly better to change your lifestyle first if you can.

Even if you do get your blood pressure down to normal levels, you should still make a yearly appointment with your doctor to have your blood pressure taken and monitored. Check out http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974 if you would like to know more about curing your hypertension without the use of drugs.

Palpitations

Palpitations are characterized by a rapid, irregular heartbeat. When you start to have palpitations, it can feel pretty scary, and you might feel like you are going to die, but don’t panic because, in most cases, palpitations are caused by non-serious issues like an excess of caffeine, stress, panic attacks, and dehydration. However, in some cases, palpitations can be a sign that something more serious is wrong. Heart issues like atrial fibrillation have palpitations listed as one of the main symptoms, and since this illness can lead to strokes and heart failure, it is something that needs attention.

The Symptoms

When you are having palpitations, your heart begins to flutter, skip and pound. It may beat much faster than usual even when you are resting. You may also feel dizzy and faint when palpitations occur.

What Should You Do?

If you’ve only had palpitations once, stay dehydrated and avoid caffeine. If you keep getting them, you should take yourself to the hospital and have them perform an echocardiogram and a Holter monitor which tests for a less-serious condition known as arrhythmia. You might also want to check out www.abbottep.com/patients/treatment-options/living-with-arrhythmia-afib/repeat-procedures/ which will give you some information about dealing with atrial fibrillation and the options you have if that is your diagnosis.

High cholesterol

Despite what most people think, cholesterol is not entirely bad for the body. Cholesterol, which is a way, fatty substance located in the blood, is used to help the body produce vital hormones. However, too much of the bad cholesterol can be problematic.

There are three kinds of cholesterol. Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) is the bad cholesterol that can turn into plaque which fills the arteries and puts pressure on three heart, which could cause a heart attack or stroke. LDL cholesterol can be made up of big or small particles, and it is the big particles which are most likely to cause an issue.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a good cholesterol which moves excess cholesterol away from the arteries where it can cause so many problems.

Triglycerides are a type of fat that the body produces, and they can block the arteries if too many of them are present in the body.

Approximately one-third of all women have high cholesterol levels, and you are at more risk of suffering from this problem is you are overweight or live a sedentary life. You can also inherit a genetic propensity for high cholesterol and may find your cholesterol levels rise when you are older and going through the menopause.

What are the Symptoms?

Unfortunately, there are no obvious symptoms of high cholesterol until something like a heart attack strikes. So, you should aim to get tested by your doctor every five years, on average, unless you are going through the menopause or you have other health issues which require you to really keep on top of your heart health.

What Should You Do?

If you have high cholesterol already, or you want to avoid it in the future, you should start lowering the number of fats in your diet significantly and taking regular exercise. This should lower your levels in a matter of months, but if after 12 weeks or so, your cholesterol levels are still too high, you might have to take statins – a medication which can lower cholesterol and but your chances of heart attack, heart disease, and other heart-related issues. You can find out more about statins at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Cholesterol-Medications_UCM_305632_Article.jsp, and if you have a family history of heart disease, you might want to think about taking statins when you’re in midlife regardless of your current cholesterol levels. A doctor will be able to advise you on this.

Heart Failure

Heart failure happens when the heart is no longer able to pump blood around the body in the correct manner. Most often, heart failure happens because the heart is too stiff or weak. Many people panic when they hear ‘heart failure’ because they think it means their heart is no longer working at all, but that isn’t the case. The heart is still working, just not as well as it could or should. Usually, it is older people who suffer from heart failure, but it can strike anyone down at any age.

What are the Symptoms?

The primary symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Constant fatigue which worsens when you exercise
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic coughing
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Heart failure

What Should You Do?

If you experience any of the above symptoms persistent ally, or if they get worse over time, you should see your doctor and have some tests done immediately.

If symptoms come on suddenly and if they are very severe, you should call an ambulance straightaway because acute heart failure can happen in an instant and the effects can be devastating.

When you’re in the hospital, doctor will be able to carry out an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and blood tests to see how well your heart is performing. Check out http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/basics/definition/con-20029801 for more information about heart failure and what it could mean for you.

Heart failure can be caused by a number of things including coronary heart disease, hypertension, atrial fibrillation and a number of other conditions, but living a healthy lifestyle filled with exercise, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can go a long way to preventing the condition in most people, especially those who take steps to lead a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

Take Care

Because most of these heart problems are easily preventable in most cases, you need to. Take responsibility for your life and do all you can to get and stay healthy. Even if you have not been particularly healthy in the past, making a change now could cut your risk of many heart-related illnesses as you age, so it is well worth taking the time to reevaluate your life and make as many positive changes as you can.

If you are worried and you think you might have a heart condition or be at risk of one, you should always seek the advice of a trained medical professional, who is the only person that can accurately diagnose you with an illness and prescribe the right course of treatment to get you as healthy as you can. See a doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms and you’ll be all the better for it.

Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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