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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. How would I know if I were having a heart attack?
  2. I carry nitroglycerin pills all the time. If I have heart attack symptoms, shouldn’t I try them first?
  3. Do women need to worry about heart disease.
  4. What does high blood pressure have to do with heart disease?
  5. How can I lower my cholesterol?
  6. Should I take a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack?
  7. What is heart disease?
  8. One of my family members had a heart attack. Does that mean I will have one too?
  9. What are triglycerides?
  10. What is a pacemaker and how does it work?
  11. What is cardiac catheterization?
  12. What is a stroke and what are the warning signs of stroke?
  13. What is atherosclerosis?

How would I know if I were having a heart attack?

  • It is not easy to tell if one is having a heart attack. Symptoms vary greatly from one individual to another. However, there are signs that one can suspect that a heart attack is in progress. The individual usually has a sensation of an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or discomfort in the middle of the chest. In addition, this discomfort can radiate to the left arm and at times to both arms and can radiate to the neck and to the lower portion of the lower jaw, some people complain that their lower teeth are hurting. Moreover, some break into a cold sweat and get light-headed. If these unusual feeling manifest themselves, do not wait just call 911 and have these symptoms checked immediately. Call right away.
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I carry nitroglycerin pills all the time. If I have heart attack symptoms, shouldn’t I try them first?

  • If your physician prescribed nitroglycerine pills for your heart condition, you should take them exactly as prescribed. If in doubt check with you physician on how to take them
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Do women need to worry about heart disease.

  • An absolute yes, among all U.S. women who die each year, one in four dies of heart disease. In 2004, nearly 60 percent more women died of cardiovascular disease (both heart disease and stroke) than from all cancers combined. The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease. However, women of all ages should be concerned about heart disease. All women should take steps to prevent heart disease.
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What does high blood pressure have to do with heart disease?

  • Blood pressure is the force that the heart pumps or pushes the blood against the walls of the arteries including the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle itself. Years of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension against the walls of arteries can result in damage, hence favoring the formation of clots, fatty deposits, also known as atherosclerosis.
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How can I lower my cholesterol?

  • There are many ways of lowering the amount of cholesterol. The first step you need to decide is whether you are considered overweight for your age, gender and height. If you are, then dropping few pounds will considerably be helpful. The next step is to modify your diet. Be vigilant for what is on your plate, eat foods that are low in saturated fats, avoid trans-fats; increase the intake of fish, poultry and lean meats. Avoid frying foods, instead broil or bake your meals. Avoid altogether organ meats since they are high in cholesterol. Add to your diet fruits, vegetable, whole grain and cut down on your sugars. Engage in an exercise program. Learn more.
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Should I take a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack?

  • Aspirin could be harmful when taken with other prescribed medication. Consult with your physician if taking aspirin on a regular basis is beneficial to your condition. Remember that your physician the only person that knows your medical condition. Always consult with your doctor when you change any of your habits.
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What is heart disease?

  • Heart disease is a broad term; many ailments could be included and labeled as heart disease. Heart Disease falls into two categories; congenital and acquired. The congenital category includes all the malformation and deformities that occurs during the formation of the fetus in the womb. This category does not fall within the scope of this book. Acquired disease form during our lifetime and manifest themselves as heart attack, valvular disease such as aortic stenosis or mitral stenosis, irregular chronic heart rhythm and many others
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One of my family members had a heart attack. Does that mean I will have one too?

  • If your dad or brother had a heart attack before age 55, or if your mom or sister had one before age 65, you are more likely to develop heart disease. This does not mean you will have a heart attack. It means you should take extra good care of your heart to keep it healthy. Have regular check-ups and maintain good eating habits. Engage in an exercise program. Always consult with your physician prior to and changes.
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What are triglycerides?

  • Triglycerides are fats that provide energy for your muscles. Like cholesterol, they are transported to your body's cells by lipoproteins in the blood. If you eat foods with a lot of saturated fat or carbohydrates, you will raise your triglyceride levels. Elevated levels can lead to a greater risk for heart disease, but scientists do not agree that high triglycerides alone are a risk factor for heart disease. Although triglycerides serve as a source of energy for your body, very high levels can lead to diabetes, pancreatitis, and chronic kidney disease. As triglyceride levels rise, HDL levels fall, which may help explain why people with high triglycerides appear to have an increased risk for heart disease.
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What is a pacemaker and how does it work?

  • A pacemaker is a surgically implanted device that helps regulate your heartbeat. Pacemakers use batteries that produce an electrical impulses that flow through tiny wires (called leads) that are placed in the heart. The impulses maintain a proper heart rate at regular intervals. Most pacemakers work only when needed. A pacemaker is a sensing device that regulates the heartbeat in the event that the heart rate is diminishes due to an underlying rhythm problem. Pacemaker can last up to five years or longer. Pacemakers can be replaced during a minor surgical procedure.
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What is cardiac catheterization?

  • Cardiac Catheterization is a test in which the cardiologist introduces a small catheter in an artery usually the femoral artery from the groin area. This catheter is advanced under the direct vision of x-ray until it reaches the heart. Once in the heart several tests are conducted by measuring the pressures within the heart chambers, by injecting some radio-opaque solution also known as “dye” to visualize the anatomy of the ventricle, coronary arteries and much more. When all the data is collected your cardiologist, will have a clear understanding of the heart and can determine the course of treatment if any. Based upon the results, a patient could have normal results. Others might require correcting a coronary obstruction with angioplasty and others still might need a surgical intervention.
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What is a stroke and what are the warning signs of stroke?

  • A stroke is an injury to the brain and may severely affect your entire body. The term atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries is associated with stroke. An obstructed blood vessel, blood clots, aneurysms and bleeding arterioles are all causes for stroke. The risk factors like heart disease are hypertension, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, elevated levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. The warning signs are usually weakness or numbness in your face or in your arm or leg, trouble talking or understanding others, difficulty walking, and temporary loss of vision, double vision, and dizziness. If these signs occur, seek immediate medical help.
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What is atherosclerosis?

  • Atherosclerosis is a condition where a waxy substance forms inside the arteries that supply blood to your heart. This substance, called plaque, is made of cholesterol, fatty compounds, calcium, and fibrin (a blood-clotting material). Scientists think atherosclerosis begins when the inner lining of the artery (the endothelium) is damaged. High blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, fat, and triglycerides in the blood, and smoking are believed to lead to the development of plaque. Atherosclerosis may continue for years without causing symptoms.
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