What Is Heart Disease?
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Heart disease can cause a number of diseases and complications. Find out more about types of heart disease.
Transcript: Heart Disease affects more than 20 million Americans, and is one of the leading causes of death in this...
Heart Disease affects more than 20 million Americans, and is one of the leading causes of death in this country. But what exactly does the term heart disease mean? When most people talk about heart disease, they usually mean coronary artery disease, the illness which causes both angina and heart attacks. However, there are also other conditions that can affect our cardiovascular system, such as congestive heart failure and aneurysms. To better understand each of these diseases, it helps to review how the heart works. Basically the heart is a pump. Its purpose is to circulate blood to all of the organs of the body. The heart is made up of four chambers, two ventricles that pump blood out of the heart, and two atria, which hold the blood returning to the heart. The heart receives its entire supply of blood through the three coronary arteries. Coronary artery disease occurs when there is a buildup of fatty plaque known as atherosclerosis inside the coronary arteries. When the buildup is sufficient to restrict, but not stop, blood flow into the heart, the result is angina, a discomfort or pain in the chest. Angina isn't actually a disease, but rather is a symptom of coronary artery disease. When the buildup of atherosclerosis is sufficient to interrupt blood flow to the heart, the result is the death of heart muscle cells, commonly known as a heart attack. So, both angina and heart attacks are really caused by the buildup here, in the coronary arteries. Congestive Heart Failure, on the other hand occurs when the heart is pumping inefficiently and can no longer meet the body's need for blood. The ventricles, which are the main pumps within the heart, often are to blame for the insufficient blood flow. The "congestive" part of Congestive Heart Failure comes from the backup of blood in the veins leading into the heart. This backup causes the kidney to retain fluids. Other, less common diseases affect other parts of the heart. For example, when a patient is suffering from an aneurysm, that means that their aorta has swollen, creating a bulge in the artery. Understanding heart disease is an important first step towards prevention. It may also be worthwhile to learn how high blood pressure and cholesterol can impact your heart health, and to incorporate some of the lifestyle tips on preventing heart disease available in other videos in this library. Remember, heart disease is both complex and serious, and you should always consult a physician if you are concerned about your cardio health. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
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You know you're in pain, but is it a heart attack? Learn about heart attacks symptoms, and what to do in an emergency in this video.
Transcript: When someone has a heart attack, they need to receive medical attention as soon as possible. How can...
When someone has a heart attack, they need to receive medical attention as soon as possible. How can you tell when what you are experiencing is a heart attack? How should you respond? It can sometimes be hard to differentiate between the symptoms of a heart attack and more common occurrences like chest pain or severe heartburn. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to help tell the difference. While all three conditions are characterized by intense pain in and around the chest, there are several distinctive symptoms associated with a heart attack. Often, people suffering from a heart attack describe the pain they feel as radiating outward and leading to intense pain in the back, throat, or jaw. There can also be pain running down the left arm. Many heart attack sufferers also feel weakness and a distinct shortness of breath because the heart is no longer effectively circulating blood. Nausea, vomiting, a feeling of dizziness, and profuse sweating are also common symptoms of heart attack. All of these symptoms can be better understood in the context of what happens during a heart attack. The heart itself is a muscle, and its job is to circulate blood throughout the body. Oxygen-rich blood comes into the heart through two passages, known as the coronary arteries. Heart attacks occur when the fatty deposits or plaque build up in these arteries rupture and cause a clot in the artery. Without this oxygen-rich blood, the heart muscle begins to die, which is the source of the pain during a heart attack. Given this, it is not surprising that one other common symptom of heart attack is a rapid or an irregular heartbeat. The right response to a heart attack is simple. First, call 911 immediately, and ask for emergency help. Second, while you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive, take one regular strength aspirin tablet. This will prevent blood clotting that can worsen a heart attack. Being able to quickly recognize a heart attack will help you to respond fast, and the sooner you get proper treatment, the better your chances are of avoiding permanent damage to the heart. Remember, heart disease is both complex and serious, and you should always consult a physician if you have concerns. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
Last Modified: 2014-03-21 | Tags »
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Angina is not the same as a heart attack. Learn how to spot the symptoms of angina, and how you can treat it.
Transcript: Over 6 Million Americans suffer from Angina. But what exactly is Angina? Angina is chest pain or discomfort...
Over 6 Million Americans suffer from Angina. But what exactly is Angina? Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen. Angina is not the same thing as a heart attack, although its symptoms can sometimes appear similar. Angina occurs when the coronary arteries, the primary source of blood for the heart, become partially blocked by a build up of fatty deposits called plaque. This build up reduces the flow of blood to the heart, decreasing the supply of oxygen and causing the pain we experience as Angina.There are three different types of Angina. Unstable angina is a serious condition that requires emergency treatment, and sometimes signals an impending heart attack. Unstable angina is different from stable angina in that it can occur more frequently, can feel more severe, and can continue while at rest. Prinzmetals Angina is an unusual kind of Angina that occurs only when the patient is at rest, is exposed to cold temperatures, or is sleeping. Diagnosing angina requires a physical exam, a comprehensive medical history, and possibly a series of diagnostic tests. It is complex condition that can only be diagnosed by your doctor. While it may be possible for a physician to determine if you have Angina just from the physical exam and history, tests will often need to be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include an EKG, which measures the regularity of your heartbeat, stress tests to see how your heart responds to exercise, and diagnostic blood tests. For patients suffering from Angina, there are several effective treatment options available. The first and simplest option is a lifestyle change. Your doctor can advise you on how to make dietary changes, lose weight, and change your physical activities to avoid angina episodes. Your doctor may also be able to prescribe medications that can help with your angina. For example, nitrates can be used both to relieve pain during the onset of an episode and to actually prevent an episode. When other methods do not work, Angioplasty or Surgery may be necessary to treat Angina. It is important to understand that not all chest pain or discomfort is Angina. Chest pain can be caused by any number of factors including heart attack, lung problems, heartburn, or a panic attack. If you are experiencing chest pain, whether you believe it is Angina or something different, please see a physician as soon as possible. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
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More than 4 million people in the United States suffer from congestive heart failure. This is a condition in which the heart's pumping power is weaker than normal. Learn more in this video.
Transcript: Congestive Heart Failure affects over 5 million Americans, but it is still the most commonly misunderstood...
Congestive Heart Failure affects over 5 million Americans, but it is still the most commonly misunderstood kind of heart disease. So what exactly is Congestive Heart Failure? Congestive Heart Failure is a condition in which the heart's pumping power is weaker than normal, and cannot pump enough blood and oxygen throughout the body. When the heart is unable to pump blood as effectively as usual, the movement of blood through the body slows. At this point, blood begins to back up in the veins returning to the heart, which causes congestion in the chest tissue. It is from this feeling of congestion that congestive heart failure gets its name. The most common cause of Congestive Heart Failure is coronary artery disease, the same condition responsible for Angina and Heart Attack. Events which damage the heart, such as a heart attack can also lead to congestive heart failure. As well, congestive heart failure often comes about when a patient has a condition that chronically overworks the heart, like high blood pressure or diabetes. One of the most common symptoms of congestive heart failure is water retention, which occurs because of the reduced blood flow to the kidneys. This water retention causes swelling, known as Edema, which occurs most commonly in the legs and ankles. Other typical symptoms of congestive heart failure include shortness of breath, congested lungs, fatigue, and an irregular or rapid heartbeat. Doctors who suspect that a patient has CHF can attempt to confirm that diagnosis with a variety of blood tests or an EKG, which measures and charts the electrical impulses traveling through the heart. Managing Congestive Heart Failure begins with some lifestyle changes. Patients can improve their quality of life by adopting a healthy diet low in sodium and cholesterol, A moderated approach to daily life, with planned rest and the careful avoidance of overexertion is recommended. As well, several kinds of medication can be helpful, including beta-blockers to improve the heart's pumping action If a specific cause for the Heart Failure can be discovered your doctor will treat that root cause. In some cases a surgical procedure can be the best course of action, such as when the patient has a defective heart valve or when a heart transplant is necessary. Most people with mild to moderate Congestive Heart Failure can lead normal and productive lives, especially if the disease is found in its earliest stages. If you suspect you may be suffering from CHF or have concerns about your heart health, please seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
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Understanding cholesterol basics can help you avoid serious health conditions. Find out more information about cholesterol by watching this video.
Transcript: Cholesterol is a fatty substance found among the lipids in the bloodstream and in cells throughout the...
Cholesterol is a fatty substance found among the lipids in the bloodstream and in cells throughout the body. Cholesterol is not inherently "bad" - in fact, cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in the body that plays a critical role the formation of cell membranes and the manufacture of hormones. But the body only needs a small amount of Cholesterol to carry out these functions. When the body has too much Cholesterol that is when it becomes a potential health risk. To see why this is, it helps to understand a bit more about how cholesterol interacts with the body. Cholesterol and other fats cannot dissolve in the blood stream. So, they need to be transported in to and out of cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. Cholesterol is carried by two of these, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is the primary carrier of Cholesterol, while HDL moves only about one third of the cholesterol in the body. When the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream increases, the body needs to create additional lipoproteins to transport them. LDL has become known as "bad" cholesterol because when there is too much of it in the blood stream it tends to build up on the arterial walls, forming plaque. This plaque buildup clogs and hardens the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. This can lead to heart attack or a stroke. HDL has been dubbed "good cholesterol" because it seems to actually aid in removing cholesterol from the body, by carrying it away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body. Determining your cholesterol level is easy, and can be done with a simple blood test. The "normal level" of cholesterol for any individual depends upon their age, weight, and sex, but typically an LDL level of above 160 is considered high. Similarly an HDL level below 40 would usually be considered too low. Either high LDL levels or low HDL levels can put you at risk for plaque buildup. Although our bodies do naturally make a small amount of cholesterol, most of our cholesterol comes from ingesting fatty foods. The first and easiest way to reduce cholesterol is to restrict your fat intake. High cholesterol is an important factor in heart disease and stroke, and managing your cholesterol is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. The good news is that there are many effective ways to manage high cholesterol, as you can see from other films in this library. However, an important first step toward a heart healthy lifestyle should be to see your doctor and find out your Cholesterol level.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-01 | Tags »
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Heart disease affects 20 million Americans, but heart healthy living can prevent most heart disease. Learn more about how cholesterol, diet and exercise affect your heart.
Transcript: Make heart health a part of your life. Whether you're suffering from an existing condition or you just...
Make heart health a part of your life. Whether you're suffering from an existing condition or you just want to engage in a healthy, disease-preventive lifestyle, these tips can help. Even though 20 million Americans suffer from some form of Heart Disease, simple changes in diet and exercise can help you to keep your heart healthy. The leading cause of cardiovascular disease is high cholesterol, which affects a staggering 100 million Americans. Let's take a moment to understand what cholesterol is. While your body produces a small amount of cholesterol naturally, to make cell tissues and produce certain hormones, fatty foods are the primary source of cholesterol for most people. When someone has too much cholesterol in their blood it can lead directly to a buildup of "plaque" in your arteries. This is what is known as coronary artery disease, and can lead to a heart attack. There are two types of cholesterol. LDL or "bad" cholesterol is the type of cholesterol which causes plaque buildup and clogs arteries. HDL, also known as "good" cholesterol does not contribute to plaque buildup and actually removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. This explains why too much LDL cholesterol is bad for the body, and why a high level of HDL can be beneficial, as you can see here. It is not just your overall cholesterol level, but how that cholesterol is split between the LDL and HDL cholesterols, that provide a real sense of your risk for heart disease. I'm going to tell you about foods that will boost your good cholesterol or HDL and also guide you away from foods that will raise your overall and LDL cholesterol levels. Certain foods are full of good fats that contribute to good HDL cholesterol. But some foods are not so good for you, like.....Exercise is also an important part of any plan to lower your cholesterol levels. Let me demonstrate some exercises you can do in your own home that can help you on your path to heart health. Make cardio health the center of your plan for a good and long life. If you want to learn more about heart healthy eating and living, check out some of the other videos in this library to deepen your knowledge. Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.More »
Last Modified: 2012-10-24 | Tags »
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Handling high blood pressure is important in preventing cardiovascular disease. Thousands of people die every year due to high blood pressur complications. Get a handle on your blood pressure, starting now.
Transcript: Every 33 seconds, someone dies of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure is often a precursor to...
Every 33 seconds, someone dies of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure is often a precursor to heart disease, so preventing and controlling it is essential. Thirty percent of Americans have high blood pressure, or hypertension, and up to a third of them don't even know it! While extreme hypertension is often regulated with medication, some natural remedies can also help lower blood pressure. A. Blood pressure, which is measured in two ways, is the force at which the heart pumps blood. One measurement B. refers to systolic pressure, which measures blood pressure during heart contractions. C. The other measures diastolic pressure, or the force when the heart is relaxed. Blood pressure is expressed as systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. The optimal blood pressure is 120 over 80, while any measurement above 140 over 90 is classified as hypertension. While high blood pressure is cause for concern, lifestyle changes can often help control this condition. Watching what you eat is the first step to lowering high blood pressure. If you have hypertension, shake that salt habit! Although our bodies require only 500 milligrams of salt each day, most Americans ingest at least 7,000 milligrams! Once you have high blood pressure, too much sodium can make the problem worse. Replace salt with other delicious spices, like basil, dill and rosemary. A. Eating pasture-raised and organic meats is another easy way to lower blood pressure. B. By raising animals on natural grasses and foods, farmers can offer leaner cuts of meat. Following the specifications of the diet known as the dietary approach to stop hypertension, or DASH, can reduce high blood pressure within two weeks. A. The DASH diet recommends a daily consumption of 7 servings of grains, B. 5 servings of fruits C. and 5 of vegetables, D. 4 servings of nuts and beans, E. 2 servings of low-fat dairy, F. 2 or fewer servings of meats, G. and less than 5 weekly servings of sweets. A. You can also lower hypertension by eliminating tobacco and alcohol. B. Both can cause blood vessels to constrict, in turn making it harder for blood to flow through the body. Over fifty percent of people with high blood pressure are overweight. Just thirty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, like swimming or biking three times a week, can help reduce obesity and reverse high blood pressure. Because high blood pressure is often linked to stress, lowering stress levels may also help curb hypertension. One effective stress-reliever is yoga-try it with the opanasana pose. Lie flat on your back. Inhale, bringing both knees into your chest; then, as you exhale, bring your legs back to the ground. Inhale again as you bring your left knee inward, stretching your chin to touch the knee. Repeat by alternating knees. The most important thing you can do to combat high blood pressure is get tested by your doctor during your annual check-up. This ten-second procedure could save your life. If you've been diagnosed with hypertension, you can take healthy steps to lower your blood pressure. Remember, though, to see your doctor before starting any diet regimen.More »
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Coumadin can reduce the chance of a stroke and a heart attack considerably. Check out this video to learn why doctors have approved Coumadin as an effective blood thinner.
Transcript: Coumadin is the brand name for warfarin, an anticoagulant, or blood thinner, which was approved by the...
Coumadin is the brand name for warfarin, an anticoagulant, or blood thinner, which was approved by the FDA in 1952. Warfarin is a prescription medication which is available as a generic drug and under the brand name Coumadin. Warfarin is an anticoagulant-or blood thinner-which means it helps to keep blood from clotting. Here's how warfarin works: Vitamin K helps stop excessive bleeding through clot-formation. Sometimes though, clots can form too readily and block blood supply to vital organs. When that happens, warfarin hinders the action of Vitamin K, resulting in thinner blood and fewer clots. Warfarin is often prescribed for people who have suffered heart attacks. It can be used to prevent the formation of a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lungs, and to prevent venous thrombosis, which is a clot in the veins. Patients with rapid or irregular heartbeats and those who have artificial heart valves may also take this medication as a precautionary measure. Warfarin can be taken orally in tablets from one to ten milligrams. While taking warfarin, you should be prepared for frequent blood tests to measure your clotting time. The two most serious side effects of warfarin are gangrene and internal bleeding, but be sure to ask your doctor for a complete list. And, tell your physician immediately if you experience signs of internal bleeding, like blood in your urine, fainting spells, paralysis, or any other significant changes. Warfarin should not be taken in conjunction with aspirin or other drugs that thin the blood, like Ibuprofen. Ask your doctor for a full list of medications and conditions that should not be combined with warfarin. Because of its anticoagulant effects, Coumadin can be very effective in treating blood clots. However, it can be dangerous too, resulting in excess bleeding. Always use warfarin under the direct care of a physician. Please ask for and review all of the patient information provided by your doctor before taking warfarin. "The information in this video is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise of your physician. Always consult your doctor before using this drug."More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-17 | Tags »
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What is hypertension? Hypertension is commonly known as high blood pressure. If untreated, this condition can lead to heart disease. Get more information by watching this video.
Transcript: One in four Americans has high blood pressure, and almost half of them don't even know it! Let's take...
One in four Americans has high blood pressure, and almost half of them don't even know it! Let's take a closer look at this common condition. To truly understand high blood pressure-or hypertension as it's known in the medical community-it helps to have a basic knowledge of the circular path through which blood flows. Normally, blood leaves the heart through arterioles, which then taper into small capillaries and supply the body with oxygen. The blood finishes its circular journey by returning to the heart. On occasion, various factors can cause the arterioles to narrow. When this occurs, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the smaller opening. This is high blood pressure. It's easy to ignore the threat of hypertension. San Francisco 49ers great, Joe Montana, certainly wasn't worried about this condition-he was too busy leading his team to four Super Bowl victories! But despite his active lifestyle, Joe did have high blood pressure. Because hypertension is often asymptomatic, Joe wasn't even aware of the problem until after his retirement. Due to cases like this, doctors have nicknamed high blood pressure, "the silent killer." Not getting treatment for hypertension is bad news, because up to 70 percent of strokes are a direct result of the condition! Plus, high blood pressure contributes to heart attacks and kidney failure. To sidestep these consequences, a doctor should test your blood pressure at every check-up. Blood pressure is measured in two ways. One measurement refers to systolic pressure, which records blood pressure when the heart is contracting. The other measures diastolic pressure, or the force when the heart is relaxed. Blood pressure measurement is usually written as systolic over diastolic and provides the basis for determining whether a patient's blood pressure is in the healthy range, or if it's at dangerously high. Optimal blood pressure is below 120 over 80, while a measure above 140 over 90 is classified as hypertension. Blood pressure that lies in the middle is called pre-hypertension, and means that the patient is at risk of developing high blood pressure. In 95 percent of cases the cause of high blood pressure is unknown, but there ARE certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing hypertension. Among those with a higher hypertension risk are people with a family history of high blood pressure, people over the age of 40, those who are overweight or sedentary, women who take birth control pills and African-Americans. The only way to know for sure if you have hypertension is to visit your doctor regularly. Because hypertension is the precursor for many heart diseases, it is important to get checked at every visit. Becoming aware of the severity of high blood pressure, and actively being tested for it will help to ensure that the "silent killer" isn't silent in YOUR life.More »
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Kidney damage, stroke and heart disease are some of the consequences of high blood pressure. But they can often be prevented. Find out more in this video.
Transcript: Among people who have high blood pressure, thirty percent don't even know about it! And that's bad news,...
Among people who have high blood pressure, thirty percent don't even know about it! And that's bad news, because untreated hypertension causes thousands of deaths each year. As many as 65 million Americans over the age of six have high blood pressure, or hypertension. So what are the consequences of this epidemic? A stroke, which affects the arteries leading to the brain, is one of hypertension's most serious consequences. Strokes are caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain, or by a blood vessel rupturing with the same result. Al Capone is best known for his life of crime in prohibition America, where he was heralded as the boss of the criminal organization Chicago Outfit. What many people don't know about Capone however, is that he suffered a stroke while in prison, which led to his demise at just 48. People with hypertension are eight times more likely to suffer from strokes like Capone's than people with normal blood pressure. In fact, high blood pressure is identified as the number one risk factor for strokes. People with hypertension are also twice as likely to suffer from heart attacks. A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the heart is blocked. Like strokes, heart attacks can result in death. High blood pressure is also the number one risk factor for developing congestive heart failure. This serious condition occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. In addition, people with untreated hypertension often suffer kidney damage or even kidney failure. The kidneys act as filters to rid the body of waste. Over time, high blood pressure can narrow and thicken the blood vessels of the kidneys, making it difficult for them to do their job and resulting in waste build up in the blood. High blood pressure can also affect the arteries and arterioles, or smaller arteries, throughout the body. As we age, our arteries harden and become less elastic. While this occurs gradually in all people, those with hypertension experience a speeding up of the process, causing the heart and kidneys to work harder. Even the eyes are not immune to the effects of hypertension! Long-term high blood pressure can eventually cause blood vessels in the eyes to burst or bleed. As a result, vision can become blurred or otherwise impaired. In some cases, total blindness can occur. These consequences are frightening, but the good news is that they ARE avoidable. Clinical trials have found that lowering blood pressure to acceptable levels can reduce the risk of stroke by 35 percent, the likelihood of heart attack by 25 percent and the occurrence of heart failure by 50 percent! If you have hypertension, or think you may be a candidate for developing the condition, please talk to your doctor about treatment options.More »
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High blood pressure medication can help you effectively control your condition. Watch the video to learn more about the different types of medications that are available.
Transcript: If you're among the 25 percent of Americans with high blood pressure, your first line of defense will...
If you're among the 25 percent of Americans with high blood pressure, your first line of defense will usually be hypertension medication. If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body. This can lead to the biggest killer in America: Heart disease. Luckily, prescription medication can help treat this common condition. Just like all people with hypertension are not the same, neither are all blood pressure medications! Let's look at some common options. Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, or ACE-inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers, or ARB drugs, both effect the hormonal system that regulates blood pressure. The renin-angiotensin system, works like this: The kidneys produce an enzyme, renin, which is converted to the hormone angiotensin. Angiotensin controls constriction of the arteries. While active angiotensin causes them to narrow, the inactive form does not. Both ACE-inhibitors and ARB drugs stop angiotensin from becoming active so that it cannot narrow the arteries, effectively lowering blood pressure. ACE-inhibitors, like Vasotec and Zestril, are quite valuable, but with one downside: The common cough that often accompanies the medication. For this reason, some people may find ARB drugs, like Avapro and Cozaar, to be more convenient. Some people with hypertension are treated with a group of medications known as beta-blockers, like Tenormin, Inderal and Toprol. Beta-blockers work on the sympathetic nervous system, a part of the body that helps regulate involuntary functions, such as your heart beat. These medications slow the heart rate and reduce the force of its contractions. While beta-blockers are useful for hypertension suffers who also have angina or have experienced a recent heart attack, the side-effects, which can include depression and nightmares, don't make it ideal for everyone. Alpha-blockers, like Hytrin and Cardura, cause the heart's arteries to widen, thereby lowering blood pressure. Alpha-blockers may be particularly useful for patients with enlarged prostate glands. But, because they can actually increase the risk of heart-related problems, alpha-blockers are recommended for use only in conjunction with other drugs. Calcium channel blockers, or CCBs, inhibit the movement of calcium into the muscle cells of the heart and arteries. Because calcium is needed for the heart to contract, these drugs decrease the force of the heart's pumping, thereby lowering blood pressure. CCBs are available in sustained-release and short-acting form. Examples of commonly prescribed CCBs include Calan, Norasc, and Cardizem. Perhaps the oldest known hypertension medications are diuretics, like Hydrodiuril and Lasix. Excess salt in the body leads to excess fluid, which, in turn, causes increased pressure on the heart, or high blood pressure. Diuretics work in the tiny tubules of the kidneys to remove fluid from the body. No matter what medication or combination of medications your doctor prescribes for you, it is vital to take drugs EXACTLY per your physician's instructions.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-01 | Tags »
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Cholesterol is not always bad for you. But understanding cholesterol can help you avoid some of the serious conditions associated with it. Learn more about developing a healthy lifestyle.
Transcript: Cholesterol-you hear the word all the time! But what does it really mean, and why should you care? Cholesterol...
Cholesterol-you hear the word all the time! But what does it really mean, and why should you care? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and in cells throughout the body. Because it often has negative connotations, it may surprise you to know that cholesterol is not inherently "bad." In fact, this naturally occurring substance plays a critical role in the formation of cell membranes and the manufacture of hormones. But you only need a small amount of cholesterol to carry out these functions, so when too much cholesterol is present in your body, it becomes a health risk. To understand this more fully, let's look at how cholesterol works. Cholesterol doesn't dissolve in the blood stream. Instead, it is transported in and out of cells by carriers called low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, and high-density lipoproteins, or HDL. When the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream increases, the body needs to create additional lipoproteins to transport them. LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol, because too much of it results in plaque build-up on the arterial walls. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, hardens and clogs the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. HDL, on the other hand, has been dubbed "good cholesterol," because it aids in removing cholesterol from the body, carrying it away from the arteries to the liver where, it's passed out of the body. Determining your cholesterol level can be done with a simple blood test. The "normal level" of cholesterol for any individual varies depending upon their age, weight, and sex. Typically, though, an LDL level above 160 is considered high. Similarly an HDL level below 40 is usually too low. Both high LDL levels and low HDL levels can put you at risk for plaque buildup. About 75 percent of the cholesterol in the blood is made by your liver and other cells in your body. The other 25 percent comes from the food you eat. Cholesterol is found in animal products like meat, eggs, poultry, and liver, which is a particularly high source. This is why eating less saturated fat from animals is a good first step toward lowering your cholesterol to a healthy level. Because high cholesterol can be a big risk factor for both heart disease and stroke, managing your levels is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you think you may have high cholesterol, or if you have a family history of the condition, please see your doctor for a test.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-17 | Tags »
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