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Heart disease facts Free essay! Download now

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Heart disease facts

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1895 | Submitted: 02-Oct-2011
Spelling accuracy: 64.1% | Number of pages: 7 | Filetype: Word .doc


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Heart disease facts

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Heart disease facts
Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of death in the United States. Over a million people each year will have a heart attack and 25% will die before they get to the hospital while or in the Emergency Department.
Prevention is the key to treatment of heart disease.
Diagnosis of heart disease is often made by careful history taken by a health care practitioner. Some individuals may have atypical symptoms, including almost none at all.
The testing strategy to confirm the diagnosis and plan appropriate treatment needs to be individualized for each patient diagnosed with heart disease.
Treatment of heart disease depends upon the severity of disease, and is often directed by the symptoms experienced by the affected individual.
Introduction to heart disease
The heart is like any other muscle, requiring oxygen and nutrient-rich blood for it to function. The coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle spread across the surface of the heart, beginning at the base of the aorta and branching out to all areas of the heart muscle.
The coronary arteries are at risk for narrowing as cholesterol deposits, called plaques, build up inside the artery. If the arteries narrow enough, blood supply to the heart muscle may be compromised (slowed down), and this slowing of blood flow to the heart causes pain, or angina.
A heart attack or myocardial infarction occurs when a plaque ruptures, allowing a blood clot to form. This completely obstructs the artery, stopping all blood flow to part of the heart muscle, and that portion of muscle dies.
What are the risk factors for heart disease?
Risk factors for heart disease include:
Smoking
High blood pressure (hypertension)
High cholesterol
Diabetes
Family history
Peripheral artery disease
Obesity
What are the symptoms of heart disease?
The typical symptoms of coronary artery disease are chest pain associated with shortness of breath. Classically, the pain of angina is described as a pressure or heaviness behind the breast bone with radiation to the jaw and down the arm accompanied by shortness of breath and sweating. Unfortunately, angina has a variety of signs and symptoms, and there may not even be specific chest pain. Other locations of pain and other symptoms may include shoulder or back ache, upper abdominal pain, nausea, and indigestion.
Women, the elderly, and people with diabetes may have different perceptions of pain or have no discomfort at all. Instead, they may complain of malaise or fatigue and generalized weakness and the inability to complete routine physical tasks such as walking or climbing stairs.
Health care practitioners and patients may have difficulty understanding each other when symptoms of angina are described. Patients may experience pressure or tightness but may deny any complaints of pain. Health care practitioners may misinterpret these symptoms when patient ...

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