Probably you are already well aware of certain risk factors for heart disease that pertain nearly exclusively to women. But have you ever heard about the following factors, which may seem weird?

  1. Early menarche. A study found that starting periods before age of 12 increases the risk of heart disease.1 At this, the early you have had your periods started, the greater are the chances. Girls who got their first menstruation before the age of 12 are 10% more likely to develop heart disease than those who got theirs at age 13 or older. Although it is not exactly known why, but this can be due to increased estrogen levels that can escalate the risk of atherosclerosis and stroke.

A pacemaker is an electronic device that helps control and regulate the heart rhythm. It consists of:

  • A computer with electrical circuits that restores the normal heart beat
  • A battery that provides power to the computer
  • Wires that connect the computer to the heart.

The device is covered with a thin metal box, out of which extend leads with sensors at their tips.

A pacemaker uses electrical impulses to make the heart beat at a normal rate. It is generally employed to overcome faulty electrical impulses in the heart that make the heart rate to become too slow and irregular – a condition known as bradycardia.

It may sound incongruous that pregnancy increases the risk of myocardial infarction by more than three times,1 whereas breastfeeding cancels out this risk. However, a study found that breastfeeding, especially for longer durations, helps reduce the risk for heart attack.2

The research presented at American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session looked at long-term health benefits of breastfeeding. It revealed that women with normal blood pressure during pregnancy who breastfed for at least 6 months had a significantly higher good cholesterol levels, lower levels of triglycerides and healthier carotid arteries thickness, as compared to women who had never breastfed. Moreover, such women had better cardiovascular health years and even decades after their infants have grown up.3

Blood is a body fluid composed of cells, proteins and substances that aid clotting. As with other things, our body relies on a balance to maintain a normal blood consistency. And if there develops an imbalance in the cells and proteins responsible for blood clotting, the blood can become too thick.

This condition, known as hypercoagulation, can be caused by excess red blood cells or excess clotting proteins in the blood, as well as by diseases that affect clotting.

When the blood is too thick, there form clots that obstruct the movement of oxygen, nutrients and hormones in the body, preventing them from reaching cells and tissues. This can lead to oxygen, hormonal and nutritional deficiencies, resulting in serious consequences. Blood clots can also travel to the arteries and veins in all the body organs, which in turn may lead to these organs damage. Therefore early detection and treatment are important.

Most people think that coughing is a common symptom of a cold or allergies, but it can also be a sign of a cardiovascular disease. It can happen when the right ventricle actively fills the lung tissue with blood, while the left one is unable to push it out at the same rate. This leads to a worsening of blood circulation and an increase in pressure in the lungs, causing hypoxia and making you constantly want to clear the throat and breathe in more air. This condition is known as a cardiac cough.

Symptoms and causes of a cardiac cough

A weak heart function and the emergence of a number of pathologies lead to stagnation of blood in the lungs – this is the main cause of a cardiac cough. At the same time, depending on the disease, a cardiac cough differs according to symptoms, pain level, and the presence or absence of expectorated blood.

Many of those who suffer from chest pain are afraid of a heart attack, but chest pain can have many other causes. Some of them are not dangerous, while others can be serious or even fatal. Chest pain is not always a symptom of a heart disease; it can originate in other organs such as the esophagus, stomach, and lungs or bone and muscle structures that make up the walls of the chest.

If the pain is not associated with a heart attack, then it can have the following manifestations:

  • A sour taste in the mouth

  • Pain that worsens or weakens with a change in body position

  • Pain that increases with deep breathing or coughing

  • Hypersensitivity when pressing on the chest.

Hyperlipidemia, or abnormal high levels of cholesterol in the blood, is a common problem, which can be either inherited or resulting from unhealthy lifestyle. The condition has no symptoms and most people don’t feel it at first, but sooner or later they will notice its effects.

Cholesterol can build up inside the arteries, making blood vessels narrower. This makes it more difficult for the blood to travel trough and the blood pressure can go up, resulting in cardiovascular diseases.

The cholesterol buildup can also cause a blood clot to form. If a clot breaks off and travels to the heart, it can be a cause of heart attack. If a clot travels to the brain, it can be a cause of stroke.

While hyperlipidemia itself doesn’t produce symptoms, if it turns into atherosclerosis or other serious and even critical conditions, the symptoms may include:

Every 34 seconds someone has a cardiovascular event, and every minute 1 American dies of one. Every year heart diseases take lives of 787,650 Americans1 and 17.7 million people globally. Every 5th patient who has suffered a heart attack faces the risk of having myocardial infarction or stroke or even die from cardiovascular complications during 3 years of follow-up. So, what mistakes can lead to death after a heart attack? What depends on doctors and what on patients themselves?

During a myocardial infarction the blood vessel which supplies the heart with blood is blocked by a clot or a plaque buildup. This deprives the heart of oxygen and the muscle begins to die. If the obstruction is not resolved and the blood flow is not restored quickly, there appears heart arrhythmia, acute heart failure and potential death.

It is well known that rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease that primarily affects joints. When the immune system attacks the lining of the membranes around the joints, called synovium, and initiates inflammation, the synovium begins to thicken, eventually damaging the cartilage and the bone.

However, the process doesn’t stop there. The inflammation can spread to all the systems in the body, such as the skin, lungs, eyes and heart, including coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. The inflammation can damage the endothelial cells that line the inside of arteries, promoting the development of atherosclerosis, which consequently narrows the arteries, raising blood pressure and restricting blood flow to the heart.

A mini-stroke is a temporary disruption in blood flow to the brain, spinal cord or retina that doesn’t result in permanent brain injury. It is usually caused by a blood clot in an artery that supplies the brain, and less often by bleeding into the brain tissue.

Unlike regular strokes, the blockage in mini-strokes breaks up on its own and the blood flow is restored, without damaging brain cells or causing permanent disability. For this reason a mini-stroke is often called a transient ischemic attack.

Heart failure and physical activity

If you have experienced heart attack, heart failure or have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, what now?
After receiving treatment, what can you do to improve cardiovascular health and physical fitness?
The answer to both questions is cardiac rehabilitation.
Cardiac rehabilitation employ a number of medical programs designed by physicians that help a patient recover from serious heart problems. These programs are specialized to meet the specific needs of the patient. An entire panel of professionals including doctors, nurses, dietitians, exercise therapists and physical therapists work to provide a safe recovery.

To learn more about Cardiology, we recommend the following websites:
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