Introduction Heart diseases are the main killer diseases in India. Heart diseases affect both men and women, rich and poor, young and the old. In the past decade, cardio vascular diseases has increased rapidly and more number of people are succumbing to heart diseases and strokes. WHO reports that cardio vascular diseases are the main causes of death and disability. India ranks at the top in the heart diseases. In India every minute, four people die in the age group of 30 and 50. The fast changing life styles has resulted in unhealthy habits making our bodies prone to many diseases. The hospitals are seeing more of younger generation going for treatments with cardiac problems. Due to high pressure lives, taking care of heart is very essential for normal living. Heart problems can be avoided by following simple and effective rules. Prevention is always the best cure.
World Heart Day The World heart day is observed world wide by the World heart foundation organization. It's an international campaign held on 29th September to create an awareness among the people about cardio- vascular diseases. The day promotes preventive measures to reduce the risks of heart diseases. The awareness program includes health check-ups, exhibitions, stages shows, sports events, runs, walks, science forums, screenings, concerts and public talks.
Structure of the Heart The heart of a man is conical and is situated obliquely, a little towards the left in the thoracic cavity between the lungs.The weight of the human organ is about 340 grams. Heart is only the size of your own fist. It is a muscular pumping organ. A double layered sac called pericardium encloses the heart. Pericardial fluid is present between the layers and protects the heart from mechanical shocks and friction. The heart consists of four chambers, upper two auricles and two lower ventricles. The septum separates the left and right parts. Tricuspid and bicuspid valves are present between auricles and ventricles. These valves prevent the back flow of the blood from ventricles to auricles. Deoxygenated blood is brought from different parts of the body by superior and inferior vena cava into the right auricle. Oxygenated blood from the lungs are brought by pulmonary veins into the left auricle. Aorta carries oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. Pulmonary artery carries the deoxygenated blood to the lungs.
Functions of the heart The cardiac muscles contract and relax rhythmically to create pressure to maintain the blood flow throughout the body. Contraction and relaxation of the auricles and ventricles contract and relax at the same time. Deoxygenated blood from the inferior and superior vena cava flows into right auricle. Oxygenated blood from pulmonary veins flows into left auricle. When auricles contract, deoxygenated blood flows from the right auricle to the right ventricle and oxygenated blood flows from the left auricle to the left ventricle through the tricuspid and bicuspid valves. When ventricles contract, deoxygenated blood from right ventricle flows into the pulmonary artery, oxygenated blood from the left ventricle flows into aorta. The semilunar valves prevent the backflow of the blood.
Blood circulation Double CirculationBlood flows through heart twice to complete one circulation in the body and it's called double circulation. It happens by two ways:
Pulmonary circulation: It is the route taken by the blood between heart and the lungs.
Systemic circulation: It is the route taken by the blood between the heart and the tissues of the body.
Heart beat The contraction of the heart muscles is called systole and the relaxation of the heart muscles is called diastole. One systole and one diastole together forms one heart beat. The two sounds of heart beat is heard as 'LUBB and DUP'. Heart beats about 72 times per minute in a healthy individual. It's measured by instrument, stethoscope
Blood pressure When left ventricle contracts the blood gets pumped into the aorta and then through its branches. The pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries is known as blood pressure. The blood pressure in a healthy individual is in the range of 120/80mm Hg
PulseThe wave like movement of the blood in the walls of the arteries is known as pulse. Pulse is felt at the wrist below the thumb.
Causes for heart diseases
Cardiac arrhythmiasThese are concerned with abnormalities in rhythm of the heart. The heart beats are very fast or very slow. The heart beats in an abnormal rhythm. Arrhythmias are different types, some are harmless but some are dangerous to life.
Cardiomyopathies These are diseases that affects the muscles of the heart. People of all ages are affected by this disease. These diseases are usually inherited. Here the heart becomes enlarged, thick or rigid. The pumping of the heart gets disturbed due to inability of the heart to pump blood.
Heart failure It is the most serious condition where in the heart loses its ability to pump blood efficiently throughout the body. The heart fails to pump blood that's required for the body's need. This may happen due to damage to the heart muscle, from a viral infection of due to excess consumption of alcohol. Other triggers are high blood pressure, heart valve disease or anaemia.
Cardiac arrest /Heart attack This happens when heart stops pumping blood. Heart attacks occurs when there is blood clot or blockage in an artery. An attack causes severe pain in the centre of the chest, and may last for hours. The rhythm of the heart becomes disturbed and the patient may lose consciousness and stop breathing. Silent heart attacks can happen without any pain associated. A health checkup/ electrocardiogram can detect this condition. It is corrected by by-pass surgery or angioplasty.
Congenital heartThese diseases are present at birth and the problems are related to heart structure and function. A hole in the septum allows blood from left auricle to the right auricle. This results in fatigue and respiratory infections. This condition inhibits growth in children. Blue baby is also a congenital defect. A baby with bluish complexion due to insufficient oxygenated blood in systemic circulation results in blue baby. This condition is rectifies by surgery.
Heart valve disease When the valves in the heart don't work properly it results in strain on the heart. The heart does not work properly, if there is abnormal narrowing of the valves, the heart has to work hard to pump the blood through the narrow valves. This leads to heart pumping less blood to the body parts and this defect results in heart failure.
Enlargement of heart chambersThis condition may result due to dilation of cavities or thickening of chamber walls resulting in improper circulation of blood in the body.
Coronary disease (Ischemic heart disease) It is one of the most common types of heart disease leading to death. The obstructing of blood supply to the heart muscle due to building of plaque inside the blood vessels in the heart causes coronary disease.
CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) It is needed immediately for cardiac arrest to make the person survive. CPR involves pumping the chest to make the blood flow from the heart to the body. Mouth to mouth resuscitation is to be done to put air into the lungs.
Symptoms of heart attack
Diagnostic tests for cardiac problems
Treatments for cardiac diseases
First Aid for a person with heart problems
Best ways to keep Heart Healthy
Electro Cardio Graph (ECG) ECG is a simple painless test. It detects all the hearts electrical activity and records it. An ECG shows how fast hart beats and the rhythm of the heartbeats. It shows the strength of timing of electrical impulses passing through the heart parts. An ECG poses no risks.
Best ways of healthy eating habits for heart
Conclusion When one is diagnosed with heart disease; it's difficult to deal with it becomes stressful and upsets ones life. Making necessary changes in lifestyles makes a difference and leads to steady and speedy recovery. The advanced medical technologies in medication and surgeries has helped the patients to lead a happy and full life. Be positive and be bold to face the situations. Consult the doctors/specialists before taking any measures or self medications. Check with your doctor regularly, seek advice and act accordingly. "Take care of your heart for a healthy living"
Note This information is prepared after researching several medical journals. Care has been taken to check the information. The information contained in this article are not to be used for treatment purpose or for diagnosis of health issues. Please consult your doctors for health related problems or queries that you may have.
For further reading on keeping body healthy
1.Heart Diseases Causes Symptoms and Best ways to keep heart healthy
2.How yoga benefits your body for healthy and happy living