Tag: EKG

Is It Possible To Have A Heart Attack And Not Know It

Heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is the leading cause of death in the United States. Recent studies have confirmed that sometimes people do unknowingly have a mild heart attack. These “silent heart attacks” can lead to serious heart muscle weakness. In fact, one-in-four heart attacks may not produce any of the normal symptoms someone would associate with heart problems. In most instances, the silent heart attack isn’t life-threatening but could still cause slight damage to the heart muscles or arteries leading to the heart.

Unhealthy activities such as smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, lack of exercise and drugs often lead to issues that can cause heart attacks. High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity are also contributors to an unhealthy heart and potentially lead to heart attack. If you live with any of the contributing factors for heart attack or heart disease, you should undergo screening for potential heart problems.

Heart Attack or Something Else?

Tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing accompanied by pain or numbness in the left arm could be symptoms of a very serious heart attack. They could also be symptoms of indigestion or acid reflux. Symptoms lasting more than five minutes could indicate a serious heart problem. No one can force you to call 9-1-1 if you suffer from any of these symptoms. However, it is highly recommended that if you feel you’ve had a heart attack, you should go to the doctor and have an EKG.

Heart Attack Prevention

Even if you’ve already experienced a heart attack, there are measures to help prevent future attacks. Obesity is one of the leading causes of heart disease and heart attack. Weight loss and exercise can dramatically decrease the risk of heart attack. Dieting, exercise and weight loss are not often easy life choices to make. Lifestyle changes are the most critical factors in surviving or preventing heart attacks. Some changes may include:

1. Blood thinning medications such as aspirin. Aspirin thins the blood and makes it less likely to clot. Blood clots cause heart attacks. Reducing the potential for clotting reduces the likelihood of heart attack. If you have already experienced heart attack, your physician may prescribe an anti-clotting drug that will help open narrowed arteries.

2. Beta blockers. By lowering heart rate and blood pressure, beta blockers reduce strain and demand on the heart itself. Many patients who have already suffered a heart attack must take beta blockers for the rest of their lives.

3. Diet and exercise. If you’ve never experienced a heart attack, diet and exercise could be the best prevention. Eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising about 30 minutes per day can strengthen the heart muscle and help maintain cleaner arteries. Obesity adds many contributing factors to heart problems. Weight loss brings with it reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, which also reduces the potential for heart attack.

4. Reduce stress. Stress is one of the leading causes of heart attack. Learn to manage your stress by reducing your workload and finding ways to minimize stress in your day-to-day activities will go a long way in preventing heart attack.

What Is A Treadmill Stress Test

Treadmill stress test is performed to search for abnormal heart beat, decrease supply of oxygen/blood to heart, indicate coronary artery disease, detect irregular heart rhythms and overall cardiovascular conditioning of the person undergoing a treadmill stress test. Treadmill stress test is useful to screen people who desire to start an exercise regimen and help to make plans accordingly.

During a treadmill stress test, electrical activity during exercise or during physical exertion on a treadmill is recorded. Treadmill stress test mainly records the heart rate and heart rhythm while the patient is walking on a treadmill. A treadmill stress test also is known as an exercise electrocardiogram. Treadmill stress test is performed on doctor request/prescription. A treadmill stress test is very safe, reliable, non-invasive and not too expensive to do.

In a treadmill stress test the patient is connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) machine and a blood pressure cuff is placed on the arm. Electrodes will be placed on the patient during the treadmill stress test at different locations on the arms and chest. A sensor may be attached to the finger of the patient to measure the level of oxygen in the blood during the treadmill stress test. EKG and blood pressure records will be taken before and during the treadmill stress test. Initially during the treadmill stress test the patient is made to walk on the treadmill at a slow speed. The pace of the treadmill increases and the incline is raised during the course of the treadmill stress test. The test lasts about 10-15 or sometimes 60 minutes depending upon the level of recovery and cardiovascular conditioning of the individual during the treadmill stress test.

The speed and incline of the treadmill during the treadmill stress test is increased gradually or in intervals. A Cardiologist and a technician are required to be there during the treadmill stress test. Blood pressure rates and breathing rates are recorded and measured during the test.

During the treadmill stress test the electrodes detect the electrical impulses generated by the heart, and transmit them to the ECG/EKG machine. The ECG/EKG machine produces a graph (ECG tracing) of those cardiac electrical impulses. The doctor monitors changes in ECG/EKG patterns during the treadmill stress test. Symptoms experienced by the patient during the treadmill stress test will be looked at and recorded by the doctor. If the patient feels exhausted, has chest pains or is tired then the treadmill stress test is stopped.

Treadmill stress tests help to determine if the blood and oxygen flow to the heart is sufficient when it is under an increased workload. Treadmill stress test also indicates coronary artery disease or abnormal heart rhythms during workload or exertion. Cardiac condition relating to irregular heart rhythms can be evaluated during treadmill stress test. Treadmill stress test helps doctor to see how hard the heart can work before symptoms develop, the recovery pace of the heart after exertion, and the overall level of cardiovascular conditioning. Doctors can detect the severity of coronary artery disease during the treadmill stress test. Whether or not drugs which are prescribed to treat patients are working can be also detected during the treadmill stress test.

During the treadmill stress test the purpose of increasing to higher levels of exertion in stages is because problems occur as the patient performs certain activities. During the treadmill stress test as the person starts increasing the level of exertion, the heart requires more blood and energy and if the heart doesn’t get it then there is chest pain, breathing problems or dizziness. If these symptoms appear during the treadmill stress test, then the problem is recognized and treatment is started.

Risk involved in the treadmill stress test is very small. Treadmill stress test is similar to jogging, running a flight of stairs, etc. However, treadmill stress test is required to be performed with the attendance of technician and medical staff to manage complications like sustained irregular heart beats, unrelieved chest pain, heart attack, etc. Treadmill stress test is an effective way to detect and evaluate problems relating to the heart and to follow and plan treatment depending upon the severity of symptoms detected during the treadmill stress test.

Life-saving Devices For Heart Issues

People that suffer from heart disease or heart irregularities, benefit from the following three unique technological inventions that have saved thousands of lives.

The Artificial Pacemaker: In the late nineteenth century, a scientist discovered the benefits of applying electrical currents to the heart. Several decades later, the first implantable pacemaker was created. Today, pacemakers vary in complexity and application, with some pacemakers doubling as defibrillators. If you suffer from heart disease or irregularities, it is important that the people close to you are trained at CPR, but having a pacemaker helps to maintain a regular heartbeat.

An Alert System: The AngelMed Guardian System is also an implantable device, but rather than send electrical currents through the heart, it merely alerts its wearer if he or she is about to suffer a heart attack, so that trained medical specialists, such as an EKG technician, can attend to the patient. The device also tracks and stores information about the heart that can then be shared with the wearer’s physician.

Wearable Defibrillator: Designed for people at high risk for sudden cardiac arrest, wearable defibrillator vests transmit a shock at the first moment of cardiac arrest. Like the alert systems, the vests also record ECG information about the heart, to be shared with physicians and trained medical technicians. Wearable defibrillators keep patients safe when there are no trained professionals nearby, and provide a sense of security for high-risk patients.

Canine Heart Disease and Congestive Heart Failure in Dogs

This can be due to a change in your dog’s heart valves and their function or a number of other possible causes. There may be an abnormal communication better the left and the right side of your pup’s heart and this can lead to your dog having a heart murmur. There may be a variety of reasons for this. They may either be acquired or congenital. This usually means that the heart was affected after your pooch was born due to disease or age. There are two types of heart murmurs in dogs. The first is what is called a benign heart murmur and does not concern your dog’s health. On the other hand, it may be a serious heart murmur which may indicate congestive heart failure in dogs.

Dog heart murmur symptoms may involve the following: bluish tinge to the gums or tongue, poor exercise ability, coughing, labored breathing and even fainting. Some of these symptoms would suggest that your pup may have other health issues. However, the symptoms are similar between benign heart murmurs and those that are more severe in nature. If you are at all concerned about your canine’s health, you should consult your veterinarian. A couple of these symptoms may be overlooked which would include poor exercise ability and a bluish tinge to the gums. If you think that your dog has any dog heart murmur symptoms, canine heart disease or the development of congestive heart failure, immediately contact your vet for a positive diagnosis.

These are symptoms that indicate that something serious is going on with your dog’s health. The best way to identify the source and severity of the dog’s heart murmur is to conduct a thorough physical examination by a veterinarian, however sometimes additional testing is needed including a heart ultrasound, blood testing, an EKG and chest x-rays. The ultrasound offers a particularly enticing list of benefits because it allows your veterinarian to measure the extent of the murmur, defining whatever the cause of the underlying heart disease may be. It is vital that you be able to properly diagnose the cause of your dog’s heart condition because some conditions that cause heart murmurs are treatable, either through surgery or through medication.

If your canine has a congenital heart murmur, then surgery may be necessary. On the other hand, you may have to give your pooch certain types of medication as non-congenital heart murmurs are often an underlying symptom of congestive heart failure in dogs. You will not be sure exactly what to do until you have consulted with the right veterinarian and have been given advice as to your dog’s health. You should not leave symptoms like these unchecked due to the fact that not every heart murmur is benign and there could be serious changes occurring in your dog’s heart.

It is very important that you share any questions or concerns with your vet especially when it comes to your pooch’s lifestyle and physical condition. If the diagnosis from your general veterinarian does not suit you, perhaps you should seek out a specialist for your dog. You could either go to an internist or a veterinary cardiologist. These vets have specialized training and they probably have a great deal of expertise in this field and other issues that you may have with your dog.