Three Common Heart Conditions
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Three Common Heart Conditions

Learn here about the most common heart conditions. Atherosclerosis, ischemia, thrombo-embolism will all be discussed.

Problems of the Heart

Hearts can break. But not because of cheating partners, friends that betray your trust or family members that pass away. The heart and the connected circulation can get damaged, not just because of a medical trauma (like a car accident), but also through inheriting certain genes, viruses and your way of living.

Heart problems result in a multitude of victims annually in the western world and are listed as the number one cause of death in a lot of countries. Deaths by heart problems are mostly ascribed to heart attacks, but heart attacks can be cause by numerous things: atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), ischemia (lack of oxygen), thrombo-embolism (blood clots that travel through the blood stream and block blood vessels throughout the body) or hypertension (high blood pressure).

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis pops up when fats, especially cholesterol, heaps up in the arteries. Cholesterol is a part of the transportation system for fats and is required for the production of sexual hormones. But if the body contains too much cholesterol, either through nutrition or hereditary factors, it begins to stick to the blood vessels and can no longer pass through them. These little hills of fat are called plaques. The bigger the plaques, the larger the area they cover, resulting in a blockage of blood.

Ischemia

When arteries are partially clogged, ischemia can take place. People suffering from ischemia have trouble breathing in periods of stress or exhaustion because the blocked arteries slow down the blood, resulting in a deprivation of oxygen for the tissues of the heart muscle. The lack of oxygen can cause pain in the chest that radiates to the left arm. This pain is called angina pectoris.

Thrombo-embolism

A blood clot is created when blood cells attach themselves to a plaque that closes an artery. A blood clot stuck in a blood vessel is called a thrombus. When this thrombus gets loose and travels through the blood stream, it is called an embolism. A thrombo-embolism is a blood clot that is released from the place of its origin, moves through the blood stream and clogs an blood vessel elsewhere in the body.

Even though the heart fills itself with blood to pump to the rest of the body, the tissues of the heart need nutrients and oxygen too. Because the heart is made out of living cells and tissues, blood vessel need to run through it to provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells in the heart. Arteries that provide blood to the tissues and cells of the heart are called coronary arteries.

When a blood clot or plaque blocks a coronary artery, no oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to the muscle tissue of the heart, resulting in a heart attack. The tissue in the area of the heart where the attack took place often dies because of the lack of oxygen.

In order to minimize the risk for these problems, take care of your heart.

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