Heart Disease FAQ
Reviewed By : Dr. Anjali D.
Following are some common questions about Heart diseases:
- What factors can lead to heart disease?
- What are the different types of heart diseases?
- What tests are suggested for heart disease?
- What are the test rates for heart disease diagnosis in India?
- Do the general signs and symptoms of heart diseases differ for males and females?
- What are the preventive measures you can adopt for reducing risk of heart diseases?
- What are the different treatment methods for heart disease?
- What is the meaning of cardiac rehab?
- Is there any relation between heart disease and AIDS?
- Estrogen protects women from developing heart disease – True or False?
- Is there a relation between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease?
What factors can lead to heart disease?
There are various factors that pose risk for developing heart diseases.
These risk factors include:
- Predisposed conditions at birth that may lead to stroke or heart disease
- Poor diet
- Low physical activity
Combination of the above factors can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis that thickens and narrows arteries. The difficulty in such a condition is that symptoms are not visible for years. The thickening or narrowing of arteries happens via deposition of cholesterol and some other substances inside blood vessel walls. These deposits called plaques, rupture and lead to heart attack or stroke.
What are the different types of heart diseases?
Heart diseases comprise of various conditions that affect irregular functioning of your heart. The most common type is coronary heart disease that may be caused due to atherosclerosis (Refer question 1). Other important heart ailments include:
- Arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat
- Cardiomyopathy or weakened heart muscles
- Problems related to heart valves
- Congenital defects of the heart
- Cardiovascular ailments
What tests are suggested for heart disease?
The common tests usually prescribed for heart ailments include:
What are the test rates for heart disease diagnosis in India?
The rates for tests to diagnose heart disease in India will depend on your city of residence along with factors such as laboratory type, hospital where the tests are performed, equipment used and number of tests prescribed. You can get a comprehensive idea about test rates across different Indian cities here.
Do the general signs and symptoms of heart diseases differ for males and females?
Symptoms and signs of heart disease such as attack in males are intense pain in chest, left arm, jaw and hindrance in correct breathing.
Females may witness similar symptoms as males, however, pain is more diffused and might spread to neck, abdomen, back, arms and shoulders. Additionally, indigestion is also experienced. Anxiety, cold sweat, palpitations, dizziness and nausea are also visible signs in women.
The most important differentiator is that females have severe attacks that mostly result in death in comparison to males.
What are the preventive measures you can adopt for reducing risk of heart diseases?
Certain changes in lifestyle can be effective to keep heart diseases at bay. These changes include:
- Quit smoking: This is the crucial step to take as risk of coronary heart ailments, strokes and attacks increases due to smoking.
- Correct diet and nutrition: Maintaining a diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits and whole grains and limiting intake of red meat is necessary. Keeping a tab of foods that can increase calories and opting for nutritional foods is important.
- Weight management and exercise: Maintaining correct levels of weight along with regular exercise is important to keep your blood pressure in control; thus preventing heart diseases.
- Diabetes control: Keeping diabetes in control is important to avoid risks of heart diseases.
- Manage stress: Studies have proved that stress prevailing for long duration can lead to heart disease. So engaging in habits that reduce stress is vital to prevent heart ailments.
What are the different treatment methods for heart disease?
If it is found that changes in lifestyle (Refer question 6) fail to improve conditions, doctors prescribe some medications that will reduce risk of stroke or heart attack. These medications will include those that prevent clotting of blood and help lowering your blood pressure.
Some other treatments include:
- Angioplasty: Insertion of one flexible tube inside arteries for improvement of blood flow.
- Bypass surgery: Surgically moving blood vessels from one body region to another for improvement of blood flow to heart.
What is the meaning of cardiac rehab?
Cardiac rehabilitation is a term that corresponds to structured programs for smoking cessation, graded exercise and dietary advice useful for patients who suffer for heart attacks and for diagnosis of some cardiac conditions or angina. Such rehab centers have trained staff for supervising exercise and other programs for patients. Once the prescribed program at the cardiac rehab is completed, patients can perform these exercise and other regimes at home.
Is there any relation between heart disease and AIDS?
The link between heart disease and AIDS can be found in couple of ways as follows:
- AIDS virus may infect your heart causing cardiomyopathy which leads to weakening of heart muscles; thus resulting in muscles not contracting properly and patient finding symptoms of breath shortness.
- Some medications prescribed for treatment of AIDS may increase triglyceride levels in blood and also decrease HDL. Reports suggest that there have been cases wherein patients treated with AIDS medicines dying due to premature heart attacks.
Estrogen protects women from developing heart disease – True or False?
Estrogen is helpful in raising the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) which eventually protects
women. However, once a woman goes through menopause, she becomes prone to heart disease
similar to men.
In cases where women have high triglyceride levels or are suffering from diabetes, positive estrogen effect is nullified.
Is there a relation between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease?
Studies have proved the association between heart disease and periodontal disease. Though these
studies are yet to explain the cause and effect association between these diseases, research indicates that gum disease increases risk of patients for heart disease.
Scientists state that inflammation caused due to gum disease might be the responsible factor for
association with heart disease.
Gum disease worsens existing condition of heart. Patients who are at infective endocarditis risk,
might need antibiotics before engaging in dental procedures. Cardiologists or periodontists are
better judges for determining whether a patient needs antibiotics before dental procedures.