Heart disease is steadily increasing and is one of the leading causes of death in Germany. Whether someone falls ill, depends very much on the family disposition and on his lifestyle.

What are heart diseases?

In the worst case it can come by heart diseases to the death of the person concerned.
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Heart diseases are all illnesses of the heart muscle summarized, which have influence on the heart activity. Physicians distinguish functional and organic heart diseases.

Typical and common heart diseases are:

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Heart attack
  • heart failure
  • myocarditis
  • cardiomyopathy

causes

Functional heart disease causes uncomfortable symptoms, but is based on a harmless overreaction of the autonomic nervous system and unlike organic discomfort is harmless.

The most common coronary heart disease (CHD) is based on arteriosclerosis. Restricted circulation results in hypoxia in the heart and typical discomforts such as pain in various areas of the body, burning or stinging pains in the chest area, tightness or sweating.

An angina pectoris is manifested by a sudden heartache with dread, often accompanied by respiratory distress and sharp pains in the area of ​​the heart radiating into the left arm.

A heart attack is triggered by a clogged coronary artery, causing a reduced blood flow to the heart and a lack of oxygen. A heart attack is characterized by pain behind the sternum radiating into the arm, back, abdomen or jaw. Not infrequently, a circulatory collapse occurs.

When a heart valve stops working properly and can pump enough blood into the heart chambers, the pumping power of the heart is compromised. Heart valve problems can be congenital, caused by inflammation or due to age-related wear. If left untreated, they can become life-threatening.

A heart failure is often based on another condition such as high blood pressure or cardiac arrhythmias. Depending on which side of the heart is affected, one differentiates a right and left heart failure, which leads to congestion of the blood in the abdomen, the liver or the legs.

Cardiac arrhythmias bring the heart out of beat. There is a distinction between tachycardia, where the heart beats too fast and can cause life-threatening ventricular fibrillation, and bradycardia, where the heart beats too slowly.

Delayed or unhealed bacterial infections can promote myocarditis, which, if not detected, can lead to sudden cardiac death.

Symptoms, complaints & signs

In the worst case it can come by heart diseases to the death of the person concerned. Especially without treatment, the discomfort can increase and significantly limit the daily life of the person concerned. Most sufferers of these diseases suffer from a permanent fatigue and a fatigue.

You can no longer carry out strenuous work and thus no longer actively participate in everyday life, so that the quality of life is significantly reduced. Furthermore, heart disease can lead to a heart attack or sudden cardiac death, thereby significantly limiting and reducing the life expectancy of the patient. Many sufferers suffer from pain or a sting in the chest and not infrequently a fear of death.

After a heart attack, daily life can be restricted because sufferers often suffer from sensitivity disorders if nerves or internal organs and the brain are damaged. Heart disease also prevents patients from participating in sports or strenuous activities. Furthermore, these diseases can also lead to mental discomfort or depression. They can also be genetically conditioned and thus transferred to the next generations. As a rule, life expectancy due to heart disease is always reduced.

Diagnosis & History

For the diagnosis of heart disease there are different methods of examination:

The simplest is listening to the heart with the stethoscope, in which the doctor may already notice irregularities in the heartbeat.

A resting or exercise ECG provides information about heartbeat irregularities and how the heart reacts at rest and under stress

With the help of myocardial scintigraphy, in which a radioactive contrast agent is injected, a circulatory disorder can be observed at rest and under stress. More detailed findings can be obtained by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) angiography.

complications

Heart disease can lead to various complications and complaints. Since the spectrum of heart disease is relatively large, usually no universal prediction is possible. In the worst case, it can lead to the death of the patient, if these complaints are not treated. In many cases, this leads to a heart attack.

Furthermore, heart diseases always lead to a reduced resilience of the patient. The affected person looks tired and beaten and no longer actively participates in social life. It is not uncommon for chest pain and respiratory problems. In the case of a heart attack, healthy tissue can be damaged, leading to paralysis and other sensory disturbances that continue to restrict everyday life. Left untreated, a heart attack leads to death.

Many heart diseases can be treated well and their risks limited. However, life expectancy may be reduced anyway, as not all damages are reversible and can be treated. The treatment does not usually cause any special complications. However, the person is dependent on a healthy lifestyle to avoid additional discomfort.

When should you go to the doctor?

Symptoms such as shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and upper abdominal pain may be the cause of heart disease. A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms persist for a prolonged period or if additional symptoms occur. If, for example, skin blisters, sweats or panic attacks occur, this must be clarified immediately by a doctor. People who already have heart disease are particularly susceptible to sequelae.

Even people who maintain an unhealthy lifestyle or suffer from chronic diseases of the immune system or the vessels, often suffer from heart disease and should go to a doctor with the above symptoms. Children, the elderly and pregnant women must have complaints in the area of ​​the cardiovascular system quickly clarified. If serious complications such as a circulatory collapse or even a heart attack announce, the rescue service is called immediately. Until the ambulance arrives, first aid measures must be taken. The affected person must then be treated in the hospital. Depending on the underlying disease, a cardiologist or internal medicine specialist should be consulted.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment methods depend on the cause of the disease. High blood pressure is medically treated and monitored at intervals by a 24-hour measurement. An angina pectoris is usually treated with medication, in severe cases, a bypass surgery is performed.

When treating a heart attack, every minute counts. Until the arrival of the ambulance, the upper body should be stored slightly higher. The doctor places an infusion on site and monitors the heart using ECG. At the hospital, the cause of the infarction is examined and treatment is initiated.

Within the first hours, the closure can still be dissolved by medication. Sometimes a stent is placed to make the vessel through again, sometimes only a bypass operation or the insertion of an artificial heart valve will help. After the hospital stay, a rehabilitation stay of several weeks follows. Easier cardiac arrhythmias are treated with medications, sometimes a pacemaker is used. The myocarditis is treated with antibiotics to heal the inflammation and to avoid secondary damage.

Outlook & Forecast

The prognosis for heart disease depends on the underlying disease. In some cases, the patient can achieve a good quality of life despite having been diagnosed with various measures, and can live a fulfilling life with only a few restrictions until the end of his life. Often there is a decrease in general life expectancy in heart disease. The patient has to undergo life-long check-ups and in most cases undergoes surgery.

The lifestyle must be adapted to the physical possibilities and the requirements of the organism. The likelihood of sudden cardiac death is generally elevated in heart disease. In addition, the mortality rate increases with age. A healthy lifestyle and the avoidance of various stress factors often relieve existing symptoms. With a good self-perception, it is possible for the patient to react within a short time to peculiarities and irregularities of the heart rhythm and thereby counteract occurring symptoms.

If physical or emotional strain is avoided and doctors' medical requirements are met, there are good prospects of living with the disease in many heart diseases. Without treatment, an increase in symptoms and an increase in the mortality rate can be expected. There are currently no adequate natural remedies that should be used in heart disease.

prevention

Preventive behavior does not help with family predispositions, but in general one can say that a healthy lifestyle and sufficient exercise, if possible in the fresh air because of the oxygen supply, can help prevent heart disease. Occupational and private stress also plays a role in heart disease. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to sufficient relaxation and reduce stress. Regular sports activities can be supportive.

aftercare

Heart disease can be very versatile and therefore occur in many different degrees of severity. The heart is our most important organ, that is, if the heart is not functioning properly or if it suffers from a certain illness, there is an acute danger to life. For this reason, after diagnosis and treatment, of course, a corresponding aftercare should take place.

Only those who observe and follow regular check-ups can be aware of possible complications or exacerbations in good time. Those who refrain from doing so completely expose themselves to a very great danger. However, affected individuals who suffer from heart disease can also take some follow-up care themselves.

This includes, for example, the immediate visit to the doctor, if pain or other unusual feelings in the heart area should arise. In such cases, going to the doctor should not be postponed because a doctor can detect and eliminate possible complications at an early stage.

Nutrition also plays a major role in some heart diseases, so care should be taken in this regard. Anyone who completely refrains from after-care in the case of an existing heart disease exposes himself to a very great risk. There is an acute danger to life if no regular visits are made to the doctor.

You can do that yourself

Heart disease is in many cases closely related to the behavior of the patient. For this reason, it is often possible to promote the course of these diseases by a health-oriented lifestyle and compliance with the instructions of the treating physicians. This is especially true for heart disease associated with calcification of the vessels, high blood pressure (hypertension) or morbid obesity (obesity).

In any case, it is helpful if the patient does not consume any nicotine or enjoy much alcohol. Above all, smoking is often a key factor in the prognosis of heart disease. Furthermore, it is part of self-help in everyday life to reduce obesity. This is ideally done by combining a healthy diet with a minimum of exercise. This benefits not only the heart and vessels, but also the psyche and the support and movement system, which is significantly less burdened by the weight reduction. However, excessive demands should be avoided during training.

Great excitement and stress can not always be avoided. However, especially people with heart disease benefit from a calmer lifestyle and a sufficient amount of sleep. The nervous costume can be well stabilized, among other things by relaxation methods such as progressive muscle relaxation or by far eastern forms of movement such as tai chi or yoga.

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