Congestive heart failure refers to the buildup of fluids either in your lungs or in your legs or both, based on the malfunction of your heart. The malfunction can be due to loss of pumping function, aging, high blood pressure, or other causes. Congestive heart failure can make it harder for you to do things that used to be easy. The treatment for both types of heart failure is usually the same.
Category: Cardiology FAQ’s
The new class of medications, the so-called statins, reduces the production of cholesterol within your liver. As part of this process, they can cause the leakage of liver enzymes or proteins into your blood stream. These are monitored every time your cholesterol is checked, which should be anywhere from three to six months if you are on regular treatment. However, these drugs do not cause permanent liver damage and at times the dosages are adjusted based on the liver blood tests.
Diuretics are medications which allow your kidneys to release water and various salts, particularly potassium, to aid in the control of high blood pressure and possibly congestive heart failure. The most common clinical side effect of diuretic use is loss of potassium through the kidneys. Blood work is required to assess your potassium and your kidneys. Frequently, potassium supplements are given along with diuretics. At other times, a combination of diuretics may be used, one part losing potassium and another part conserving potassium.
A normal Cardiac catheterization or any comparable evaluation of the coronary arteries indicates that it is very unlikely that your chest pain is coming from your heart. There are many other structures within your chest that can cause chest pain, including your stomach, esophagus, lungs, and even the muscles and bones which make up the wall of your chest. Experience has taught us, that in general, normal arteries at the time of a heart cath indicate that the chest pain is not a serious matter. However, careful evaluation for other causes is needed.
For practically all forms of heart disease, but in particular hypertension and its treatment, the single most important over-the-counter medication to avoid is a “decongestant”. All decongestants are drugs which cause constriction of blood vessels, which obviously would not be desirable. If you have any questions, consult with your pharmacist and he can prescribe a cold remedy which would be appropriate for your situation.
What is a heart murmur?
A heart murmur refers to the ability to hear blood passing through one of the valves of the heart. It is a sound which is produced either by narrowing or leakage of a heart valve. Not all murmurs necessarily indicate a serious problem or a need for valve surgery. However, all heart murmurs should be evaluated. Frequently, antibiotics are prescribed for surgical and dental procedures to prevent serious heart infections on a diseased valve.
What is cardiac rehab?
Cardiac rehabilitation refers to a structured program which is prescribed after any number of cardiovascular procedures. It is designed to allow a progressive increase in physical activity under monitored conditions. There is also a very intense educational process and daily support to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. At times, work hardening evaluations can also be integrated into the program to assist people in resuming their particular job.
What is the metabolic syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome refers to situation where an individual has the combination of high blood pressure, cholesterol or fatty abnormalities and diabetes with or without the need for insulin. It is frequently associated with some form of obesity with the resistance in the body to the effectiveness of insulin. This syndrome is currently being recognized and managed more aggressively because of the very high association with vascular disease, specifically coronary artery disease. It is a complex situation that requires a very aggressive approach to the treatment of the patient’s weight as well as each of the individual entities.
Blood pressure has two numbers associated with it, the higher one (the systolic) refers to the peak pressure generated by the contracting heart. The second lower number (diastolic) is the number, which is determined by the runoff of blood in the body when the heart is relaxed. Current recommendations are that these numbers should be 120/80 or less. You may notice that this is a much more aggressive number than we have allowed in the past. High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke in the American population. Rarely do we find curative causes for high blood pressure, and usually medical therapy of some type is required. Simple things such as weight loss and the elimination of sodium from your diet can help in over 1/3 of the cases to restore blood pressure to normal.
Cardiac catheterization refers to the introduction of some form of catheter into a blood vessel with the purpose of measuring pressures and/or introducing contrast material to study the anatomy of a blood vessel or the heart. An angiogram refers more specifically to the injection of contrast material, which allows us to define a specific area. Intervention is a term used for the process of mechanically treating an obstruction within an artery, usually to the heart. Interventions include balloon angioplasty, which is the expansion of a decrease in the opening of the artery by plaque material. In many cases now the balloon angioplasty is followed by the insertion of a stent, which is a mesh device, used to maintain the integrity of the opening of the artery.