When it comes to the muscles in your body, none is more important than your heart. Responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood to every organ and extremity, the heart is literally your lifeline. In the event your heart suffers injury or disease, the consequences range from bothersome to fatal.
The goal is to help you improve your cardiovascular health in an effort to avoid cardiovascular disease. And, if you’re living with a heart condition or issue, the goal is to get you back on track to a healthier future.
Year after year, heart attack is one of the top causes of death in the United States. While the damage it causes seems to come out of nowhere, heart attacks result from a combination of lifestyle choices and genetics. Though genetics certainly play a role in your risk, your likelihood of suffering a heart attack increases if you smoke, are overweight, eat an unhealthy diet and don’t get sufficient exercise.
A heart attack occurs when plaque (waxy, fatty substance) builds up in the arteries so that blood cannot pass through. This stops blood from reaching the heart, which results in a variety of symptoms, including intense chest pain, pain in the jaw, arms or back, nausea, cold sweat, sudden fatigue, and shortness of breath.
There are a variety of arrhythmias, but all of them mean your heart is beating irregularly, whether it beats sporadically, too quickly or too slowly. These atypical conditions can be present at birth or develop at any age or stage of life and can be caused by electrical malfunctions or anatomical irregularities within the heart.
Depending on the type and severity of the arrhythmia, treatment options range from medication to pacemaker placement to surgery.
Congestive Heart Failure
Also known as CHF, congestive heart failure occurs when the heart doesn’t have the strength necessary to pump blood through your body. Whereas heart attacks occur because blood can’t travel through plaque-filled arteries, CHF occurs because the heart muscle grows weak or stiff.
When this happens and the heart doesn’t push enough blood through the body, a number of symptoms may arise, the most common being shortness of breath like the feeling of being out of breath after a race. Many patients describe it as the feeling of just having run a marathon.
If you are living with heart disease, Palliative care may be able to improve quality of life for both you and your family. A team of doctors, nurses, chaplains and other healthcare specialists work together with the patient’s primary care provider to implement an extra layer of support through care coordination. The palliative care team can provide relief from symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, depression, anxiety, fatigue constipation, nausea, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
If you are interested in joining the Palliative Care program, talk to your primary care provider or call 606-789-8749.