Treatment comparison for Cardiovascular disease
The heart is an almost perfect and unstoppable machine that works, beat by beat, throughout our lives. Our overall health heavily depends on the correct functioning of this sophisticated mechanism. Therefore, it is important to understand how it works and know what to do to keep it always in the best conditions and thus prevent or reduce Cardiovascular Diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases are a real plague in industrialized countries, as were smallpox or tuberculosis in another era. When we talk about cardiovascular diseases, we refer to acute myocardial infarction, hypertension, high cholesterol, arrhythmia and heart failure. In itself, acute myocardial infarction is the main cardiovascular disease that cardiologists must fight. This is due to the narrowing, hardening and the deposit of cholesterol in the arteries that aid the heart to pump blood. It’s a progressive disease, which means that it begins in the first years of life and is influenced by various factors such as diet, lifestyle and family history.
Cardiovascular disease presents in different ways according to gender: in men, it manifests after 45 years, whereas in women, after 55 years due to the effect of low estrogen levels. However, today doctors can predict this risk using specific calculation methods of cardiovascular risk. This is why all patients should know their risk index to be able to correct it in the long term.
Serious risk factors are mainly hypertension, increased cholesterol levels, lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle and overweight, excessive alcohol and/or tobacco use, among others. The basis of success to reduce the risk of suffering these pathologies is to ensure that the patient complies with a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, controls their weight and blood pressure, and exercise.
The medical diagnostic tools that allow to assess cardiovascular health are: a complete physical and cardiovascular examination, monitoring blood pressure, complete laboratory analysis that includes a cholesterol profile, electrocardiogram, among others.
Cardiovascular diseases can be prevented and / or reversed with adequate therapy. Dietary habits based on lots fruits, vegetables, fish, oils (such as omega 3 and 6) and whole grains showed a significant decrease in cardiovascular diseases, especially hypertension, high blood cholesterol and even diabetes type II. The limited consumption of salt, the restriction of baked goods, fats, pickles, sausages and hard cheeses also have a very favorable effect on these risk factors discussed above. The result of a balanced diet and the increase in physical exercise generate the most beneficial effect for the body, achieving a healthy weight and the prevention of cardiovascular ailments.
With regard to physical exercise, it is suggested to perform a regular activity of moderate intensity, such as an intense walk of 30 to 40 minutes a day that generates beneficial effects on health: prevents the accumulation of fat in the arteries and reverses the plaques already formed, prevents the formation of blood clots, strengthens muscles and helps control body weight, in addition to improving mood and mental functioning. With respect to other recommended habits for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, it is advisable to stop smoking, abstain from or moderate alcohol consumption, and reduce stress.
In addition, there are drugs for specific treatment of cardiovascular diseases that complement healthy habits and that provide extremely beneficial effects. There is a wide variety of medications that a cardiologist can prescribe, according to the condition and risk profile of the patient: aspirin, for example, has a healthy effect for the prevention of clots; even anti-arrhythmic drugs and those that lower cholesterol and triglycerides. As long as the doses and indications of the specialist are followed, and compliance to a healthy diet along with modifying health habits, these medications will provide an improvement in cardiovascular health.
When this treatment routine is not enough, some people need medical intervention or surgery. Percutaneous coronary intervention, commonly known as angioplasty, and bypass surgery are used to treat blocked or obstructed coronary arteries.
Angioplasty is a non-surgical intervention that is performed to open the coronary arteries that are clogged or that have become narrower. A thin, flexible tube with a balloon or other device at its end is inserted through a blood vessel and carried to the narrowed or obstructed coronary artery. The balloon is then inflated to compress the plaque against the wall of the artery which helps restore the flow of blood through the artery. During the procedure, the doctor may place a small mesh tube called a stent or stent into the artery. The stent helps prevent future blockages.
Bypass surgery is another surgical option that is considered a highly effective procedure and is widely applicable for the treatment of severe coronary disease. General anesthesia is required, with which the patient will be unconscious and will not feel pain during the operation. The cardiac surgeon will make a small surgical cuts in the middle of the thorax. The sternum will be separated to create an opening. This allows the surgeon to see the heart. Patients who are operated on the heart commonly call open heart surgery. Unlike other types of cardiac interventions, the cavities of the heart are not opened during the procedure, but the coronary arteries that run through the heart are worked on.
Almost anyone with cardiovascular disease can benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehabilitation is a program made under medical supervision that can help improve the health and wellbeing of people who have heart problems. This team may include doctors and nurses, dieticians/nutritionist and exercise specialists, occupational therapists, and psychologists or other mental health specialists.