Heart attack deals a devastating medical

Heart attack deals a devastating medical

Heart attack deals a devastating medical blow. It can rob its victims of health and their sense of security. However, recovery is possible in many cases. The process requires detailed planning and long-term dedication, but is well worth the sacrifice. With medical advances and carefully structured cardiac rehabilitation programs, patients can eventually return to normal activity.

Most hospital stays after heart attack last a few days to a week. The same care and treatment given in the hospital should be continued at home. Heart attack sufferers should slowly ease back into work, exercise, and other normal activities under the guidance of their physicians. Returning to previous levels of activity may take a few weeks, or it may take a few months.

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Common Heart Diseases

    Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Heart disease is a blanket term for any and all health conditions affecting the heart. This article discusses five types of heart diseases: coronary, hypertensive, heart failure, inflammatory, and valvular. Use this article as a way to become familiar with the different types of heart disease and what they affect, not as a replacement for the necessary visits to a doctor.

Heart Disease Related Events and Factors Contributing to Heart Disease

    Diagnosing heart disease can be a complex process, and the causes and consequences of the disease are equally complex. There are several factors that contribute to the development and severity of the disease. Furthermore, heart disease can culminate in serious, even traumatic medical events like heart attack. Understanding what causes heart disease and how it affects the heart''s function is the key to preventing, managing or reversing the disease.

The Road Back: How to Heal Your Heart

    There a personal road map to fit your unique journey toward a healthier heart. Use this article as a guide to initiate a discussion with your physician about the ways you can improve your heart health. If you have recently had a heart attack, heart failure, or been diagnosed with a heart condition, this article can help you understand some strategies for rehabilitating your heart.

How How the Heart Works

    This document explains how the heart works to an audience that is not very familiar with medical terms and health care lingo. This document should help you arrive at the doctors office with enough knowledge to make the visit very helpful. If you understand the basics of how your heart works, you can use the doctor''s time to tailor a very specific and personal strategy to optimize your heart''s health. It is compiled by Matt Nilsen, and the main source is information from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, an institute within the National Institutes of Health. (Note: This is a PDF file. You must have Adobe Reader to open this file.)

Most patients with chronic kidney disease die of complications from heart disease rather than of kidney failure, according to two reports in the June 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

The reports found that anemia and other conditions related to chronic kidney disease are independently associated with the risk of cardiovascular disease; conversely, heart disease is associated with a decline in kidney function and the development of kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States and worldwide, according to background information in the articles. Chronic kidney disease is associated with a wide variety of complications, including anemia (low red blood cell count, or red blood cells that are deficient in oxygen-transporting hemoglobin), nerve pain, bone disease, death, and cardiovascular disease.

In one study, Peter A. McCullough, M.D., M.P.H., of William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich., and colleagues assessed a group of 37,153 individuals who were screened for kidney disease through a community-based program between 2000 and 2003. The participants (average age of 52.9 years) all reported a personal or family history of diabetes, hypertension, or kidney disease on a screening survey. Patients had their blood pressure measured and provided blood and urine samples, which were processed to assess three markers of chronic kidney disease:

  • estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR), or the rate at which kidneys filter blood, calculated based on levels of the waste product creatinine in the blood
  • anemia, determined by blood hemoglobin levels
  • and microalbuminuria, or slightly high levels (20 milligrams per liter or more) of the protein albumin in the urine

Of the participants who were followed for a maximum of 47.5 months, 5,504 (14.8 percent) had abnormal eGFR values, and signs of declining kidney function. In addition, 4,588 (13.1 percent) had anemia; and 15,959 (49.5 percent) had microalbuminuria. A total of 1,835 (4.9 percent) had a history of heart attack, 1,336 (3.6 percent) had a history of stroke and 2,897 (7.8 percent) had a self-reported history of heart attack or stroke.

Each of the three variables-anemia, microalbuminuria and low eGFR-was associated with cardiovascular disease. More than one-fourth of the patients who had all three kidney disease measures had cardiovascular disease, and their survival rates over the course of the study were lower by approximately 93 percent than those of any other group.

"These data suggest that screening for cardiovascular disease would be of high yield among patients with these risk markers but who do not report any history of cardiovascular disease symptoms," the authors conclude.

In a related study, Essam F. Elsayed, M.D., of Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, and colleagues evaluated a total of 13,826 individuals (average age 57.6) who had participated in one of two large cardiovascular health studies. Participants were recruited to the studies between 1987 and 1990 and followed up at approximately three-year intervals for an average of 9.3 years. At the beginning of the study and at each subsequent visit, blood creatinine levels were measured and used to track the decline in kidney function and the development of kidney disease both directly and by calculating eGFR. History of cardiovascular disease, as well as medication use, lifestyle characteristics, and other variables also were collected at the initial assessment.

At the beginning of the studies, 1,787 (12.9 percent) of the participants had cardiovascular disease. As measured by creatinine levels, 520 individuals (3.8 percent) experienced a decline in kidney function-including 128 (7.2 percent) of those with cardiovascular disease and 392 (3.3 percent) of those without cardiovascular disease-and 314 (2.3 percent) developed kidney disease. The presence of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study was associated with a decline in kidney function and the development of kidney disease as measured by both creatinine levels and eGFR.

"Our study demonstrates that cardiovascular disease is associated with subsequent kidney function decline and development of kidney disease," the authors conclude. "Because these patients are mainly under the care of primary care physicians and cardiologists, it is important to draw attention to the increased risk of kidney disease in this population, with goals of preventing further progression, managing sequelae of kidney disease as they arise and adequately preparing individuals for kidney failure with timely nephrology referrals. Only with recognition of risk factors for kidney disease can this happen."

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