What is Cardiac Catheterization?

Cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic as well as a treatment procedure for certain heart diseases. During this procedure, a catheter (a thin long tube) is inserted in a vein or artery – usually in the groin, arm or neck and passed through the blood vessels to the heart. Interventional cardiologists do diagnostic tests by this procedure. Coronary angioplasty and coronary stenting are some of the treatments for heart disease – which are done by cardiac catheterization.

What is an Echocardiogram?

Echocardiography is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. These images help cardiologist identify heart disease. It is a painless test. Cardiologist knows the size and shape of the heart, heart beating and working of heart valves and chambers with the help of an echocardiogram.

Who needs echocardiography?

A cardiologist orders echocardiography if they suspect the signs and symptoms of heart disease: heart failure, heart valve defects, changes in heart size, blood clots, congenital heart disease; problems with the aorta and fluid build-up in the pericardium.

What Is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is thickening (hardening) of the arteries wall due to fat and plaque build-up inside the lining of the artery– which results in narrowing or blocking of the artery.  The arteries that supply blood to the heart thicken and become narrow – owing to which the heart gets a lower supply of blood. This condition is known as coronary artery disease.

What are the lifestyle-related risk factors for heart disease?

The controllable or lifestyle-related risk factors for heart disease include lack of activity, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, stress and an unhealthy diet.

What Dietary Changes Can I Make to Reduce My Heart Disease Risk?

A healthy and balanced diet can do wonders for your heart health. It helps in lowering blood pressure, cutting down total cholesterol and LDL levels and also lowering blood sugar levels.

Follow these helpful dietary tips: reduce salt intake, eat legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables; eat lean protein foods – soy, fish and chicken.

Eat complex carbohydrates – whole rice, whole-wheat grain, and pasta.

Avoid simple sugars – soft drinks, caffeine-rich beverages, soda and sweets; saturated fats and red meat.

What is the link between smoking and heart disease?

Smoking is one of the major risk factors for atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease) and heart disease. Smoking lessen the oxygen content of the blood, make the blood thick; causes less oxygen supply to the heart; increases blood pressure and heart rate; causes blood clotting and damages the cells lining the blood vessels: arteries.

What is sudden cardiac arrest?

A sudden stoppage of heart beating and function is known as a sudden cardiac arrest. Due to sudden cardiac arrest, blood flow to the brain and other vital organs stops.

How common is heart disease among women?

The risk of heart disease in women increases after age 40 – especially after menopause. After age 50 when women reach natural menopause, heart disease risk increases manifold. The risk of heart disease increases in younger women who have undergone surgical menopause.

What is a heart attack?

Coronary arteries supply oxygenated and nutrients rich blood to the heart. The lumen of these arteries become narrow due to fat and plaque build-up over the years. This build-up of plaque gradually thickens and blood flow to the heart is blocked. This usually happens due to the break-down of the plague and the formation of a clot. When this happens, a part of the heart muscle gets damaged. This is known as a heart attack. Heart attack or myocardial infarction can be life-threatening.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart becomes weak – and therefore, cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. In some cases, the heart cannot pump with enough force or the heart cannot fill with enough blood – some people have both issues. In either case heart failure is a serious condition that needs medical intervention. The heart-pumping activity gradually becomes weaker over time. Therefore, it is a progressive condition. The risk factors for heart failure are ischemic heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.