Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, includes different types of diseases which affect the heart, blood vessels, and arteries. Types of diseases which fall under this category include:
The doctor will first ask patients for a description of their symptoms and medical history. The person’s physical condition will also be assessed through a medical exam. Listening to the heart with a stethoscope for swishing sounds, known as heart murmurs, can offer clues about heart concerns. If heart disease is suspected, further tests are performed to determine what is happening inside the heart. An ECG, or electrocardiogram, is typically the first test. By recording electrical activity inside the heart, the ECG reveals any electrical irregularities which may be a source of concern or may indicate that the heart muscle has been or is being injured by ischemia, a lack of oxygen-rich blood. Further details can be gathered by taking images of the heart using X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or an angiography (a technique which allows for detailed imaging of blood vessels). Echocardiograms are ultrasound evaluations of the heart which can also determine how well the heart and valves are functioning. Blood pressure is the force of pressure exerted in the arteries by blood as it pumps through the body from the heart. It will also be important to record and use two forms of measurement:
On average, normal blood pressure for an adult at rest, is equal to 140 over 90. To determine a person’s typical blood pressure, it will be measured at different times. The doctor may also recommend a blood test to check cholesterol levels and other markers which can indicate cardiovascular disease.
Once heart disease is diagnosed, treatment will be critical. The goals of treatment will be to stabilize the condition, control symptoms, and provide a cure when possible. Diet, stress reduction, and lifestyle changes are crucial in managing cardiovascular disease. The doctor will often recommend medications and possibly surgery.
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