What is heart disease? The term Heart Disease is used to refer to different types of conditions that can affect the functions of the heart. The different types of heart diseases include:
- Coronary Artery disease – condition that affects the arteries of the heart
- Arrhythmias – Heart rhythm disturbances or irregular heart beat that affect the electrical conduction of the heart
- Congenital heart disease – this condition usually develops before birth and the heart forms with structural problems
- Cardiomyopathy – condition that affects the muscle squeezing function of the heart
- Valvular Heart disease – affects the functioning of the valve that regulates blood flow in and out of the heart.
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Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and a very common cause of heart attack too. The symptoms of heart disease includes chest pain, that may extend to the arm, neck and back, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, nausea and irregular heartbeat.
Prevalence of Heart diseases in India
Cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases have a major share in occurrence of non-communicable diseases and also one of the leading causes of deaths in India. With such a fast pace of increasing incidence, CVD or heart diseases top the list of top 5 causes for death in India. About 1.7 million Indian hearts stop beating every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is also said that “50% of all heart attacks in Indians occur under 50 years of age and 25% of all heart attacks in Indians occur under 40 years of age. Population living in cities is three times more prone to heart attacks than people living in villages” according to the Indian Heart Association and for the very well known reasons like pollution, stress, socioeconomic lifestyle and more.
Heart diseases emerged in India as the top killer in the mid 1980s and since then it’s been a growing threat. Why is India experiencing heart diseases as epidemic? Here are few reasons, high fat intake/low fruit and vegetable intake, sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, heavy or chain smoking, alcohol consumption, high stress level, diabetes and hypertension. According to a study published in the The Lancet Global Health, it is found that heart disease patients in India had one of the highest mortality rates after one year of diagnosis at 23%, which is greater than that of people in several developing countries in the world. This study was lead by Dorairaj Prabhakaran, vice-president (Research & Policy), Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi and Ambuj Roy, professor of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi.
“Genetic predisposition to develop heart disease creates a loaded-gun scenario,” said Dr. Ashok Seth, cardiologist, chairman of Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi. Dr. Seth has an experience of more than 25 years in treating heart diseases and performing half a lakh of angiographies. He says family history of heart disease is one of the strongest predictors of the probability of developing it. A study showed that Indians are genetically inclined to develop Metabolic Syndrome, or Syndrome X, a metabolic state that doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases. This type of gene mutation have been the leading reason for cardiomyopathy, a cardiovascular disease condition that damages the myocardium, the heart muscles, that affects the muscle squeezing function of the heart and lessening the heart’s capability to pump blood. Cardiomyopathy can cause sudden cardiac death.
Types of Heart Diseases and their Causes
- Coronary Artery Disease – Angina is not particularly a heart disease but a symptom of the most common heart disease called the coronary artery disease. The function of coronary arteries is to supply blood to the heart muscle and coronary artery disease occurs when cholesterol plaque builds up inside the artery walls. Over time, this buildup may block the arteries and decrease blood flow and that particular area of heart muscle does not get enough oxygen. This is when the patient feels chest discomfort, tightness or pain.
- Arrhythmia – this condition is also known as irregular heartbeat. When there are heart rhythm disturbances that affect the electrical conduction of the heart. Irregular heartbeats are common. We all experience it either in excitement or anxiety. This is a condition when the heart beats too fast (Tachycardia) or too slow (Bradycardia). When they go around too far from normal heartbeat or crop up because of a damaged or weak heart, it is time you take them more seriously and treat the condition.
- Congenital heart disease – this is a condition where some birth defects that affect how the heart works. This usually develops before birth and the heart forms with structural problems. Some examples of Congenital heart disease are
- When a baby is born with a hole between the two chambers of the heart. This is also called the Septal defects.
- When the flow of blood through various chambers of the heart is partially or even totally blocked. This is also called as “Obstruction defects”
- When there is no enough oxygen pumped around the body due to some defects in the heart. This condition is also known as Cyanotic heart disease.
- Cardiomyopathy – the main function of the heart works around the muscle squeezing action to pump blood all over the body. In some cases the heart chambers become dilated because of weak heart muscles and it cannot pump blood properly. When there is no enough oxygen reaching the heart muscle due to some blockages the left ventricle is affected. This condition is also known as ischemia heart disease.
- Myocardial infarction or heart failure – also known as heart attack, cardiac infarctionand coronary thrombosis happens when there is Interrupted blood flow due to lack of oxygen which in turn damages or destroys part of the heart muscle. This can happen due to artery blockages or hypertension (high blood pressure) which can over time leave the heart too stiff or weak to fill and pump properly.
- Valvular Heart disease – also known as mitral regurgitation or mitral valve regurgitation, mitral insufficiency or mitral incompetence happens when valve in the heart does not close tightly enough, allowing the blood to flow back into the heart when it shouldn’t.
All these conditions need to be diagnosed at the earliest to reduce the risk of heart diseases as they can be fatal.
Diagnosis of heart diseases
No single test can diagnose Heart diseases. It takes a combination of physical examination, check on symptoms and family histories, risk factors, and few other imaging and laboratory test results. A very common and first test a cardiologist prescribes is the Electrocardiogram (ECG) to find if you have had any heart problem recently. It records the heart’s electric activity and if the heartbeat is regular or irregular. It is also helpful in diagnosing the signs of previous or current heart attack.
Stress testing is another way of diagnosing heart disease. A patient is made to work out to increase the cardiovascular activity. During this test, we can capture the abnormal changes in the heart rate, shortness of breath or chest pain, and if there are any irregular heartbeats. Echocardiograph (echo) is a test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. This helps in providing information about the size and shape of the heart and how well the heart chambers and valves are working. It also helps in diagnosing and detecting areas of poor blood flow to the heart, heart muscles that aren’t contracting normally and any previous injury caused to the heart muscle due to poor blood flow.
Blood tests for heart play a vital role in assessing the risk of heart diseases very faster. These heart blood tests help in checking the levels of certain fats, cholesterol, sugar and protein in the blood. Abnormal level of these test results may indicate you are at high risk of a heart disease. Based on these tests and diagnosis, the cardiologist may refer a treatment and medications that may reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Cardiac Risk Markers Blood test
Early diagnosis of Heart diseases can help in overall prognosis and save one’s life. One such method or early diagnosis is Cardiac risk marker’s blood test. Cardiac markers are blood protein markers used to diagnose the heart functioning and its condition. High levels of these blood proteins in the body may indicate the risk of heart disease. Many events of heart diseases occur in individuals who have prior symptoms. Few common risk factors include age, alcohol consumption, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol.
There are many risk markers that have been identified for heart disease but very few have surfaced as independent risk markers. Two of these markers that are independently associated with increased risk of future cardiovascular events are high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and lipoprotein (a) (Lp[a]). Others that follow are Apolipoprotein A1 (Apo A1), Apolipoprotein B (Apo B), Homocysteine, Fibrinogen, Fasting Insulin, Triglycerides, PLAC and Urine Albumin/Creatinine Ratio (Ualb/Cr). Let us know what each of these risk markers help in analyzing the underlying risk of heart disease.
- High Sensitivity C – Reactive Protein (hs-CRP) : CRP is a protein in the blood that measures levels of inflammation in the body. High level of hs-CRP indicates higher risk for heart disease or CVD. This test helps in diagnosing the risk of heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death, and peripheral arterial disease.
- Lipoprotein A (Lp(a)) – the basis of this test is cholesterol. A lipoprotein consists of an LDL molecule with another protein (Apolipoprotein (a)) attached to it. Kidney disease or genetic lipid disorders lead to higher values of Lp(a) levels and can lead to risk of heart attack, stroke or coronary artery blockage.
- Apolipoprotein A1 (Apo A1) to Apolipoprotein B (Apo B) ratio – these proteins are a part of HDL (Apo A1) and cholesterol (Apo B). A decrease in the Apo A1 protein level and an increase in Apo B indicate the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Apo A1 protein level decreases due to bad diet and lethargic lifestyle.
- Homocysteine– this is a blood protein that helps detect deficiency of Vitamin B12 or Folic Acid. This also helps in detecting for hereditary disease homocystinuria (shortage of an enzyme to convert food to energy) and unexplained blood clots.
- Fibrinogen– this is a blood protein that increases in the body due to Blood pressure, weight, age and LDL. While exercise or alcohol lowers this protein level in the blood. Higher levels of this protein may cause heavy clotting and may indicate heart disease.
- PLAC – this is a type of enzyme present in the blood which, at higher levels, indicates stroke or heart attack.
- Urine Albumin/Creatinine Ratio (Ualb/Cr)– Albumin protein is a constituent of Urine and indicates higher risk of CVD, diabetes-related disorders and kidney issues. When a patient is diagnosed with high level of this protein, he is usually prescribed with blood pressure medication.
Where can you take these heart checkup blood tests in Bangalore?
Complete Heart checkup blood tests indicate various kinds of heart ailments including coronary disease or heart attack. Abnormal levels of these markers indicate prevalence of heart disease or related disorders. These tests are to be taken on empty stomach and require 12 hours of fasting. These tests cannot be taken within 60 days of any surgery or has had any injuries, pregnancy or heart attack.
These cardiac risk marker blood tests are available as packages with Bookmyscans.com. All you need to do is just log on to our website and book an appointment with the nearest diagnostic center to take by this test. With the vision of making healthcare available to all at affordable prices, BookMyScans helps you take these tests in Bangalore at discounted rates. To assure, you get the best services and accurate reports, BookMyScans partners with diagnostic centers that are approved and certified by ISO and NABL. Heart diseases can prove to be fatal and it is very important to get it diagnosed and treated at the earliest, and BookMyScans assists you with this. You can keep a check on the heart diseases record and download the reports when needed. We are spread across the major cities of India to make sure healthcare is conveniently accessible to all.
Heart disease treatments vary by condition. Medical assistance is always available but it is in your hand how to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Lifestyle changes are in our control to help ourselves. Eating a low-fat and low-sodium diet, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake will help you reduce the risk of heart diseases.
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