A normal heart is a masterpiece of muscles, electrical signals, valves and circulation working together in a coordinated way to pump blood through the heart, lungs and body.It requires its own blood supply, which it receives from the coronary arteries, and a regular heart beat from its own electrical conduction system.
A problem with the coronary arteries or the electrical regulation of the heart can result in symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness and palpitations.
Coronary artery disease is caused by atheroma, an accumulation in the arteries of fatty deposits made up primarily of lipids and calcium.
With exercise or emotional stress, more blood is needed through the coronary arteries to supply the heart muscle with the blood and oxygen it requires to beat faster. Initially the heart may compensate but as the furring up process continues a point is reached when the heart cannot get enough blood through the coronary arteries to cope with stress or increased activity such as walking uphill or climbing stairs.
This reduction in blood supply can cause chest pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness (angina). GTN spray usually relieves angina pain. Plaque rupture may occur in the lining of a coronary artery and a blood clot (thrombus) may form resulting in a heart attack, known medically as a myocardial infarction.
The pain at the time of a heart attack is usually intense and is not relieved adequately by rest or GTN. Heart attacks may be “silent” in some patients particularly in the elderly and diabetics and the patient may only be aware of shortness of breath. Heart attacks are a medical emergency and the patient should be admitted to hospital immediately to unblock the artery by angioplasty and for treatment of the consequences of the heart attack.
Heart problems can present as a number of symptoms many of which have more than one underlying cause. Typical symptoms include chest pain, breathlessness, dizziness, blackouts and palpitations.
There are many methods and diagnostic tests available to ascertain whether or not you have a problem. Here are some of those Dr Levy is versed in.
The phrase "heart disease" covers a very wide range of conditions. Dr Levy is trained in a wide range of cardiology and general medical problems.
Many heart problems can be treated in a number of ways; Dr Levy can discuss with you the most suitable treatment once your condition is established.
Many risks to your heart can be minimised by simple lifestyle changes; others may be hereditary. There are many resources on the web for both.