Heart diseases are increasing day by day as people are paying less attention to their body and health. Yet science has advanced forward as well giving new methods for detecting and treating heart diseases

A few interesting facts about heart problems


  • It’s normally considered as a problem of males than females. Heart patients are more in males than females. Yet, in developed countries more females are dying than males due to heart related problems.
  • For a lady of 40 years, there exists 32% chances to form heart problems in her remaining years. But only 55% cases are diagnosed. More cases are reported in ladies who have reached their menopause.
  • 52% of ladies die before reaching the hospital and 2/3rd of lady heart patients are not able to get out of heart problems.
  • Heart related problems are the major cause of deaths in people above 40.
  • Symptoms vary in men and women.
  • Silent heart attacks are most common in women than men.

What are the common symptoms of heart problems?

Severe chest pain is the primary symptom of heart diseases, both in men and women. But most surprising fact is that in low aged females, chest pain may not be severe or primary symptom. More chances are there in female for painless heart attacks. So, they may not be detected easily, resulting in her death. Other common symptoms include

  • Restlessness and pain in neck, back, chin and legs.
  • Increased heart beats and fatigue.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Feeling of vomiting
  • Dizziness and loss of strength
  • Slowness of brain

Very often, any one of these conditions may be the primary symptom instead of severe chest pain. If such conditions are not detected easily, patient may not get care and treatment during early stages of disease resulting in complexities and death. Such conditions are most seen in ladies than gents.

Variation of heart beats

heartdiseasedetection2Heart consists of four chambers and just near to it, a group of cells is seen known as sinus node which controls the heart beats. They are connected by small nerves and signals reaches the AV node located at the center of heart through these small nerves. Then the signals travel through lower chambers and in response to these signals heart chambers are relaxing and contracting pumping blood. In normal cases, heart beats at a rate of 60-100 times a minute. If heart losses a beat or two, it’s considered as abnormal. If it happens so, it affects normal blood circulation. It’s easy to detect the increased rate of heart beat, but not in the case of lowering beats. When heart beats decrease below a level, he may feel darkness in front of eyes and fall unconscious. Same way, increase in heart beats also indicates disorder. Chest pain, dizziness and breathing problems are the common symptoms. Due to atrial fibrillation clots may be formed which blocks blood circulation to brain resulting in strokes. 

Heart diseases can be detected

To know the structure and function of heart, many technologies are available now. Such methods can detect heart diseases easily – Electro cardiogram to Electro anatomic mapping. Such technologies can detect easily, the variations in electric transmissions, blocks in coronary arteries and changes in contraction and relaxation of heart. His case study, history of other diseases and full body check up may also be needed.

Electro cardiogram (ECG)

It’s the simplest of all methods to detect heart problems. It detects the changes in electric pulses of heart muscles during the heart problem. Electrodes are connected to the patient’s body and corresponding signals are recorded in ECG paper. It is most commonly used to detect angina and myocardial infarction, or simply heart attack. Though it’s a simple technique, it can’t detect variations in all patients. Also, in some cases, it detects variations of electric signals in normal people. So, it can’t be considered as a best technique to detect heart diseases.   

Blood reports

Blood is the indicator of each and every disease of human body. So blood tests can give a vague idea of heart diseases. In addition to normal blood tests - TC, DC, ESR, HB, sugar and lipid profile are also tested. Kidney related problems can also be detected through blood tests.


It’s a preliminary test used to detect structure, size and swelling of heart. After the invention of modern techniques like echo cardiogram, x-rays have lost their popularity.

Echo cardiogram

It’s an echo test where a graphical outline or sketches of heart movements are taken. High frequency sound signals are sent to different parts of the heart and its echoes are recorded in this technique. It helps to know pumping power of the heart, its chambers, valves and muscles. Echo equipment has a transducer which is pressed to the heart and test conducted. Since no instruments are placed or injected inside the body, it’s a painless check up.
Colour Doppler cardiograph is most practised nowadays which helps to know the direction and transmission rate of blood inside the blood vessels. It’s also possible to get 2D and 3D pictures. It helps to detect problems inside the chambers as well as valves. Through this technique, it’s possible to know if the person is a heart patient from his time of birth. Transducer can be placed inside pharynx to get more clear picture. Though it’s a bit difficult to the patient, it’s often practised as it gives more information about problems.

Cardiac CT

It’s the method which uses computed tomography to take pictures of internal heart. It helps to know the structure of main arteries and blood circulation through blood vessels. It’s normally sued to detect heart diseases and it’s conducted after giving medicines to lower the heart beat rate than usual. Its main limitation is the radiation used. But through newly developed multi-slice (40-64) C.T scanners, only lower radiations are used. Improved picture quality is another advantage. Most recent among such scanners is Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) which is capable of taking pictures of moving heart and blood vessels.  It helps to know blocks easier.

Coronary angiogram


It’s the most modern technique used for the detection of heart diseases – cardiac catheterization. Coronary angiogram is one among those techniques most popular nowadays. Though it’s a little complex, it gives accurate results. Circulation of blood through blood vessels, blood pressure inside chambers, functioning of valves, problems of heart valves, structure of arteries and veins, intensity of oxygen in blood etc can be detected more easily and with accurate values. It helps to know arthrosclerosis and fat and calcium deposits inside blood vessels as well. Thus it helps doctors to take decision if angioplasty or bypass surgery is to be conducted. Catheter is entered inside any one of main arteries or veins, controlled through fluoroscope and makes it reach inside heart chambers or arteries. Normally, main vein or artery of thigh or arm is selected for this test. While catheterization is done to get a clear sketch of arteries dies containing iodine are also injected. Since diameter of arteries in women is low, blocks in blood arteries may not be detected easily by angiogram.

Cardiac MRI

Instead of radiations, magnetic signals are used for taking images here and hence safer. Through MRI scan it’s possible to know structure and functions of heart, arteries and veins. It’s used to find defects from birth, Cardiomyopathy, problems in valves and pericardial problems. It’s also possible to detect heart attacks and heart functioning through its images. Since it’s done through magnetic signals, it can’t be used in patients who have pace maker, defibrillator or any metal parts in their body. But with the advance of technology, pacemakers that can overcome the magnetic power of MRI scans are now available in market.

EP study

Electro physiology study, shortly known as EP study is used to understand deviations of heart beats than usual. Through catheterization electrodes are fixed in different parts of heart and values recorded. Those electrodes give a clear picture of electric deviations of heart beats and its sources. If that part which causes the deviation is detected, those tissues are destroyed applying high frequency sound signals. This technique is known as Radio frequency ablation or shortly R.F.Ablation.

Holter monitor

heartdiseasedetection5It’s a small device that notes the heart beats and its pulses. It is fitted in the body while the test is conducted. It’s a modern version of ECG. In ECG it’s possible to record the heart beats of just one minute while Holter monitor records the heart beats of 1-3 days, thus helping the doctors in a detailed study of the patient. The whole time this device is used, it keeps recording the heart pulses. It’s normally suggested in patients where heart beats can’t be detected using ECG.

Loop recorder: It’s almost equivalent to Holter monitor, yet more advanced. Through this device, it’s possible to record continuous functions of heart for 1-2 weeks.

Implantable loop recorder: It’s loop recorder at the next level. It can be fixed inside the skin of shoulder bone to examine heart beat variations. It helps to know the functioning of heart from months to 2 years. Such recorded information will be send to doctors through wireless facilities or cable services.

Cardiac mapping

Mapping catheters are entered inside heart and taken images to detect the sources of heart beat deviations. It’s conducted in electrophysiological labs. When sources are detected, through ablations those areas are neutralized. Now it’s possible to get three dimensional pictures through cardiac mapping.

Tread mill test (TMT)

In normal conditions, heart diseases are not detected in 25-40% cases through ECG. It happens so since in most occasions ECG is conducted while person is at rest. Such persons can be given certain physical exercises and ECG is taken to see heart conditions near. Since more blood is needed while doing exercises, blood circulation problems can be easily detected under that condition. If extra energy needed for muscles are not supplied by heart, it can be assumed that he has some heart problems. Patient is asked to use tread mill and values are recorded. Speed is increased uniformly according to the instructions given by the doctor. Heart beats and blood pressure are also noted. If he feels some difficulty, he will be stopped. In addition to disorder detection, this technique is used in knowing the present condition of the patient as well. Instead of using tread mill, the person may be given injections to increase his pulse rate and corresponding values detected. In those ladies where TMT test is positive, 20% of them may not be heart patients as well.

Nuclear scan

It’s now possible to know heart functions and defects through radioactive methods. This latest technology is known as nuclear scanning. Radio active elements are injected to the blood stream of the person and make them reach heart, through blood circulation so that images can be taken. Gamma radiations emitted by the body are detected by special cameras. Blood circulation inside heart muscles and arteries, pumping capability of heart and damages in heart muscles can be detected by this technique. Nuclear scan can be done at resting condition or by giving exercise or catalysts to increase heart beat also. Nuclear scan is normally conducted in two methods.

SPECT imaging (Single photon emission computed tomography) and PET imaging (Positron emission tomography) are those two methods. PET is the most recent one among two. Energy particles – photons emitted by heart can be recorded one by one and three dimensional pictures can be taken by these methods. Thallium 201 and technetium 99 are the most commonly used radio active elements. PET gives clearer images than SPECT. Also, through PET technology it’s possible to know the quantity of blood reaching heart muscles. Images may cast shadows in the case of ladies, which is considered as the only drawback of this technology. 

A short note on Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)


It’s a heart disease most commonly seen in ladies than men particular if she is too slim. When left lower chamber contracts, mitral valve that lies between left atrium and left ventricle doesn’t close completely. Instead it drifts forward or backward inside the atrium which may lead blood to flow back. Yet in most cases MVP doesn’t cause serious issue. If, back flow of blood happens it need attention. Symptoms may differ from person to person. Unordinary heart beat, chest pain, tireless, slowness and breathing problems are common symptoms. If so, consult a doctor. In those persons where symptoms don’t appear no attention is needed except the case of infections. While consulting the doctor for any other problems, inform him about this matter also. 

10 tips to maintain heart health

Though technology has advanced fast forward it’s best to avoid heart problems than treating in later because no technology can restore previous healthy condition of our heart. So, why can’t we avoid such situations and diagnosis programs? I am providing 10 simple tips for you people to follow.

  • If you have smoking habit leave it today itself, even passive smoking. Leave drinking habit as well.
  • Find 30 minutes daily for walking. If you have obesity problems, extend it to 1 hour or more.
  • Fruits, vegetables, grains, fiber diet and fish together form a healthy diet to heart. Saturated fat should never exceed 10% and cholesterol 300 milligram. Cooking salt – only 2.3 grams a day and trans-fat elements below 1%
  • Reduce body weight. BMI should never exceed 24.9 and waist diameter, 80 cm in the case of women.
  • If you are a heart patient, check if you have depression.
  • If triglyceride levels are high in your blood, intake omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  • Blood pressure should never exceed 120/80 levels. To keep blood pressure in this level, do regular exercise to burn extra fats. Reduce salt and increase fruits and vegetables intakes.
  • Cholesterol and sub-factors should be under control. LDL level should be below 100 milligram and triglycerides, below 150 milligrams. HDL level should be above 50 grams. You can use medicines such as statin, fibrate and niacin for this purpose. Control your food intake as well.
  • Never neglect diabetics. Reduce carbohydrate level and control your weight. Diabetic patients should take medicines and insulin if needed to control their sugar levels. HbA1c level should be below 7%.
  • At emergency situations and those patients having heart problems can use aspirin tablets (75-325 milligram) daily as per instruction of doctor. If you have aspirin allergy, use clopidogrel. Persons above 65 can take 81 milligram aspirin daily even if they are not heart patients.

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