Cardiovascular system: life-threatening heart diseases hardly cause pain

Cardiovascular system: life-threatening heart diseases hardly cause pain

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Strong organ with weak points: the heart
The most common causes of death include diseases of the heart. Although our hearts are very powerful, they also have their weak spots. Often, patients do not notice when the heart gradually neglects its tasks. Many diseases that can damage the heart do not hurt. Even the first symptoms often do not immediately indicate heart disease.

The biggest killers don't hurt
The human heart spends enormous efforts. Even at rest, the organ pumps around five liters of blood into the circulation per minute. The performance increases many times over under load. The problem is that the biggest killers do not hurt the heart and are barely noticeable for a long time. These include high blood pressure, the so-called diabetes and disorders of the fat metabolism. In addition, tobacco smoke, excessive obesity and lack of exercise are very harmful.

Mitigate risks for heart disease
According to the information, more than 342,000 people die of cardiovascular diseases in Germany every year. To prevent this, you should often measure blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure and have it treated if necessary. In any case, it makes sense to give up smoking and to exercise a lot and regularly. Obesity or obesity should be avoided.

A healthy, balanced diet is also important. For example, studies have shown that vegetarian or Mediterranean diets can protect against heart disease, and only recently have scientists in the USA and Singapore found in a study that coffee can also be good for the heart.

Thick heart muscle is not stronger
The heart valves act as valves and prevent the blood from flowing back into or into the heart. In particular deposits, infections, but also congenital malformations can lead to them not working properly. If the valve is narrowed, the heart is constantly pumping against increased resistance and this takes strength. If the victim makes an effort, he can suddenly pass out. "This is an alarm sign!" Explained heart expert Prof. Ulrich Pohl, who heads the Walter Brendel Center for Experimental Medicine on the Großhadern campus in Munich. In addition, the heart muscle thickens due to permanent exertion. But that doesn't mean that it's getting stronger. The opposite is the case: "The connective tissue of the muscles finally diverges," says Pohl. Heart failure is often the end result. However, if you recognize the problem in good time, broken valves can often be treated nowadays, for example with an artificial heart valve.

Deposits can narrow arteries
The organ is primarily supplied via the coronary arteries, also called coronary arteries. These surround the heart muscle like a wreath. Over the years, plaques often form in them, which can constrict the arteries more and more. Those affected notice this especially when they make an effort. Then the heart beats faster and needs more energy. The narrowed vessels do not let enough blood through. As a result, the patients are often tired and after a few steps they run out of air. "Or in winter - shoveling snow," explained Pohl. Because coldness creates additional problems for the heart. There is often a feeling of tightness in the chest, referred to as angina pectoris.

This heart can be treated with various medications. Individual constrictions can be kept open with stents inserted through a catheter. A bypass, a diversion via an implanted blood vessel, can treat longer constrictions.

Heart muscle out of rhythm
If one of the heart's fuel lines is blocked, there is a risk to life. This is the case with a heart attack. This usually happens when a plaque in a coronary artery tears. Then the blood coagulates and a graft forms. As a result, the area supplied by the affected vessel no longer receives oxygen and nutrients. If the blood flow is interrupted for too long, the muscle begins to die. After an infarction, a scar forms in the heart, which can result in heart failure. However, the immediate cause of death is often different: in the case of an infarction, the heart muscle gets out of rhythm and there is an irregular tremor.

If it affects the ventricles, it is dangerous and patients die of ventricular fibrillation without quick help. "A defibrillator can prevent this," said Pohl. Nowadays there is even one at many subway stations. If someone breaks down, you shouldn't hesitate to use it. "You can't go wrong," says Pohl. The so-called "defi" only sends a surge when it is necessary.

Some people do not notice atrial fibrillation
But not only a heart attack gets the heart out of rhythm. It is less dangerous than ventricular fibrillation if the atria of the heart get out of rhythm. Some people who have atrial fibrillation don't notice it. But this cardiac arrhythmia also harbors a danger: clots often form in the atrium of the heart, which are then carried off with the bloodstream. These can get stuck in a brain vessel and lead to a stroke. Therefore, medical help is also essential for atrial fibrillation. Narrated coronary arteries, inflammation of the heart muscle or a surviving heart attack can also cause the heart to get out of rhythm. A pacemaker can then set the heart to the heart with electrical signals or overcome blockages in the spread of electrical excitation. (sb)

Author and source information

Video: Cardiovascular Symptoms (July 2022).


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