The Heart Essay Research Paper CONTENTS3 — страница 5

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angina from other conditions, such as esophagitis, pleurisy, costochondritis, pericarditis, a broken rib, a pinched nerve, a ruptured aorta, a lung tumour, gallstones, ulcers, pancreatitis, a collapsed lung or just be nervous. Each of the above mentioned is capable of causing chest pain. A patient may take a physical examination, which includes taking the pulse and blood pressure, listening to the heart and lung with a stethoscope, and checking weight. Usually an experienced cardiologist can distinguish it as a cardiac or noncardiac situation within minutes. There are also routine tests, such as urine and blood tests, which can be used to determine body fat level. Blood test can also tests for: Anemia – where the level of haemogoblin is too low, and can restrict the supply of

blood to the heart. Kidney function – levels of various salts, and waste products, mainly urea and creatinine in the blood. Normally these levels should be quite low. There are other factors which can be tested such as salt level, blood fat and sugar levels. A chest x-ray provides the doctor with information about the size of the heart. Like any other muscles in the body, if the heart works too hard for a period of time, it develops, or enlarges. An electrocardiogram (ECG) is the tracing of the electrical activity of the heart. As the heart beats and relaxes, the signals of the heart’s electrical activities are picked up and the pattern is recorded. The pattern consists of a series of alternating plateaus and sharp peaks. ECG can indicate if high blood pressure has produced

any strain on the heart. It can tell if the heart is beating regularly or irregularly, fast or slow. It can also pick up unnoticed heart attacks. A variation of the ECG is the veterocardiogram (VCG). It performs exactly like the ECG except the electrical activity is shown in the form of loops, or vectors, which can be watched on a screen, printed on paper, or photographed. What makes VCG superior to ECG is that VCG provides a three-dimensional view of a single heart beat. DRUG TREATMENT Angina patients are usually prescribed at least one drug. Some of the drugs prescribed improve blood flow, while others reduce the strain on the heart. Commonly prescribed drugs are nitrates, beta- blockers, and Calcium antagonists. It should be noted that drugs for angina only relief the pain, it

does nothing to correct the underlying disorder. Nitrates Nitroglycerine, which is the basis of dynamite, relaxes the smooth fibres of the blood vessels, allowing the arteries to dilate. They have a tendency to produce flushing and headaches because the arteries in the head and other parts of the body will also dilate. Glyceryl trinitrate is a short-acting drug in the form of small tablets. It is taken under the tongue for maximum and rapid absorption since that area is lined with capillaries. It usually relieves the pain within a minute or two. One of the drawbacks of trinitrates is that they can be exposed too long as they deteriorate in sunlight. Trinitrates also come in the form of ointment or “transdermal” sticky patch which can be applied to the skin. Dinitrates and

mononitrates are used for the prevention of angina attacks rather than as pain relievers. They are slower acting than trinitrates, but they have a more prolonged effect. They have to be taken regularly, usually three to four times a day. Dinitrates are more common than trinitrates or tetranitrates. Beta-blockers Beta-blockers are used to prevent angina attacks. They reduce the work of the heart by regulating the heart beat, as well as blood pressure; the amount of oxygen required is thereby reduced. These drugs can block the effects of the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline at sites called beta receptors in the heart and blood vessels. These hormones increase both blood pressure and heart rate. Other sites affected by these hormones are known as alpha receptors. There

are side effects, however, for using beta-blockers. Further reduction in the pumping action may drive to a heart failure if the heart is strained by heart disease. Hands and feet get cold due to the constriction of peripheral vessels. Beta- blockers can sometimes pass into the brain fluids, and causes vivid dreams, sleep disturbance, and depression. There is also a possibility of developing skin rashes and dry eyes. Some beta- blockers raise the level of blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Calcium antagonists These drugs help prevent angina by moping up calcium in the artery walls. The arteries then become relaxed and dilated, so reducing the resistance to blood flow, and the heart receives more blood and oxygen. They also help the heart muscle to use the oxygen and nutrients in