Heart disease is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, not just in the USA. Being overweight or obese can contribute to the risk of heart disease. Being overweight causes high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and type II Diabetes; all of which can have damaging effects on the heart. Sometimes these contributing diseases can be reversed under the instruction and supervision of your physician, but it is best to start living healthy when you are young by exercising, eating healthy, maintaining a normal BMI (Body Mass Index), and avoiding damaging things such as cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, and trans fatty acids. Risk of death by heart disease increases by age, and most deaths occur after the age of 60.
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), can occur in people who have developed heart disease. Usually this occurs because of blockage in a coronary artery, as a result of atherosclerosis –hardening of the arteries. Tissue death occurs within the heart, and can cause patient death. Even if the patient survives, their heart may have residual damage and not function correctly. Common symptoms of a heart attack include pain in the chest, left arm, and front & back of the neck. Other areas of pain may include the right arm, jaw, and back. You may experience excessive perspiration, dyspnea (shortness of breath), heart palpitations, and nausea.
Although some of these symptoms can mimic heartburn or an anxiety panic attack, if you think you are experiencing a heart attack you must get immediate emergency medical help. Although necessary to prevent death in advanced stages of heart disease, bypass heart surgery is like fixing broken plumbing with duct tape. This type of surgery is not easy on your body, and if this is needed as a last resort hopefully the rest of your body is still healthy enough to endure the stress of surgery. Coronary bypass surgery repairs and replaces one or more damaged and/or narrowed blood vessels that are at risk of causing a myocardial infarction (heart attack). Often the saphenous vein is removed from your leg to be used in the heart. So, you would end up with a scar in the center of your chest and a scar down your leg. With the traditional bypass operation, they stop your heart and use a large machine to suck your blood out of your body and then push it back in –in order to keep your body alive while your heart is stopped from beating. Recently, surgeons have begun performing less invasive bypass surgeries and started using the internal mammary arteries instead of the saphenous vein, with better results.
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