What is Heart Blockage :- In simple words we say “Abnormal heart rhythm when the heart beats too slowly and thus resulting in partially or completely blocking of signals between the atria and ventricle that is the upper and lower chamber of the heart.” Not simple ? Then let us try to explain you in other words.
Heart blockage disrupts the normal rhythm of the heart. An unhealthy heart with blockage causes difficulty in pumping blood properly through the circulatory system and thus the organs and even brain, do not get enough oxygen thus leading to improper functioning of the body.
The building of a waxy substance called plaque, in the coronary artery can lead to coronary heart disease leading to clogging of arteries. Coronary heart problems can produce symptoms such as chest pain, angina, or even Heart attack if not investigated and treated on time.
Due to improper lifestyle, it is likely observed by the age of 40 about half of us develop cholesterol deposits in our arteries and at about 45 years of age a lot of plaque buildup. However, in women, this could be observed after the age of 55. A study conducted shows heart ailments caused more than 2.5 million death in India in 2015. In India, a lot of many factors contribute to the same that includes poverty, lack of proper medical care, improper lifestyle, smoking, ignorance, and most importantly lack of awareness for the same.
QUICK FACT – According to a study conducted by The Lancet, Deaths from heart-related diseases among rural Indians have surpassed urban Indians. The data from National Rural Health Mission shows 8 percent of primary health care centers in rural areas were functioning without a doctor, while 61 % had only one doctor as of March 2017. The authors of The Lancet also suggest quitting smoking can help in the prevention of premature deaths to much extent.
Types of Heart Blockages
Heart block can be characterized into 3 types –
First degree – This type is called a Minor blockage in heart, in which there are minor heartbeat disruptions that include skipped beats. It is considered as least serious and usually does not require any treatment like to unclog arteries.
Second degree – In this type of heart blockage, electrical signals never reach the heart and the patient might need a pacemaker.
Third-degree – In patient with heart disease, electrical signals do not travel between the upper and lower chamber. If the pacemaker, is not given there is a serious risk of heart problems to the patient.
Causes of Heart Blockage
Electrical impulses traveling inside the heart muscle instruct a healthy heart, to beat and contract. The impulse travel from the upper chamber to the lower chambers.
Damage to one of the branch bundles can cause ventricular contractions that result in an abnormal heartbeat. A block on the left side is much more serious than a block on the right side since the block on the left side indicates a risk of coronary artery disease or some other major heart problem.
Symptoms of Heart Blockage
Common symptoms observed by a person having locked in heart are –
- Irregular heartbeats
- Discomfort in the chest area
- Pain in chest
- Difficulty doing exercise or doing strenuous work
First-degree heart block is common and usually doesn’t show any symptoms. However, it can be found in routine diagnosis by ECG.
Second and third-degree heart block shows symptoms such as chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, lethargy, dizziness. Third-degree heart block is more serious, as it leads to a very slow heart rate.
You must get your regular health checkup done yearly to rule out heart disease or block as precautions. And if you feel the above-mentioned symptoms more or less more frequently you must seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid any mis-happening.
If the patient feels any of these symptoms more or less, he/she must consult to cardiologist or heart specialist. Depending on factors like age, previous heart issues, any other medical history that could initiate block, the severity of symptoms the heart specialist would get a few important diagnostic tests done to rule out the block in the heart.
The common test is done to diagnose the heart block are –
ECG – An electrocardiogram is the most common and simple test done to record heart activity. Wave abnormalities are looked upon by doing an ECG. It also indicates the block size that is right side block is there or left side.
Echocardiogram – It is a type of ultrasound scan done to see the muscles, valves abnormality by a doctor.
Electrophysiology – In this tiny electrical shocks are given to the patient to see the cause of the abnormal heart rhythm.
Congenital heart block is common that is present since birth, but not always congenital heart block occurs.
Heart block could occur with an increase in age if you have any other heart disease, improper lifestyle including obesity, and no exercise.
First-degree heart block is common and can be observed in well-trained athletes, teenagers, and young adults.
Treatment for Heart Blockage
The medical treatment for the heart block is as follows –
First-degree and second-degree most commonly doesn’t require any treatment until and unless the second-degree block is present with symptoms however third-degree heart block is most commonly treated by Pacemaker.
Since the heart is unable to pace itself due to a complete block of the electrical signals, thus the pacemaker is given to treat the patient’s with complete blockage in heart.
Prevention of Heart Blockage
The most important prevention is to manage the factors that can cause heart block.
Lifestyle modification such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, brisk walking, or exercising at least 5 days a week could prevent heart block up to much extent.
Smoking is harmful to overall health and could increase the incidence of heart block.
Control your cholesterol levels to prevent yourself from heart block.
Always go for regular investigations and take advice from your healthcare provider as early as possible if you feel any symptoms of heart block.
Question and Answers
Are you living with heart block what important instructions you require?
Be in touch with your physician regarding medicines and using a pacemaker. Make sure to make follow-up visits as advised by the doctor.
How to improve quality of life when on a pacemaker?
Tell your healthcare provider if consulting for some other disease that you are having a pacemaker.
Stay away from all the activities that could disrupt your pacemaker.
Schedule your regular appointments for checking the working of the pacemaker.
Do yoga and stay active, but don’t play sports that include intense playing.
Avoid doing strenuous work and intense workouts.
Wear a medical alert bracelet.
How to unclog arteries naturally?
To prevent the chances of heart block and clogging of arteries try to make some lifestyle modifications, stay fit and active, discontinue smoking, maintain your cholesterol levels, quit alcohol, eat a healthy and balanced diet, and include fruits and green vegetables in your diet.
At what percentage of block stent is placed ?
An artery should be clogged up to 70 percent for stent placement, 50 percent blockage doesn’t require stent placement.
Who needs stents and why ?
Stents are used in patients having obstruction in the arteries of heart thus showing symptoms like chest pain , shortness of breath , tightness in chest. Stents are used to reduce these symptoms. Those patients who have poor blood flow stents helps in enlarging the segment of the artery (unclog arteries) thus improving blood flow ultimately improving the symptoms.
What happens after stent procedure ?
The recovery of patients after stent placement is usually fast. Anti-platelet drugs like aspirin is prescribed by cardiologist almost in all the patients.
Foods to Avoid during Heart Blockage Problem?
To prevent heart block try to avoid foods such as chicken, mutton, butter, bakery products, junk food such as potato fries, cookies, fried food. Try to avoid food products such as eggs, cheese. Avoid red meat completely.
Salt and fried food – Intake of salty and fried food for long term, increase the risk of heart diseases. Try to avoid salty and fried food in the form of chips, namkeen. Excess of such food over a period of time is bad for heart health.
Sugar – Excessive sugar and carbs intake and processed food in the form of biscuit’s, cookies, cakes could deteriorate heart health. Keep a track on the unhealthy food you are consuming and try to replace it with healthy food as much as possible.
Bread , white rice – Long term intake of white rice, breads, pasta can cause heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Butter – Being rich in saturated fat, it can raise bad cholesterol thus chances of heart block. Replace it with olive oil for healthy heart.
Harmful Effects of Red meat and Fast food
Red meat – Excessive intake of red meat in the form of lamb, pork might affect your heart health pretty soon. They are high in unsaturated fat thus promoting bad cholesterol.
Processed meat – Sausage, salami are worst for heart. Being rich in salt and saturated fat it increases bad cholesterol and decreases heart health.
Alcohol – Over use of alcohol could raise blood pressure, increase triglycerides thus leading to blockage, stroke and other heart related issues.
French fries and fried chicken – Deep fried potatoes, chicken add sodium and fat in more quantity in body thus leading to high blood pressure, increasing bad cholesterol thus promoting heart block.
Canned drinks and soups – Soups are however healthy choice but canned soup and drinks contain lot of sodium that can ultimately affect the heart health.
On a whole eat less of Sodium, Sugar and Fried food to prevent your heart from heart related issues.
Food to Eat in Heart Blockage Problems?
If you have heart block or are at risk of heart block include food such as fruits, green leafy vegetables, legumes, pulses, olive oil in your diet.
Herbs are savior for heart adding fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme in your food not only enhance flavor but also are healthy choice for heart.
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that keep heart healthy and prevent heart blockages too. Olive oil should be made as choice of food instead of saturated fats such as butter, as it helps in lowering cholesterol and thus prevent from heart blockage too.
Walnuts being anti oxidant in nature prevent inflammation in arteries of heart and lowers cholesterol too.
Almonds lowers bad cholesterol that is LDL and thus prevent from blockage. Grab handful of walnuts and almonds a day for healthy heart.
Tofu contain heart healthy minerals. Fiber and great source of marinating healthy heart.
Fruits like oranges are cholesterol fighting fruit. According to studies conducted it is seen it boost blood vessel health and thus promote healthy heart.
A bowl of oatmeal a day fulfil all the nutrition requirements along with lowering bad cholesterol. It also stable the blood glucose and thus useful in diabetes too.
Flaxseed are good for heart and provide best nutrition. You can add flaxseeds in curd, sandwich.
Blue berries are super food for healthy heart. Being anti oxidant in nature they boost blood vessels health and prevents from inflammation and fulfil the nutritional requirements.
How high cholesterol can cause heart blockage?
HDL (High-density lipoprotein )and LDL(Low-density lipoprotein ) are two forms of cholesterol that travel in the blood. HDL is good for health while LDL is bad for health that can clog arteries and can cause plaque. Triglycerides are another fat that travels in the bloodstream. LDL and Triglycerides can increase the chances of heart block.
How lifestyle changes improve heart health?
Regular exercise, staying fit and active, eating a balanced diet, consuming a good amount of fruits and green leafy vegetables, quitting alcohol and smoking, avoiding red meat can help in reducing LDL levels and increasing good HDL cholesterol levels, thus maintaining high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and reducing the chances of heart block.
What are the ways to keep your heart healthy?
Preventing obesity, managing stress, and staying fit and healthy can help in the prevention of heart disease to much extent.
What are the problems that can cause heart blockage?
Heart block can be caused by many factors such as older age, Heart attack, high potassium levels, sarcoidosis, and certain cancers, infections. If the situation is bad, you will require treatment to unclog arteries.
Does stress cause heart blockage?
Even minor stress can trigger heart problems like poor blood flow to the heart. Thus heart doesn’t get enough oxygen or blood and would require treatment to unclog arteries. Long-term stress can even cause a blood clot.
Can medicine cure heart blockage?
There is no specific medication for heart block or to unclog arteries. A first degree doesn’t require treatment too. However, underlying diseases such as high blood pressure need medication thus lowering blood pressure and prevent from incidence of heart block or severe heart attacks.
How much heart block is normal?
A moderate heart block is between 40-70 percent. Usually, heart block in moderate range doesn’t affect blood flow thus does not cause any symptoms.
Can 100 percent blockage be removed?
In few patients, 100 percent block can be treated with Angioplasty and its results in long term are good. However few patients require bypass surgery to unclog arteries.
What is the prognosis of heart blockage?
With regular monitoring and the treatment to unclog arteries, you could be able to carry on with your usual day-to-day activities normally.
On the final note, I would like to conclude, heart blockage can be avoided by preventing obesity, maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercising, avoiding alcohol and tobacco. Blockage in heart is treatable but by following a healthy schedule you can prevent the chances of heart blockage in the first place. Inculcating major changes in your lifestyle along with healthy diet , you can indeed lower the risk of heart diseases too.
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