Aneurysm: An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to increased blood pressure and can occur throughout the body. It may be due to defects or weakness in some of the parts of the blood vessel wall. Bursting of an aneurysm can lead to stroke. Some aneurysms are present at birth (congenital).
Angina: Angina or ‘angina pectoris’ is chest pain as a result of inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle. The pain can be described as a discomfort, heaviness or pressure feeling. It often occurs when one is under emotional or physical stress. It is the most common symptom of coronary heart disease and can be mistaken for indigestion. Angina is usually felt in the chest, but may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw or back.
Angioplasty: Angioplasty is the term used for mechanically widening narrowed or obstructed arteries. It is not a surgery. Coronary angioplasty is a procedure used to open narrow or blocked coronary (heart) arteries to restore blood flow to the heart muscle. A thin, flexible catheter (tube) with a balloon at its tip is passed through a blood vessel to the affected artery. Once in place, the balloon is inflated which compresses the plaque against the artery wall. Angioplasty can be done with or without a small wire-mesh tube called stent.
Arrhythmia: Arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat and is not the same as an irregular heart rate. Arrhythmia can also occur in otherwise normal, healthy hearts. Arrhythmias are mostly harmless, but some can be even life threatening. The heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body, thus damaging the brain, heart and other organs. Arrhythmias may be caused by many different factors, like coronary heart disease, electrolyte imbalances in blood, injury from a heart attack and healing process after heart surgery.
Antiarrhythmics: Antiarrhythmics are drugs that are used to treat abnormal heart rhythms which are a result of irregular electrical activity of the heart.
Anticoagulant: An anticoagulant is a substance that prevents coagulation (clotting) of blood. Anticoagulants, such as heparin or warfarin, are a type of blood thinners that work on chemical reactions in the body to increase clotting time. They reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by reducing the blood clots formation in the arteries and veins.
Antihypertensive: Antihypertensive is a used to reduce the blood pressure of hypertensive patients. Some of the important and most widely used antihypertensive drugs are thiazide diuretics, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and angiotensin II receptor antagonists.
Antioxidant: Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals and help prevent disease. Free radicals can damage cells and may play a role in heart disease, cancer, etc. Antioxidants are natural substances present as vitamins, minerals and other compounds in foods. A diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.) has been linked to a reduced risk of heart and blood vessels disease.
Atherosclerosis: Build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the walls of arteries causes hardening and narrowing of the arteries leading to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease.
Beta blocker: Beta blockers, also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are medications used to reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers also help blood vessels open up and improve blood flow. They work by blocking the effects of the adrenaline hormone. Beta-blockers are one of the most widely used drugs to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure. They have also been found to prevent further heart attacks and death after a heart attack.
Blood pressure: Blood pressure (BP) is one of the principal, one of the critically important signs of life (vital sign). It is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessel and is expressed as systolic/diastolic blood pressure. ‘Systolic’ refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood and ‘diastolic’ refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. Normal blood is less than 130 mmHg/80 mmHg. Blood pressure doesn’t stay the same all the time. It lowers as you sleep and rises when you wake up. Blood pressure also rises when you’re nervous, excited or active.
Body mass index: Body mass index (BMI) is used to find out if a person is underweight or overweight. It provides a reliable indicator of body fat for most people. BMI is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. It is defined as the individual’s body weight divided by the square of his or her height.
Bradycardia: Bradycardia is a slower than normal heart rate. A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats a minute while at rest. Bradycardia can be normal and healthy. Or it could be a sign of a problem with the heart’s pacemaker or electrical pathways. Severe forms of bradycardia can be life-threatening.
Calcium channel blocker: Calcium channel blockers are heart disease medicines that slow the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels, thus relaxing blood vessels and increasing supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. They also reduce the heart’s workload. Calcium channel blockers are used to treat high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms. They are also used to relieve chest pain of angina pectoris.
Cardiac arrest: A cardiac arrest is the sudden cessation of normal circulation of the blood when the heart stops beating. It is different from a heart attack where the heart usually continues to beat but blood flow to the heart is blocked. Stopped blood circulation prevents oxygen delivery to different parts of the body. Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. It can be reversed if treated early enough.
CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure performed on a person whose heart has stopped or is no longer breathing. CPR consists of the use of chest compressions and artificial ventilation to maintain blood flow and oxygenation during cardiac arrest.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the outer lining of cells. Itl is also found in the blood circulation. It is a building block for cell membranes and for hormones (estrogen and testosterone). It is a combination of lipid (fat) and steroid. About 80% of the body’s cholesterol is produced by the liver. The rest comes from our diet. LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is called “bad cholesterol”, because they are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is called the “good cholesterol” because it prevents atherosclerosis. Dietary cholesterol comes mainly from animal sources including meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products.
Congestive heart failure: The condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body is called congestive heart failure. The heart’s pumping power is compromised. Movement of blood through the heart and body is slow and pressure in the heart is increased. There is fluid buildup in the tissues of the body as a result of congestive heart failure.
Diastolic pressure: The pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes following its contraction is called diastolic blood pressure. Normal diastolic blood pressure ranges between 60 and 80 mm Hg.
Diuretic: A diuretic is a substance that helps reduce the amount of water in the body by stimulating urine formation and the loss of sodium. They act on the kidneys to increase urine output. Diuretics may be used in combination with other medicines to treat the accumulation of excess fluid in the body that occurs with congestive heart failure, liver disease and kidney disease. Some diuretics are also prescribed to treat high blood pressure.
Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram is an ultrasound test used to evaluate heart muscle, heart valves and risk for heart disease. It is a non-invasive test that shows an image of the inside of the heart.
Electrocardiogram: An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart. Small electrode patches are attached to the skin of your chest, arms and legs to record the results. ECG is a quick, safe, painless and inexpensive test. It may be part of a routine physical examination or it may be used as a test for heart disease.
Embolus: A mass or plug, such as an air bubble, detached blood clot, mass of bacteria or foreign body that travels in the bloodstream and lodges in a blood vessel, thus blocking a vessel.
Fibrillation: Fast, uncoordinated contractions of the upper or the lower compartments of the heart.
Heart attack: A heart attack is the death of, or damage to, part of the heart muscle due to severe reduction or stoppage of blood supply to the heart muscle. Most heart attacks are the final result of coronary heart disease. If a blood clot totally blocks the artery, the heart muscle becomes “hungry” for oxygen. Within a short time, heart muscle cells die, causing permanent damage. This is a heart attack. Also called myocardial infarction or MI, (Myo – muscle, cardial – heart, infarction – death of tissue), heart attacks can be fatal if medical care isn’t received quickly.
Heart block: Heart block refers to a defect causing weakened conduction of the impulse that regulates the heartbeat. The defect “blocks” the electrical impulse from continuing through the normal pathways and result in a slower heart rate. Heart block caused by heart attacks often goes away on its own. Complete heart block often causes symptoms of lightheadedness or fainting and usually requires the placement of a permanent pacemaker.
Heart failure: Inability of the heart to pump enough blood to sustain normal body functions is called heart failure. It can be caused by coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure.
Heart valves: Heart has four valves – two atrioventricular (AV) valves and two semilunar (SL) valves. Heart valves are present at the exit of each of four heart chambers. They make sure that blood always flows freely in a forward direction and that there is no backward leakage.
Haemoglobin: Haemoglobin is an iron-containing protein in the blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body and carries carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. It gives red blood cells of blood their characteristic colour.
High density lipoprotein: High density lipoprotein (HDL) is composed of a high proportion of protein and relatively less cholesterol. HDL is the “good cholesterol”. It helps clear fat from your blood. A high level of HDL is protects you from a heart attack.
Hypertension: High pressure in the arteries is called high blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension. A blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high. High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), kidney failure, eye damage and other health problems.
Hypotension: Hypotension is abnormally low blood pressure that causes symptoms or signs due to the low blood flow through the blood vessels. Vital organs do not function normally when the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to them, and they may be temporarily or permanently damaged. Going from a sitting/lying position to a standing position brings out symptoms of low blood pressure. Conditions that reduce the volume of blood or the amount of blood pumped by the heart and medications are reasons for low blood pressure. A reading of 90/60 mmHg or lower is regarded as hypotension.