Heart failure refers to a number of conditions that cause the heart to become less effective at pumping blood through the body. Essentially, the heart can no longer perform its normal functions unassisted. Therefore, it’s crucial that patients suffering from heart failure be monitored closely by a cardiac care team as part of their routine treatment.
Medications are a given for most heart failure treatments. However, new patients and their doctors may not be aware how exactly they will react to the medication they are prescribed. Patients must follow detailed instructions on how and when to take medications, as well as guidelines on specific activities or substances to avoid while taking these medications. Cardiac care professionals can easily assist patients as they adjust to their newly prescribed routine.
In addition to medications, patients have to understand what activities they should take up and what activities they should avoid to reduce the risk of worsening their condition. Keeping up with certain physical activities, that will not put too much strain on the body, will help strengthen the heart. Picking the right foods is important to both strengthen and reduce unnecessary strain on the heart. Foods that are high in salts, sugars, and cholesterol should be sparse or nonexistent while foods containing heart healthy oils and protein should be abundant. Regular visits to cardiac care professionals will inform patients how their treatment is going and whether there are any problems with their blood pressure or cholesterol that needs to be fixed.
A heart condition should not stifle any patient’s outlook on life and happiness. Heart failure requires adjustments to certain lifestyle habits to ensure health, but happiness and life experiences should never be ceased because of a heart condition. The close care provided by cardiac care teams will help patients get the most out of their treatment, ensuring they live their lives to the fullest.
Educate your patients about how to get the most out of their heart through healthy lifestyle choices. For additional information on cardiac monitoring and health, visit the Medicomp Inc. blogs today. How do you counsel your patients on their heart health management and care?
As you go about your daily business, your heart pumps blood through your body at a steady pace. You barely notice it as it works because the steady beat is something you’re used to feeling. However, you may notice on occasion that your heart suddenly skips a beat or picks up and beats faster for a split second. This is known as an arrhythmia and they are common occurrences that happen from time to time. One specific example of an arrhythmia is an atrial fibrillation.
Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia. An atrial fibrillation occurs when the top two chambers of the heart, known as the atria, begin to quiver. Sometimes these chambers will beat as much as four times as normal. The heart and its beat are controlled by electrical signals that run up and down the heart at a steady pace. These electrical signals originate from a group of cells called the sinoatrial node. In a healthy heart, the signal is sent 60 to 100 times a minute. However, when an atrial fibrillation occurs the signal is sent from another node first, throwing off the rhythm.
Most of the time, these fibrillations are nothing to be alarmed about, and most of them go unnoticed. However, atrial fibrillations can signal the onset of serious heart problems like a stroke because of the disruption in normal blood flow. Recognizing the symptoms of problematic atrial fibrillations is important to receive quick and decisive medical treatment. Symptoms include:
- Abdominal and/or chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty exercising
Make sure your patients are well aware of the symptoms associated with atrial fibrillation. If they experience these symptoms, they should seek medical assistance immediately. Atrial fibrillations can affect anyone but tend to create complications in older people.
To learn more about different kinds of arrhythmias and arrhythmia monitoring, take a look at the Medicomp Inc. blogs today. How else do you counsel your patients about atrial fibrillation and other heart disease? Tell us your tips and we’ll share them with our followers.
The American Heart Association has worked tirelessly for decades to educate the public about the dangers of smoking. For years, they’ve been working to push forward legislation to regulate their sales. Thanks to evidence and research performed by the AHA and its partners, the control efforts have cut the youth smoking rate from 1997 to 2007 in half. This progress has saved over 8 million lives in the past 50 years alone. Despite this impressive feat, their work is far from over.
Tobacco industries have been pushing a new product over the past few years: the e-cigarette. E-cigarettes are advertised as being safer than normal cigarettes. They’re even framed as a product that helps those interested in quitting smoking. No matter how they’re marketed, trust the AHA and know better than to take these claims at face value. About 50 years ago tobacco industries put low-tar cigarettes on the market. Just like e-cigarettes, they were advertised as being safer than regular cigarettes, and this claim not only got the current smokers of the time to switch over, but it also convinced a new generation of smokers to start. Low-tar cigarettes turned out to increase lung cancer chances and were no better for the heart.
Learning from history, the AHA has been quick to push forward more regulation and clinical testing behind the claims of e-cigarettes. The AHA recently released a policy statement on electronic cigarettes to emphasize the importance of e-cigarette regulation. As it stands now, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, there have been no significant studies to support the claim that e-cigarettes are safer and can be used as a tool to help quit smoking. Without regulation, the AHA fears e-cigarettes will become the new low-tar cigarettes of the past, and with their growing popularity and new reports of high nicotine exposure from e-cigarettes appearing, it’s not hard to see why.
While it may seem like a good idea to create safe smoking e-cigarettes to act as smoking cessation aids, such products only normalize the action of smoking itself and cause the habit to embed itself deeply in the patient’s behavior. Part of the appeal, especially with e-cigarettes today, is that smoking is treated as a recreational norm. If smoking is no longer a normal activity, the habit will die down on its own.
To learn more about heart health and cardiac monitoring devices, continue to browse through the Medicomp Inc. blogs. What do you think about e-cigarettes? Do you think they’ll become the new low-tar cigarette?
Congenital heart defects are malformations in the heart or the large blood vessels near the heart. These defects are present at birth, and the malformations can impair the normal circulation pattern of the heart that is necessary to carry oxygen-infused blood throughout the body. The severity of the malformation can range from barely noticeable holes between the chambers of the heart to the absence of a chamber or valve all together.
Treatment for congenital heart defects often includes multiple diagnostic cardiac catheterizations, which includes repeated exposure to ionizing radiation. While the procedure is necessary to identify the location of the malformation, there is a growing concern in the medical community about the adverse effects that repeated radiation exposure will have on young patients. Infants and children in early stages of development are especially susceptible to adverse effects because their organs are more sensitive than their adult counterparts. In addition, the longer life span that children have ahead of them allows more time for detrimental effects such as cancer to metastasize.
For every 1000 children born, 9 will be afflicted with a congenital heart defect. In 2013, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) launched its Reducing Radiation Risk quality improvement initiative. It is the first NCDR quality initiative with the focus on reducing the amount of radiation exposure by the patient. According to the ACC, the initiative offers its participants the goals of “improving CHD patient outcomes by reducing radiation exposure received by patients undergoing congenital heart cath by 25 percent from baseline and cultivating quality improvement program capabilities in catheterization programs and hospitals.”
The efforts are ongoing and the initiative encourages people working in IMPACT Centers, specifically those who work with patients in a cath lab, to enroll in the Reducing Radiation Risk quality improvement initiative.
To learn more about events happening in the medical community and our cardiac monitoring solutions, continue to browse through the Medicomp Inc. blogs. What do you think of the efforts presented by the ACC? Share your comments with us below.
Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in American, carrying a heavier death toll than smoking and cancer. It’s been said, time and time again, how important it is to take care of your heart, and recent studies have shown that the message has begun to sink in.
However, despite the decline in heart-related illnesses and deaths that have been achieved thus far, heart disease still hold that top spot in annual fatalities. For those who have yet to make the change, these sobering statistics and facts might change their minds the next time they want to forgo their heart health.
Here are some of the statistics concerning heart disease:
- About 600,000 people die from heart disease in America annually
- One in every four of those deaths is caused by cardiovascular complications
- About 720,000 Americans suffer a heart attack every year, about 515,000 of these victims are first time sufferers, while the rest have previously experienced one or more heart-related events
- Coronary heart disease alone costs America about $108.9 billion a year–take into account the medications, health care services, and lost productivity; after a while, it all adds up
After examining the statistics, it’s not hard to see how heart disease affects more than direct sufferers. Billions of dollars are spent annually to treat coronary heart disease, and it’s only going to increase as the number of seniors requiring care increases.
Heart attacks alone are a serious problem, and it’s surprising how few know how to recognize the major symptoms of a heart attack–other than a pain in the left arm. During a survey taken in 2005, only 27 percent of respondents were aware of all the major symptoms associated with a heart attack before they called 9-1-1. Combined with the statistic that 47 percent of all sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital suggests that people aren’t responding to the early warning signs. Major signs of a heart attack include chest pain; upper body pain or discomfort, especially in the arms, back, neck, jaw, and upper stomach; shortness of breath; and cold sweats. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or someone around you experiences these symptoms.
To learn how you can adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, and our cardiac monitoring services and products, contact Medicomp, Inc. today! Also, share this post and help to educate others about heart disease.
Arrhythmias refer to a change in the heart’s regular rhythm. It can feel like your heart suddenly speeds up, slows down or stops, or simply beats in a strange, abnormal rhythm. Almost everyone has felt this irregularity at least once in their lifetime. Arrhythmias are extremely common, especially as you get older, and in most cases, they’re nothing to be worried about. Millions of people experience arrhythmias annually. However, on rare occasions, arrhythmias can indicate something severely wrong with the heart.
Symptoms of arrhythmias present themselves on a broad range from barely noticeable to heart failure. Premature beats are called palpitations, and a rapid succession of these can often feel like a fluttering sensation in your chest or neck. If an arrhythmia lasts long enough, you will begin to notice a wider range of serious symptoms including:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden cardiac arrest
It’s important to understand how arrhythmias present themselves and talk to a doctor if you are worried about an arrhythmia experience.
If your doctor shares your concern, they may give you a cardiac monitor to record your heart’s activities. Although there are different types, cardiac monitors are generally small battery operated recorders that you wear around your chest or waist. While you go about your daily activities, the monitor records the electric activity in your heart. You will also be instructed to keep a journal of your activities so your doctor has something to reference when your heart shows different levels of stress. After the recording time, the doctor will review the results and let you know if there is anything wrong and if there are any other actions that need to be taken.
To learn more about arrhythmia monitoring and the devices used to record them, take a look at the Medicomp, Inc. blog today!
People experiencing symptoms of a possible heart problem are usually prescribed a monitoring device to capture on record the heart’s activities during the problematic events. These events can include heart palpitations and fainting spells. The type of device prescribed depends on the prominent symptoms and the amount of time it would take to get an accurate recording of a pattern for these symptoms.
There are four types of cardiac monitoring devices:
- Holter Device. This is the most common recording device as it is usually only used during a 24-72 hour period to detect arrhythmias. During this time the patient goes about their daily activities while wearing the device. These devices are small and easily worn on the chest or waist while the electrodes are placed on specific parts of the chest. During the recording time, patients are asked to keep a detailed log of their activities for their doctor to reference while going through the recording at a later date.
- Event Recorder. These devices are worn up to 30 days at a time, but do not record during that entire period. Instead, these devices are activated by the patient when they feel an event occurring or when a symptom is present. Once the event is recorded it is returned to the doctor for evaluation.
- Mobile Cardiac Telemetry Monitors. These devices record and automatically send information to the physician via cellphone signal in case of an emergency. This is particularly helpful for catching events like fainting spells.
- Implantable Cardiac Monitors. A fairly new type of monitor, these monitors are placed under the skin and have a battery life of about 3 years. These are generally used to catch the most infrequent of episodes, especially ones that are missed by the other types of monitors.
Technology has come a long way to bring this level of convenience and accuracy in cardiac event monitoring.
To learn more about the different types of cardiac monitoring services and products and their history check out the Medicomp Inc. blogs today!
People suffering certain heart conditions or people at risk of suffering heart disease after events like surgery are often given a Holter monitor by their doctor. Holter monitors are small electronic devices that patients take home with them for a 24-72 hour period. During this time, they go about their daily activities while the device records the electrical signals of their heart.
Holter monitors look for:
- Arrhythmias that occur intermittently or during certain daily activities
- Symptoms of possible heart disease such as chest pain and fainting
- Patterns of low blood flow indicating a weak artery
- Signs that indicate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of treatment–from medication or a pacemaker
Basically, Holter monitors try to catch things that may not present themselves during a visit to the doctor’s office, especially if they only occur during certain activities like working out at the gym.
Patients shouldn’t expect much from a Holter monitoring session. They will be in possession of a small battery operated tape recorder that will be wrapped around the waist or chest and hooked up to monitors that are placed on specific areas of the chest. Once everything is set up, they will go about their regular activities until they return the device to their doctor. After the patient’s allotted time is up, the doctor will compare the readings from the monitor with the activities done at the time to determine if there is anything wrong.
While wearing the monitor, patients should:
- Be thorough in their journal entries to ensure accuracy
- Position themselves while they sleep to avoid pulling the electrodes off
- Wear loose fitting clothing that will not rub on the electrodes
After the session is complete, the doctor will let them know the results and what, if any, further action needs to be taken.
To learn more about Holter monitoring devices, contact Medicomp Inc. today. Have you ever worn a Holter Monitor? What advice would you give first time wearers? Share this post and your experience. We’d love to share it with our followers.
Annually, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. Doctors and health care professionals have emphasized the importance of making lifestyle changes to decrease the risks of heart attacks and strokes. The online journal, Circulation,published an article recently that gives these professionals reason to celebrate. According to the article, a study shows that healthy lifestyle changes and increased awareness efforts have drastically decreased the amount of people hospitalized with heart problems.
This study comes from the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. Researchers collected the medical data on over 34 million Medicaid-covered patients between 1999 and 2011. The findings show that the number of hospital visits for heart attacks dropped by nearly 38%, and that the improvements in the quality of care for patients has decreased the risk of death from heart attacks by 20%. The results are staggering. Lead researcher Dr. Harlan Krumholz commented on the results saying:
“They really show that we have begun to reverse this epidemic of heart disease and stroke. No one thought this kind of progress was possible in this short period of time. There is a path to reverse epidemics borne of lifestyle rather than from infectious causes.”
Heart disease may be declining but that will not stop the efforts of health officials to spread awareness and emphasize the importance of lifestyle changes that take care of the heart. There are still people who smoke, eat fast food as a staple to their diets, and forego exercise to entertain themselves inside their homes. However, the results show that America is on the right track, hopefully there will be another drop in the percent of those hospitalized for heart problems in the years to come.
To learn more about heart disease and the steps you can take to decrease your chances of contracting one, browse through the Medicomp Inc. blogs today. Medicomp offers flexible ambulatory cardiac monitoring to meet the changing needs of your practice. Medicomp is led by a physician, and he utilizes his medical experience in cardiology to guide the company with a doctor´s perspective in caring for patients.
Share this post and let everyone know of the great strides our nation as taken in the battle to prevent heart disease. Also, share your lifestyle changes that help to keep your heart pumping at peak performance.
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High levels of sodium have been linked to increased blood pressure that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. However, health organizations and universities the world over continue to study the relationshipbetween sodium levels and heart health. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published the results of three studies looking at the correlation between sodium and blood pressure. Researchers determined that previous studies that concluded a link between sodium levels and heart disease should be examined further.
Dr. Andrew Mente and his colleagues from McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, examined therelationship between blood pressure and the level of excretion of sodium through urine. Results of the study showed that 3-6 grams of sodium intake per day was associated with lower risks for heart disease than consuming more or less than 3-6 grams a day.
From the same university, Dr. Martin O’Donnell and his colleagues did a similar study. They examined the intake and excretion of sodium and how it relates to heart disease. Contrary to the results of the first study, Dr. O’Donnell found that excretion of 5 grams and above per day was associated with a greater chance of heart disease. In addition, it associated a modest connection between heart disease and 3-5 grams of sodium excretion per day, and no significant connection between heart disease and 3 grams or less of sodium excretion per day.
The last study conducted by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and his colleagues at Tufts University in Boston examined data taken from surveys on sodium intake determined by excretion and diet from 66 countries. The results of this study associated the death of 1.65 million from heart disease in 2010 with sodium intake above 2 grams per day.
To sum it all up, the exact relation between sodium intake and heart disease is more complicated than previously thought–all the studies present contradictory results to each other. Researchers understand that there is a need for high-quality evidence to describe the correlation between low and high sodium diets and heart disease before any solid conclusions can be drawn.
To learn more about how foods can affect your heart health, as well as more about our products such as a telemetry unit or Holter monitor, contact the professionals at Medicomp Inc. today. What do you think is a healthy sodium intake? How do you regulate the amount of sodium in your diet? Share this post and join the conversation.