Frequently asked questions

Here are some questions you might have and answers to those questions.

Smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and heredity are all risk factors for heart disease.
    Carotid artery disease affects the blood vessels leading to the head and brain. It involves the gradual buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries, which can cause these arteries to narrow. The narrowing of the arteries affects the blood flow, and therefore oxygen flow to the brain. People with carotid artery disease are at risk of stroke, due to decreased oxygen supply to the brain.
    Strokes are injuries to the brain that can severely affect the rest of one’s body. Strokes occur when the blood supply to a portion of the brain is stopped or when there is bleeding in or around the brain. Causes of strokes include blood clots in the neck or brain, or if artery bursts within the brain. The indications that one is experiencing a stroke include: sudden and temporary weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg, temporary loss of eyesight in one eye specifically, difficulty with speech or difficulty understanding others, dizziness, and unexplained headaches.
    Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found in all blood cells. It comes from the foods we eat as well being produced by one’s liver. Certain foods especially those high in saturated fat cause an increase in cholesterol. Although the body needs cholesterol to form cell membranes and hormones, too much cholesterol is bad. As cholesterol travels through the bloodstream it deposits plaque on the side of artery walls. The plaque causes a narrowing of the arteries as it builds up and increases ones risk for heart attack.
    Coronary bypass surgery involves the rerouting of blood flow to the heart by sewing a section of vein or artery around the diseased or clogged blood vessel. It increases the blood flow to the heart, which allows the heart to get more oxygen. The procedure involves around 1 to 3 days recovery in the Intensive Care Unit followed by a week of recovery in hospital.
    Arrhythmia is irregular heartbeats cause by a disruption in the electrical impulses that pace ones heartbeat. Although most people’s hearts miss a beat from time to time, people with arrhythmia experience these disruptions in heartbeat much more frequently.
    A pacemaker is a surgical implanted device that controls the electrical impulses sent to the heart, which in turn controls the heartbeat. There are two general different types of pacemakers, those that turn on only when needed and those that run constantly. Most pacemakers installed are demand pacemakers, those that turn on only when needed. Pacemakers can be used to eliminate arrhythmia. The batteries in pacemakers have average lifetimes greater than 5 years and involve a minor surgery to replace.
    Enlarged heart is exactly as it sounds. It is a heart that is larger than normal size due to a variety of reasons: heredity, heart disorders, and heart diseases.
    Triglycerides are fats that are delivered to your one’s cells by lipoproteins in the blood. They provide energy to one’s muscles. Triglycerides levels increase if one eats a lot of foods high in saturated fat. Although one’s body does need triglycerides for energy, it is believed that high levels of triglycerides lead to greater risk of heart disease. Very high levels of triglycerides can cause diabetes, pancreatitis, and chronic kidney disease.
    High blood pressure can be reduced by eating foods that are low in fat and sodium, losing weight, and exercising regularly. If none of these methods reduce blood pressure, medicines called antihypertensives can be prescribed to reduce one’s blood pressure.