How Long Can A Person Be On High Flow Oxygen Healthy Heart Prescription

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Healthy Heart Prescription

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America. Cardiovascular diseases include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke. Over 58,800,000 Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease. That’s about one in five Americans, with more than 2,500 Americans dying from it every day. More than two out of every five Americans with cardiovascular disease die from it. Of those with heart disease, 52.2 percent are men and 47.8 percent are women; 88.2 percent are white, 9.5 percent are black, and 2.4 percent are of other races. It is clear that heart disease is a national concern.

At least 250,000 people die of heart attacks each year before reaching the hospital. Half of all heart attack victims wait more than two hours before receiving help. Studies show that undereducated people are more likely to have a heart attack. An estimated 3 million Americans suffer from chest pain occasionally.

As many as 50 million Americans have high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of heart disease. Of these people, 35 percent do not know they have it. High blood pressure is easy to detect and can usually be controlled.

If all forms of cardiovascular disease were eradicated, life expectancy would increase by 7 years.

What is heart disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common form of cardiovascular disease. About 7 million Americans suffer from coronary heart disease, and more than 500,000 die from heart attacks caused by CHD each year. This type of heart disease is caused by narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. A heart attack occurs when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the heart.

Like any muscle, the heart needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients brought to it by blood in the coronary arteries. When the coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked and cannot supply the heart with enough blood, the result is coronary heart disease. The pain felt as a result of an insufficient amount of oxygen-carrying blood is called angina. This pain is usually felt in the chest and/or left arm and shoulder. However, sometimes there are no symptoms. This is called silent angina. When the blood supply is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack. The part of the heart that does not receive oxygen begins to die, and the heart muscles can be permanently damaged.

What are the symptoms of CHD?

For many people, the first symptom of coronary heart disease is a heart attack. But not all heart attacks start with sudden, severe chest pain, as shown on television or in the movies. So knowing the warning signs is important so you can get treatment within an hour of the first symptom.

The most common warning signs are:

o Chest pain (angina) or discomfort. Usually in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. A person may feel pressure, tightness, tightness, burning, or pain, usually behind the breastbone. Discomfort can be mild or severe, and it can come and go. It is also possible to have a heart attack without having any of these symptoms.

o Discomfort in other parts of the upper body. Pain or pressure may also be in one or both arms, neck, back, jaw, or abdomen.

o Shortness of breath. It can occur with or without chest discomfort.

o Other symptoms. Other early signs may include nausea, lightheadedness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Women are less likely than men to experience chest pain and more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and jaw or back pain.

What causes CHD?

Coronary heart disease is caused by the accumulation of fat and cholesterol in the blood, which causes the blood to become abnormally thick (viscous). The thicker your blood, the greater the risk of clogged arteries. Viscous blood forces the heart to pump harder, which raises blood pressure. The increased pumping action creates friction along the artery walls, causing gradual thickening and hardening leading to the development of plaque, almost like a callus. Fat and cholesterol build-up also binds to artery walls, causing them to narrow. This process is called atherosclerosis.

This hardening and narrowing of the arterial wall increases blood pressure even more. The increased pressure can cause the plaque to burst, causing a heart attack or stroke. Plaque buildup also restricts the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart, leading to further damage.

In addition to high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity also increase the risk of heart disease. That is why it is vital to take measures to prevent and control these conditions.

Risk factors

Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Some can change and some can’t. Important risk factors for heart disease that you can control include:

o High blood pressure

o High blood cholesterol

o Diabetes

o Smoking

o Obesity

o Physical inactivity

o Stress

Risk factors that you cannot control are:

o Heredity (family history of coronary heart disease)

o Sex

o Age

Tips to protect your heart

Although certain risk factors cannot be changed, it is important to realize that you have control over many others. Regardless of your age, background or health, you can reduce your risk of heart disease – and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Protecting your heart can be as simple as taking a brisk walk, eating a variety of vegetables, or getting the support you need to maintain a healthy weight.

o Eat healthy. Limit your sodium (salt) intake to less than 2,000 milligrams (2 grams) each day. Eat foods rich in fiber and potassium. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids or take a daily fish oil supplement. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, at least 5 servings a day. Limit foods high in fat (especially saturated fat), cholesterol and sugar. Reduce your total daily calorie intake to lose weight, if necessary.

o Exercise regularly. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise such as walking, running, or cycling four days a week will strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, and help you control your weight. If you have heart disease or uncontrolled high blood pressure, a regular cardiovascular exercise program prescribed by your doctor will help improve your overall health and make you feel better. It can also reverse the progression of heart disease.

o Manage your weight. If you are overweight, start a weight loss program right away. Research has shown that obesity is a contributing factor to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Especially women who are overweight in the midsection have a higher risk of heart disease. Researchers at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York analyzed data from 6,000 women and found that 90% of women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches also had at least one major risk factor for heart disease.

o Take your medication/treatment. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood cholesterol, or high blood pressure and have been prescribed medications to control these conditions, take them. Look for additional herbal and vitamin supplements to boost your immune system and improve your overall health.

o Reduce psychological stress. Most of us tend to downplay the role of stress in the development of heart disease. Studies have shown that there are direct links between stress at work and heart disease. Stressful jobs and workplace injustice may increase the risk of heart disease, according to a recent study conducted by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, Finland. If you find that stress is a problem in your life, seek help in finding a stress reduction program. Look for ways to deal with stress, such as nutritional supplements, exercise, and meditation.

No one plans to have a heart attack. But just as you would have a plan in case of a fire, it’s important to have a plan to deal with a possible heart attack. Here are some steps you can take to deal with this possibility:

o Be familiar with the warning signs of a heart attack.

o Talk to family and friends about the signs and the need to call 9-1-1 quickly.

o Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and how to reduce them.

o Take herbal supplements and vitamins to reduce risk factors and prevent other factors.

o Write a “heart attack survival plan” containing medical information and keep it handy.

If you feel the symptoms of a heart attack, do not delay. Do not wait to call 9-1-1. Your chances of survival or less serious damage are increased if treatment is started within an hour of the first symptoms.


American Medical Association, Family Medicine Guide, 4th ed

Journal of Women’s Health, January 2006

Centers for Disease Control

American Heart Association

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