Archive for heart muscle damage

Causes of Heart Failure

Any type of damage to the heart muscle will weaken the muscle and may lead to heart failure. Below are the most common causes of heart muscle damage (or cardiomyopathy) in the U.S.

  • Atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease, CAD). In this case, the arteries tasked with supplying the heart with blood are clogged narrowed. Coronary artery disease reduces how much oxygen is supplied to the heart and weakens the heart muscle. This may cause a heart attack (called myocardial infarction, or MI) which results in the presence of scar tissue on your heart. Scar tissue does not contract like normal heart muscle, leaving your heart to pump less effectively. Heart muscle damage resulting from coronary artery disease is usually called ischemic cardiomyopathy.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension). When high blood pressure is left unmaintained for a long period of time, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood. When your blood pressure is high, your heart has more resistance to pump against. In the long term, that extra work stresses your heart and can lead to heart failure. This heart muscle damage is often called hypertensive cardiomyopathy.
  • Heart valve problems. Heart valves are tasked with controlling which direction your blood flows through your heart. When your heart valves are damaged, they likely fail to open and close properly, leading to a backflow of blood or a limited amount of forward flow. Congenital defects (defects present at birth) and infections like rheumatic fever can cause these problems. This is called valvular cardiomyopathy.
  • Alcohol abuse. Excessive, chronic alcohol use can severely damage the heart’s muscle walls. This is called alcoholic cardiomyopathy, or alcohol-related heart failure.
  • Unknown causes. Sometimes tests and examinations cannot determine the cause of your heart failure. If this is the case, your healthcare providers will likely label your condition idiopathic cardiomyopathy.

 

 

Understanding Heart Failure

If you understand what happens when you’re diagnosed with heart failure, your treatment plan will make more sense to you.

How a Healthy Heart Works

Your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood and nutrients all over your body.

What Happens with Heart Failure

Your heart is unable to pump the blood your body needs to function. This is the result of a weak heart, weakened by conditions or diseases that affect the heart muscle.

Causes of Heart Failure

Any time of heart damage weakens the muscle and may lead to heart failure.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

Whatever your symptoms, they are caused by either a buildup of fluid or lack of oxygen in your tissues. You may experience some or all of these symptoms.

 

 

Cardiac Rehab

Cardiac magnetic resonance, or CMR, imaging is essentially an MRI for your heart. Using powerful magnets, it creates pictures of the coronary arteries and the heart. During this procedure, you’re placed in a chamber and surrounded by a magnetic field. The atoms that comprise the tissues in your body respond to the magnetic force, producing weak signals. A computer is used to magnify and record these signals, which are then used to create cross-section views, or slices, and three-dimensional images of your heart. The results can be produced in either motion or still pictures.

CMR can inform healthcare providers about the size and structure of the heart wall, valves, and chambers. It is also used to show your heart’s blood flow and measure your ejection fraction. Furthermore, CMR images offer healthcare providers information regarding the extent of damage retained by the heart muscle, blood flow problems, and leaking in the heart’s valves and chambers.

 

Cardiac MRI

Cardiac magnetic resonance, or CMR, imaging is essentially an MRI for your heart. Using powerful magnets, it creates pictures of the coronary arteries and the heart. During this procedure, you’re placed in a chamber and surrounded by a magnetic field. The atoms that comprise the tissues in your body respond to the magnetic force, producing weak signals. A computer is used to magnify and record these signals, which are then used to create cross-section views, or slices, and three-dimensional images of your heart. The results can be produced in either motion or still pictures.

CMR can inform healthcare providers about the size and structure of the heart wall, valves, and chambers. It is also used to show your heart’s blood flow and measure your ejection fraction. Furthermore, CMR images offer healthcare providers information regarding the extent of damage retained by the heart muscle, blood flow problems, and leaking in the heart’s valves and chambers.

 

Heart Attack

A heart attack is when a coronary artery is blocked, stopping blood flow. Heart attacks usually cause irreparable damage to your heart muscle; heart attacks are also called a myocardial infarction, or “heart muscle” and “tissue death”.

Symptoms – take immediate action

Heart attacks can be slow, mild pain, or sudden and intense. If you experience any of the following signs, do not wait long before getting help.

  • Chest discomfort. This discomfort may last more than a few minutes or disappear and reappear. This pain can be described as squeezing, fullness, or an uncomfortable pressure.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This includes the back, neck, jaw, one or both arms, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, call 911. The faster you receive treatment, the better chance of minimizing damage to your heart muscle and saving your life.

Causes

Heart attacks are usually caused by coronary artery disease, or when the coronary arteries experience a buildup of plaque. This plaque can block the artery’s blood flow or cause blood clothes. Some heart attacks are also caused by spasms in the artery.

Prevention

Living a heart-healthy life can maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure, keep clear arteries, and ultimately prevent a heart attack.

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein like nuts and fish
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight and keep diabetes under control
  • Quit smoking