Articles on Medical Diseases and Conditions

Entries for the ‘Guide to Preventing and Treating Heart Disease’ Category

Medications to Treat Blood Clots

Blood clots often play a prominent role in cardiovascular disease. In a healthy person, specialized blood cells called platelets have the capacity to form a clot in response to injury, as a way to limit loss of blood. How- ever, in a person with cardiovascular disease, a blood clot that forms abnormally in an artery […]

Medications for Angina or Heart Attack

If you experience angina, medications are certain to be a part of your treatment. Because angina is an indication that your heart needs more oxygen (usually because of a blocked coronary artery), treatment includes drugs that either reduce your heart’s oxygen requirements or increase blood ?ow to your heart so that it gets more oxygen. […]

Outcomes of a Heart Attack

Lack of blood ?ow to the heart (myocardial ischemia) usually causes symptoms such as angina, a sensation of pressure in the chest; shortness of breath; or light-headedness. Ischemia may lead to a heart attack (myocardial infarction), as some part of the heart is deprived of blood for a period long enough for the heart muscle […]

Recognizing Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Clearly, knowing the signs of a heart attack and responding quickly are important. If people live long enough to reach the hospital, their chances of dying are dramatically reduced. Treatment to open clogged arteries is most effective within the ?rst 60 to 90 min- utes after symptoms (such as chest pain) occur. If the blood […]

The Role of Inflammation

Scientists now know that in?ammation is a major component of the process of atherosclerosis. Just as in?ammation of bones and joints can, over time, lead to arthritis, an in?ammatory process inside blood vessels can lead to coronary artery disease or stroke. Research has not yet pinpointed what causes the low-grade in?am- matory process that may […]


Most coronary artery disease leading to heart attack results from the process of atherosclerosis, the stiffening and narrowing of arteries. Early changes are seen in people as young as their twenties. A healthy artery is highly elastic, responding readily to changes in the amount or pressure of the blood ?owing through it. As you age, […]

Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when a blockage in the coronary arteries those that supply the heart itself—shuts off the ?ow of oxygen- rich blood to heart muscle tissue. Without oxygen and nutrients, the heart muscle will begin to die. Prompt medical attention can restore blood ?ow and limit the extent of damage, but dead tissue […]

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a technique doctors use to perform many tests and procedures on the heart and blood vessels. Catheterization is an invasive procedure in which a catheter (a long, thin tube) is inserted into your body. For cardiac catheterization, a small puncture is made, usually in your groin, to access directly the underlying vein […]

Other Imaging Techniques

Still more advanced technologies can be used to study your heart’s structure and function. These procedures include computed tomogra- phy (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and positron emission tomography (PET). Such techniques are used to get more detailed information or to avoid more invasive procedures. These scanners are not available at […]

Multiunit Gated Blood Pool Scan (MUGA)

A multiunit gated blood pool scan (MUGA) is an assessment of how your blood pools in your heart during rest or exercise, or both. The test shows how well the heart pumps blood and whether it has to compen- sate for blocked arteries. It also reliably measures your ejection fraction, which is the percentage of […]