Angina pectoris is a medical condition that literally means a choked chest.  The victim feels acute pain in his chest for a few seconds, and then it goes away.  This occurs when myocardium cells, the muscle portion of your heart, are temporarily denied oxygen. At this stage they do not die, but maybe weakened.  If left untreated and the disease continues, a serious condition known as myocardial infraction or commonly called a heart attack may occur.  This can severely damage the heart’s functionality.  Which in turn effects our well being.  We should be educated about the risks that go along with our cardiovascular system.

The most common cause of the condition angina pectoris is over consumption of cholesterol.  This chemical is only needed in minute amounts, but is often eaten in every meal.  In the body, cholesterol is responsible for the stability of plasma membranes of cells, and hormones are produced from it.  If consumed at higher rate then needed it is stored in the tunica interna, the innermost layer, of blood vessels.  As it is stored it starts to build up eventually clogging the vessel.  As a result of this all cells feed by the vessel die because of a lack of oxygen.  If this condition is found early, it can be corrected with surgical procedures or, in some minor cases, corrective procedures.

Surgical procedures include bypass, laser and balloon surgery.  In bypass surgery a vein is removed from the lower leg and a clogged vessel is worked around.  Often in type of surgery the whole mid section of the body is cut and the ribs are pulled back, very painful with a very slow recovery.  Some hospitals have now implemented a new technique where only a small hole is made and everything is done via a view screen.  In balloon surgery a balloon is inserted into the vessel with the clog and is inflated.  When this occurs the vessel is damaged, this causes the cells to repair the damage and clear the clog.  This is not as successful as other surgery techniques and is often done several times before a positive result is seen.  Laser surgery is the most recent development.  Here they use a laser to actually scrape the build up from the vessel.  This surgery is one of the most expensive surgeries available today.

Corrective procedures include changes in lifestyle.  These can include food intake, exercise, and stress-related issues.  Food intake is largely the answer to correcting this situation.  As shown above excessive intake of cholesterol can increase the risk of a heart attack.  Coupled with excessive salt intake can produce another problem known as hypertension or commonly called high blood pressure.  This can further increase the risk of a heart attack since the heart has to work harder to achieve a homeostatic state.  Therefore the heart is working with less efficiency.  For example a runner’s heart may beat 64 times a minute.  A person with hypertension heart rate may be 98.   The runner’s heart is working with more efficiency; therefore it does not need to beat as fast as the person with hypertension.  The person with hypertension has a high heart rate since it cannot pump as much blood per contraction.  Exercise is another corrective procedure prescribed since it increases cardiovascular fitness.  As seen above, cardiovascular fitness can reduce the risk of heart attacks.   Stress-related issues can increase blood pressure for unknown reasons and therefore can also increase the risk of a heart attack.

All these factors can influence the health of our cardiovascular system therefore care must be taken to ensure proper function.  This includes handling stress with care, eating, and exercising right.

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