February is American Heart Month – the perfect time of year to look at common heart conditions, heart health, and innovations and breakthroughs coming from Israeli Cardiology Centers.
Common heart conditions
A heart attack is also called a myocardial infarction. It is a life-threatening condition where blood flow to the heart is stopped. The heart stops receiving oxygen and nutrients. Heart attacks often happen from build-ups of fatty deposits that accumulate in arteries. Plaque forms. If some plaque falls off, a blood clot will form, blocking the artery and stopping blood flow to the heart.
Men and women experience heart attack symptoms differently, generally, symptoms include pressure or aching in the chest, arms, neck, jaw, or back. There can also be nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness.
High blood pressure is when the force of pumped blood against the artery walls is too strong. About a third of Americans suffer from high blood pressure. While there are no visible symptoms, having high blood pressure increases risks for several other conditions including strokes and other heart diseases.
It is easy to detect high blood pressure with regular checkups. Blood pressure is typically controlled by lifestyle changes and appropriate medications.
Other Heart Conditions
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) happens when major blood vessels are damaged by plaque buildup over time. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart attack.
Cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to enlarge. Over time, the heart becomes weak and this can lead to heart failure or irregular heartbeats.
Vascular diseases refer to various conditions affecting the arteries or veins. These conditions can cause plaque buildup, stroke, blood clots, artery disease, hypertension, and more.
In most cases, people with heart problems are treated with prescription medication. Many treat their high blood pressure with Cozaar. And for those at risk of stroke or heart disease, Plavix has proven effective in reducing the risk. It is always advisable to speak with your health practitioner about your heart problems and any concerns.
Innovation at Israeli Cardiology Centers
Israel’s largest cardiology department is situated at the Shaarei Tzedek hospital in Jerusalem. The department is now a central heart center with cardiac surgery, cardiology, and cardiac rehabilitation under one roof. Uniting all cardiac functions in one department leads to better treatment options and outcomes.
In the rehabilitation unit, there are two tracks. One for heart attack patients who need rehabilitation, the other for people identified as high risk for a heart attack. Heart attack risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, or a blood lipid disorder.
There is also a new laboratory, where sound waves are used to show live images of the heart and evaluate its function. Blood clots, fluid around the heart, and issues with the aorta can all be diagnosed this way.
The center recently opened a program to implant artificial hearts. To date, 5 patients received artificial hearts and are leading (almost) normal lives. This is a novel solution useful when a patient’s heart can no longer function.
Israel: First-in-the-world heart procedure
An Israeli cardiologist developed a novel procedure to plug a bleeding hole in a 29-year old’s heart using a device normally used to unblock arteries. The patient had already had three open-heart surgeries before and so another surgery wasn’t viable.
The surgeon wanted a way to help the patient without risking another surgery. In the best-case scenario, this method would help avoid surgery. In the worst-case scenario, the procedure would fail and he’d proceed to surgery anyway.
Luckily, the procedure worked quickly and effectively. This particular technique isn’t widely applicable since it was used in a very individual case, but it highlighted the fact that thinking outside of the box is worthwhile.
In Israel, cardiology is constantly progressing to help patients for the better.
If you or someone you know has a heart condition requiring medication, compare IsraelPharm’s prices on common heart and stroke medications.