American Heart Month is observed for the entire period of February to spread awareness about heart health and lifestyle changes that can prevent the onset of problems such as cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) and leaky heart valve. Articles published in this week’s round-up also contain a resting heart rate chart and discuss foods that lower heart rate.
The need for observing American Heart Month arose from the increasing incidence of heart disease, which is now the main cause of death in America. Awareness can guide people to seek medical intervention on time if required.
Here’s more information on heart functioning and heart health:
Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) isn’t a disease on its own, but rather a symptom of another condition. An enlarged heart can be seen on X-ray images, but additional tests are required to determine the exact cause of cardiomegaly.
Cardiomegaly can be temporary or chronic, depending on its underlying cause. In many cases, cardiomegaly is a treatable condition, but it’s important that you see your doctor at the first sign of the condition.
The main type of enlarged heart is dilated cardiomyopathy, where both ventricles of the heart become stretched and thin. Another type is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where the walls of the heart become very thick—it is an inherited condition. An enlarged heart can function better when it is thicker, compared to when it is thinner.
Common causes of an enlarged heart
An enlarged heart is often caused by another condition, which puts added stress on the heart and leads to heart damage. Although there are many different causes for an enlarged heart, in some cases, the cause is unknown.
A common cause is stress on the body, especially during pregnancy, but in this situation, the cause is temporary, so the damage isn’t as lasting. Continue reading…
Resting heart rate is a person’s heart rate when they are not performing any physical activity – they are at rest. A normal resting heart rate is between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Essentially, the lower the resting heart rate is the more efficient your heart functions. A low resting heart rate is also a signifier of better cardiovascular fitness. A resting heart rate below 60 bpm is often seen in athletes, and it’s not abnormal for their resting heart rate to be as low as 40.
The good news is, no matter what your resting heart rate is, you can improve it and in turn improve your heart function. Below you will find normal ranges for resting heart rate based on age, the contributing factors for a higher resting heart rate, along with tips on how to improve your resting heart rate.
Resting heart rate chart
The below charts reveal healthy ranges for resting heart rate based on sex and age. Continue reading…
Some people have a heart rate that is faster than normal, which can cause high blood pressure or heart failure. However, some foods can lower heart rate and are being recommended more often to those whose heartbeat is rapid.
High heart rate is a condition that is rising among North Americans. When a person’s heartbeat is unexpectedly high, it is called tachycardia. A normal heartbeat count for an adult is about 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heartbeat that goes above 100 can lead to heart complications.
A high heartbeat rate increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. While medications have traditionally been used to treat tachycardia, in recent years, doctors have realized the power of certain foods in helping to keep heart rate under control naturally.
Healthy eating: Foods that lower heart rate
When people think about how to reduce heart rate naturally, they consider exercise and dieting, such as cutting down on sugar and fried, fatty foods. However, the idea that there are specific foods that lower your heart rate comes as a surprise to many.
Research shows that there really are many foods that lower heart rate, including those outlined in the comprehensive list below. Continue reading…
A leaky heart valve is a medical condition that can vary in severity depending on how much it disrupts normal blood flow. The heart contains four valves – the tricuspid, the pulmonic, the mitral and the aortic – that let blood flow in a single direction as it enters each chamber of the heart. The valves have flaps that open to allow the blood to flow in the correct direction, and shut to prevent any blood from flowing backward.
A leaky valve occurs when after the heart pumps blood forward out of any given valve, some leaks back into the valve it just left. This is also known as valve regurgitation.
Symptoms of leaky heart valves
A leaky heart valve often has no symptoms, making it hard to diagnose. Many healthy individuals may have one or more slightly leaky valves, as this condition is only a concern if these leaks are enough to disrupt the blood flow significantly. Those with severe leaky heart valves may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, swelling and fluid retention in the legs or other regions of the body, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations, and fatigue. Continue reading…
Ensuring your heart stays healthy isn’t a complicated task. In fact, on a daily basis, you are taking part in simple habits that go a long way in improving your heart health—you just don’t realize it. Aside from eating healthy and exercising regularly, there are many other simple-to-do daily habits that can keep your heart in good shape. You may be surprised to know that you are already doing many of these, and if so, feel free to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. You can discover the full list of daily habits that improve heart health by reading on.
Flossing: Your dentist doesn’t tell you to floss because they want to be a nag, but because they know the importance of oral hygiene, especially when it comes to your heart. Individuals with gum disease tend to have other risk factors of heart disease, so if you keep up with good oral hygiene, you are less likely to have other risk factors that contribute to heart disease. Continue reading…
The resting heart rate chart, which shows the ideal heart rate according to age and gender, is a good indicator of whether a person is developing heart problems such as a leaky heart valve or an enlarged heart. If detected early on, interventions can be used to prevent the development or progression of heart problems and help to maintain a healthy heart. These include consuming foods that lower heart rate if your heart rate is unusually high.
However, even a healthy person can practice meditation, flossing regularly, being more active, getting sufficient rest, and keeping away from secondhand smoke to maintain a healthy heart and prevent the development heart problems.