There Is Never an Excuse to ignore High Blood PressureThere Is Never an Excuse to ignore High Blood Pressure


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There Is Never an Excuse to ignore High Blood Pressure

I used to thinkt that people in good health just had "healthy genes" and that daily habits didn't affect health very much. Due to that belief, when my doctor diagnosed me with high blood pressure and prescribed a medication to treat it, I didn't take it at first. I soon got a health "wake up call" when I began experiencing chest pains. My wife took me to the ER and, thankfully, they determined I wasn't having a heart attack, like I thought I was. The next day, I began taking my medication and living a healthier lifestyle. Soon, I was able to stop the medication due to my lifestyle changes, but I still monitor my blood pressure at home just to "stay on the safe side." I wanted to share my story to help others and plan to post many more health tips on my new blog.

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What an Echocardiogram Can Tell You About Your Heart

Your doctor may recommend an echocardiogram if you've been experiencing certain cardiac symptoms or if the doctor just wants to monitor your overall heart health. This test uses technology that is able to detect heart abnormalities more precisely and produce more accurate results. Your doctor can also use the results to come up with a better care plan if any heart problems require further evaluation and treatment.

How an Echocardiogram is Performed

A transducer, which is a handheld device that a technician uses, will be placed against your chest to send sound waves that echo off the heart and its supporting structures. This echoing effect is able to generate detailed images of the heart's different structures so that a health care provider can get a more comprehensive view. An echocardiogram is a painless test that only takes a few minutes to complete.

Heart Valve Health

One of the main reasons why an echocardiogram is performed is so that a doctor can check the overall status of the heart's valves and make sure that each valve is functioning normally. The valves can be viewed with echocardiogram imagery to make sure that each one opens properly and that no blood is leaking back through the valve and into the heart (regurgitation). Echocardiogram testing can also show if there are any deformities of the valves and if the openings are wide enough to allow enough blood to move through them.

Blood Clot Diagnosis

Blood clots in the heart may be asymptomatic but could still cause a heart attack and be fatal if they aren't detected and treated in a timely manner. Antiplatelet medication or other blood-thinning medicine may be prescribed to try to dissolve any clots in the heart that are discovered with echocardiogram testing.

Abnormal Heart Rhythm (Arrhythmia) Detection

If your heart beats at a rate that's too fast or too slow or is beating sporadically, you'll likely be diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia that can be detected with an echocardiogram. Medication or other treatments may be used to try to correct these arrhythmias to decrease your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke. Echocardiogram testing is often useful for detecting specific types of arrhythmias, such as:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Tachycardia
  • Bradycardia
  • Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome

The Presence of Cardiovascular Disease

An echocardiogram is one of the most useful tools for identifying cardiovascular disease. If deposits that can restrict blood flow have built up along the artery walls (atherosclerosis), an echocardiogram may show this condition even before symptoms are present. Echocardiogram testing can also reveal heart failure and other conditions that are categorized as cardiovascular diseases. 

Tumor Detection

An echocardiogram can even be a useful test for detecting certain tumors that can form inside the heart. These tumors may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Other tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, may also be conducted to confirm a diagnosis. 

In addition to the aforementioned conditions, echocardiogram testing can detect other abnormalities of the heart that can often be resolved or at least monitored closer to try to prevent serious cardiac events. Your doctor can tell you more about echocardiogram testing and schedule a test if you're a suitable candidate.