Everything About A Cough

Talk about everything about a cough the possible causes and treatment, cough is less of a disease in its own right than a symptom of respiratory disease. It occurs, for example, when we have choked. However, coughing can also indicate serious medical conditions such as heart failure or reflux disease.

Definition

Who does not know the nights disturbed by a cold-related cough or the pain of a dry cough or dry cough? The bronchi are burning and you are short of breath. After a coughing fit, we sometimes feel like we have sprinted 100 meters. If the cough then loosens a little and produces sputum, this is often perceived as a relief.

Cough is not an independent disease in the medical sense, but a symptom. As a rule, a cough is triggered by illness. The most common are respiratory infections such as bronchitis, colds, or the flu. Allergies, asthma, or smoker’s cough are other common causes of coughs. Heart failure or drug side effects such as the ACE inhibitor cough are also causes of cough.

Symptoms

Doctors classify the symptom of cough into categories. First of all, a distinction is made according to the duration:

    • According to the medical definition, acute cough lasts up to 8 weeks.
    • Subacute cough is a classification that is sometimes used for coughs lasting between 3 and 8 weeks.
    • Chronic cough is the name given to a cough that lasts longer than 8 weeks.

In addition to this distinction based on duration, there is a division into productive and unproductive or dry cough:

    • Productive coughing is accompanied by increased secretion and expectoration.
    • Unproductive (dry cough) is also known as a dry cough. Mucus does not form with this form of cough. Therefore, unproductive cough is dry, so it remains without expectoration.

Everything About A Cough

Symptoms Of Productive Cough

A productive cough is characterized by the fact that the cough removes sputum from the airways or lungs. Often a productive cough begins with a dry cough. After usually 1 to 3 days, often accompanied by a sore throat, there is an increased production of mucus. This bronchial mucus is transported out of the airways or the lungs as sputum via the cough reflex.

Symptoms Of Unproductive Cough

An unproductive cough feels hard and painful, often burning. It does not produce sputum. Coughing fits that can last for minutes are also typical of dry coughs. Coughing attacks are said to occur more frequently at night and thus deprive the sick of sleep. Oftentimes, a dry cough is accompanied by allergy symptoms. Heartburn can also occur along with a dry cough.

More Symptoms Of Cough

The frequency and sound of coughing attacks are further characteristics that can sometimes even be used to determine the cause. Barking cough in small children, for example, suggests pseudo croup. An attack-like cough with a high repetition frequency like a staccato is typical of whooping cough (pertussis). A morning cough, often with copious expectoration, is particularly common among smokers.

Causes

The Cough Reflex

The cause of cough is the cough reflex. This is an innate protective mechanism of the body. The cough reflex has the task of protecting the respiratory tract from damaging influences and of removing secretions such as mucus and foreign bodies such as dust or swallowed items.

The cough reflex is triggered by receptors in the mucous membranes of the larynx, the trachea, and the larger bronchi. They react to mechanical stimuli such as those caused by secretions (mucus), foreign bodies (smoke, dust, swallowed things) or other stimuli (inflammation, gases). These stimuli reach a certain brain region, the medulla oblongata, via the vagus nerve (nervus vagus or 10th cranial nerve).

The medulla oblongata houses the respiratory center and is located in the brain stem. These nerve fibers are activated, which cause a sudden contraction of the diaphragm and the muscles of the abdominal wall and intercostal. In addition, the glottis is narrowed and extreme pressure builds up under the closed larynx.

When the lid of the larynx opens, exhalation occurs suddenly. With this impulse, foreign bodies or secretions are thrown out of the windpipe like an explosion. When coughing, enormous forces act on the larynx muscles. With strong coughing attacks, the air flows through the larynx at speeds up to the sound limit.

Causes Of Productive Cough

A productive cough is most often a symptom of a respiratory infection. These are, for example, the flu or cold, which in turn are accompanied by fever, runny nose, and a more or less pronounced feeling of illness. If the underlying disease is not healed properly or if there are constant new infections, the cough can become chronic; doctors speak of chronic bronchitis.

Causes Dry Cough

Dry cough is usually a reaction to a variety of harmful stimuli. These include smoke, dust, gases or chemical vapors. A very common typical example is the smoker’s cough.

Other causes of dry cough are severe respiratory diseases such as whooping cough, tuberculosis or lung cancer (bronchial carcinoma) as well as pulmonary embolism or emphysema. Allergic asthma or other allergies can also trigger a dry cough.

Other Causes Of Cough

Medicines can also trigger a cough. For example, this is a common side effect of some drugs for high blood pressure, such as ACE inhibitors.

Irritation from stomach acid when stomach contents flow back into the esophagus (reflux disease) also leads to coughing. This is often accompanied by heartburn and acid regurgitation.

Examination

Diagnosing cough is easy based on the symptoms. To find out the exact cause, your doctor will first ask you in detail. This is followed by a physical examination, during which mainly the breathing sounds are listened to.

In the case of a productive cough, the color and texture of the sputum indicate the possible cause:

    • Clear whitish sputum: mostly caused by viral upper respiratory infections such as colds or flu
    • Yellowish or green sputum: indication of a possible additional bacterial infection in viral respiratory diseases
    • The bloody build-up is an indication of serious lung diseases such as pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, or lung cancer. In addition, the sputum is sometimes bloody if the blood vessels in the airways or the lungs have been damaged by swallowed objects or other injuries. Bloody sputum is usually a medical emergency and should be investigated immediately.
    • Brown or black sputum: especially common in smokers, often signs of advanced lung damage from chronic bronchitis or COPD.

At times, complex diagnostics may be necessary to find the cause of the cough. These more extensive examinations are usually carried out by specialists. As a rule, your family doctor will refer you to a pulmonologist (pulmonologist) for this purpose. For heart-related coughs, cardiologists are the specialists of choice. In the case of gastrointestinal diseases as the cause, the path leads to the gastroenterologist and in the case of allergies to the allergologist.

Treatment

Treatment for cough is based on the cause. If a cough is not triggered by a serious underlying disease, home remedies are usually well suited to relieve the excruciating urge to cough. If the cough does not improve within a few days, the first thing you should do is see a family doctor so that the cause of the cough can be found. Only then can meaningful treatment be initiated.

There are a number of medications your doctor can use to treat coughs. If necessary, he will treat infection or inflammation as the cause of the cough, for example with antibiotics. If ACE inhibitors are responsible for the cough, he will change the medication. In the event of a cough accompanied by heartburn and acid regurgitation, the doctor will order a gastroscopy and then treat the gastric acid reflux.

Do not take coughing lightly. This is especially true if the cough:

    • lasts longer than 2 weeks (for infants, toddlers, or children: longer than 3 days)
    • is accompanied by fever or severe malaise
    • occurs new and without a traceable harmless cause
    • with bloody, brown, or black obstruction
    • is accompanied by a high fever and/or extreme fatigue.

More information about treatment and self-help, as well as home remedies for coughs:

    • bronchitis
    • COPD
    • cough

Prevention

Coughing as a result of respiratory infections can hardly be prevented in a targeted manner. Basically, it is advisable to strengthen the immune system. A varied diet rich in vitamins and exercise in the fresh air strengthens the immune system and therefore helps prevent coughs. Smokers should give up smoking, especially if they have a smoker’s cough.

Orthomolecular Medicine

Philosophy / History Of The Origins Of Orthomolecular Medicine

The orthomolecular medicine (Greek: «orthos» = correct, «molecule» = small chemical compound, «molecular» = relating to the molecules) uses substances such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, or fatty acids to maintain health or complaints and To alleviate illnesses. The American chemist Linus Pauling (1901-1995), a two-time Nobel Prize winner, was convinced that taking large amounts of certain vitamins could maintain health and prevent disease. With this conviction, Pauling was one of the most famous supporters of orthomolecular medicine.

Many substances such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, or fatty acids (called “nutrients” in orthomolecular medicine) are essential for maintaining good health. These substances are normally ingested with food and some of them are produced by the body itself. The supporters of orthomolecular medicine are of the opinion that many complaints and illnesses can be traced back to a deficiency in these substances, although the need varies greatly from person to person. That is why there are people who, despite a healthy diet, take in too few “nutrients” and can subsequently become ill.

A lack of the nutrients that are important in orthomolecular medicine can have many reasons:

    • Lack of nutrition
    • Unilateral or unhealthy diet
    • Preserved and alienated foods whose nutrient content decreases due to processing
    • Loss of nutrients in food due to long transport, incorrect storage, or poor preparation
    • An increase in nutrient requirements through the “modern” way of life, which is associated with stress, hectic pace, and the excessive consumption of alcohol, nicotine, and coffee
    • Increased need for nutrients in times of increased stress, for example during a growth phase, an illness, or during recovery
    • Environmental pollution

In orthomolecular medicine, attempts are made to prevent or compensate for a deficiency of the nutrients mentioned by paying attention to an increased intake of these substances. Linus Pauling, for example, consumed large amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A every day – he was 94 years old.

Orthomolecular Medicine

Technique Of Orthomolecular Medicine

The therapist or doctor who practices orthomolecular medicine has the patient’s complaints described in detail. From these symptoms, he can infer the possible underlying nutritional deficiency. In order to gain certainty about the nutrient supply of the patient, the therapist can have body cells and fluids (hair, urine, or blood) examined for their nutrient content. The therapist gives the patient advice on how to increase the supply of the missing nutrients by changing his eating habits (for example by avoiding foods such as white flour or sugar). In addition, the therapist prescribes nutrients for oral use.

Application Of Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine is used in the treatment, but above all in the prevention of diseases. Some examples are:

    • Various vitamins to prevent cancer or improve performance
    • Magnesium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins to prevent vision problems
    • Omega-6 fatty acids for the prevention of circulatory disorders
    • Magnesium against calf cramps and cardiac arrhythmias
    • Chromium, zinc, and manganese for fluctuations in the sugar metabolism
    • Vitamin C and sulfur-containing amino acids in case of a nickel allergy
    • Zinc and Vitamin C to promote wound healing

A special field of application of orthomolecular medicine in psychiatry because many people with mental problems or mental illnesses are said to suffer from nutrient deficiencies. There is some hope in the use of nutrients to treat these serious diseases.

Side Effects Of The Orthomolecular Approach

The intake of high doses of vitamins can in rare cases lead to an overdose and symptoms of intoxication. To date, it is also not yet known whether health damage can occur after years of ingestion of large amounts of nutrients.

Pulmonary Edema

Pulmonary edema is usually accompanied by significant breathing problems and can easily lead to a life-threatening emergency. Read more about early warning signs, symptoms, causes and treatment, and what to do in an emergency.

Synonyms

pulmonary edema, water lung, congestive lung

Definition

With pulmonary edema, fluid collects in the lungs. Doctors speak of pulmonary edema. Colloquially, pulmonary edema is also referred to as water in the lungs. Strictly speaking, these are liquid components of the blood that are pressed into the lung tissue from the finest blood vessels in the lungs, the lung capillaries. The function of the lungs is restricted by the free fluid.

In pulmonary edema, depending on the localization of the fluid, a distinction is made between two forms that can quickly merge without therapy:

    • Interstitial pulmonary edema: fluid accumulation in the connective tissue support structure or in the tissue between the cells, the interstitium
    • Intraalveolar pulmonary edema: accumulation of fluid within the finest alveoli.

Pulmonary congestion is a less pronounced preliminary stage of pulmonary edema. Especially in people with left heart failure and kidney failure, pulmonary congestion occurs as a chronic form of pulmonary edema.

Pulmonary edema usually causes clearly noticeable symptoms such as accelerated shallow breathing, rattling breath sounds, coughing, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, pulmonary edema can be life-threatening. If you have symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately. If the symptoms are severe, the emergency doctor should be called.

The most common causes of pulmonary edema are heart disease (cardiac pulmonary edema). Other causes include kidney disease (renal pulmonary edema), poisoning (toxic pulmonary edema), or a lack of oxygen at high altitudes (high altitude pulmonary edema). Sunstroke (cerebral pulmonary edema) can also lead to pulmonary edema under unfavorable circumstances. See the Causes section below for details.

With timely medical help, the life-threatening acute symptoms of pulmonary edema can in most cases be managed well with oxygen treatment and drug therapy. The long-term healing prospects depend primarily on whether the triggering circumstances can be eliminated.

Pulmonary Edema

Frequency

The exact frequency of pulmonary edema is not recorded. From medical practice, however, it can be said that it is a common complication of heart diseases, for example, especially heart failure (heart failure). The prevalence (incidence) of heart failure is given in the literature to be up to 2 percent. The frequency increases sharply from the age of 60.

According to the German Heart Foundation, up to 3 million men and women in Germany are affected by heart failure. Around 450,000 people are hospitalized for cardiac insufficiency each year. Almost 10 percent do not survive.

Symptoms

The symptoms of pulmonary edema differ according to four degrees of severity.

Stage I: interstitial pulmonary edema

Doctors refer to stage I as interstitial pulmonary edema. Interstitial means that the fluid collects in the connective tissue of the lungs or between the cells of the lung tissue. At this stage, pulmonary edema is mainly noticeable as breathing difficulties. Most of the time, breathing is much faster and shallower. Typically, these symptoms of pulmonary edema subside when the person concerned is elevated or standing. Further symptoms of interstitial pulmonary edema are cough and a noticeable restlessness.

Stage II: Alveolar pulmonary edema

In stage II, the fluid from the lung tissue first penetrates into the alveoli. This is why doctors speak of alveolar pulmonary edema. Later, the fluid also collects in the small bronchi (bronchioles). Typical symptoms of this pulmonary edema stage are increasing shortness of breath and intensifying cough, which is sometimes accompanied by whitish-foamy sputum. Breathing sounds can be heard (so-called wheezing), the pulse is racing (tachycardia), the patients are pale and are afraid of suffocating. At the latest in stage of alveolar pulmonary edema, urgent medical help is required.

Stage III: Increased foaming

In the third stage, the breathing difficulties continue to worsen. More and more fluid collects in the bronchi. A visible symptom is increased foam formation, which is coughed up as whitish sputum. The breathing noises sound more and more rattling. A threatening lack of oxygen (hypoxemia) can occur. Signs of this are bluish discoloration of the lips and fingers (cyanosis).

Stage IV: Respiratory arrest (asphyxia)

Doctors refer to the life-threatening end-stage of pulmonary edema as asphyxia or respiratory failure. If those affected are not immediately supplied with oxygen, there is a risk of death from cardiac arrest.

Causes

Pulmonary edema can have very different causes. By far the most common cause is heart disease. In second place are kidney diseases. Other causes, such as lack of oxygen at high altitudes or other illnesses, are rare causes of pulmonary edema. More about the individual groups below.

Cardiac Pulmonary Edema

Many people are unaware that the heart and lungs are closely connected by cardiopulmonary circulation. Very simply, the circuit looks like this: The oxygen-poor blood from the body reaches the lungs via the right ventricle. There it flows through the pulmonary capillaries along the alveoli. The blood releases carbon dioxide and absorbs vital oxygen. The freshly enriched blood then returns from the lungs to the heart and from the left ventricle back into the body.

The left ventricle is therefore responsible for the blood being pumped from the lungs into the body. If the left ventricle can no longer do this, the blood backs up into the pulmonary circulation. In addition, the right ventricle releases more and more blood into the lungs, as a result of which the pressure in the large and small blood vessels of the lungs continues to rise. Doctors speak of increasing hydrostatic pressure in the pulmonary veins and pulmonary capillaries. This pressure causes fluid from the blood to be forced through the walls of the blood vessels into the interstitial lung tissue, alveoli, and bronchioles.

Left heart failure (left heart failure) is the most common cause of cardiac pulmonary edema. In principle, however, pulmonary edema also occurs as a result of other severe cardiovascular diseases. These are above all:

    • high blood pressure
    • Heart attack
    • Heart valve defects, especially aortic valve stenosis and mitral valve stenosis
    • Myocarditis
    • Arrhythmia
    • Coronary heart disease (CHD)

Non-Cardiac Pulmonary Edema

If the cause of pulmonary edema is not in the heart, doctors speak of non-cardiac pulmonary edema. There are many possible triggers here.

    • Kidney weakness and pulmonary edema: The kidneys play a decisive role in regulating the fluid balance in the body. With kidney weakness, less fluid is usually excreted. This also promotes pulmonary edema. In addition, kidney diseases sometimes excrete more proteins that should remain in the blood. Because these proteins make a significant contribution to binding the fluid in the blood vessels. Without these proteins, fluid can more easily escape from the blood vessels into the tissue: edema develops. Acute kidney failure is a life-threatening emergency that requires the fastest possible therapy. Lung edema can also result from chronic kidney weakness.
    • Toxic pulmonary edema is caused by toxins or irritants. Typical for this form are, for example, the inhalation of irritant gases, nitric oxide, heroin or gastric fluid.
    • Allergic pulmonary edema is based on a particularly severe form of an allergic reaction, anaphylactic shock.
    • The causes of high altitude pulmonary edema have not yet been clearly clarified. It sometimes arises in people who quickly ascend to great heights in the mountains. It occurs mainly at altitudes of more than 4,000 meters. About 7 percent of mountaineers are affected.
    • So-called cerebral or neurogenic pulmonary edema is very rare. These pulmonary edema arise, for example, as a result of severe brain injuries or brain infections (encephalitis). Epilepsy can also be associated with cerebral pulmonary edema. In addition, in particular rare cases, severe forms of sunstroke lead to pulmonary edema.

Examination

For doctors or paramedics, the suspected diagnosis of pulmonary edema usually arises from the obvious breathing symptoms. The eavesdropping examination with the stethoscope (auscultation) and imaging examinations create clarity. A simple X-ray examination is sufficient to detect the pulmonary edema itself. When looking for the cause of the pulmonary edema, very different diagnostic methods are used, depending on the initial suspicion. These include ultrasound examinations of the heart (echocardiography) and laboratory tests of blood and urine.

Treatment

The treatment of pulmonary edema is divided into immediate measures to alleviate breathing difficulties, drug therapy, and combating the triggering circumstances.

Immediate measures for pulmonary edema

Whether medical professionals, paramedics, or first aiders: If pulmonary edema is suspected, those affected should be positioned with the upper body upright. It is best for the patient to sit on a chair. Sitting or lying up has several positive effects:

  • The respiratory muscles can relax and thus better support breathing.
  • The pressure in the blood vessels in the lungs decreases because less blood normally gets to the chest when the legs are low.
  • A firm holds while sitting usually helps reduce the agitation and anxiety typical of pulmonary edema.

In the event of a respiratory arrest or pronounced lack of oxygen (recognizable by blue lips or fingers paired with a lack of breathing), cardiopulmonary massage and resuscitation by first aiders can save lives. Paramedics or doctors can compensate for a lack of oxygen by ventilating with oxygen through a nasogastric tube. If necessary, doctors give a sedative against feelings of fear and restlessness.

In the case of severe pulmonary edema obviously caused by cardiac disease, medication to relieve the heart, such as nitroglycerine, catecholamines to improve expectoration such as dobutamine, diuretic agents such as furosemide, and anxiety-relieving opiates such as morphine are usually administered intravenously in the ambulance. In the case of toxic or allergic pulmonary edema, in particular, anti-inflammatory drugs from the active ingredient group of glucocorticoids such as prednisolone and dexamethasone are injected.

Cause-specific treatment of pulmonary edema

Cause-specific treatment of pulmonary edema usually takes place after admission to the hospital. These include, for example, the treatment of cardiovascular diseases or kidney weakness.

Forecast

A general prognosis for pulmonary edema is not possible. Basically, the earlier professional treatment begins, the better the prospects. There are no official figures on the chances of survival. However, the statistics for cardiac insufficiency offer a clue. Of the approx. 450,000 heart failure patients treated in German hospitals each year, one in ten dies on average.

Prevention

Breathing difficulties of unknown cause should always be examined by a doctor as early as possible. In particular, people with cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, lung diseases or kidney diseases should strictly adhere to the treatment recommendations – and if the symptoms change, see a doctor immediately to prevent pulmonary edema.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

There are more than 200 forms of pulmonary fibrosis, many of which are rare diseases. More about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this pathological stiffening of the lung tissue.

Synonyms: interstitial lung disease, pneumoconiosis, idiopathic interstitial pneumonia

Definition

Pulmonary fibrosis is not an independent disease, but rather a change in the lung tissue and the surrounding blood vessels, which is accompanied by an increasing loss of function of the lungs. This loss of function occurs because more and more lung tissue changes like connective tissue and the alveoli are, so to speak, suffocated. At the same time, the lungs lose their elasticity more and more to inflate when you breathe in. As a result, pulmonary fibrosis causes chronic shortness of breath with a lack of oxygen, which is ultimately fatal. The course of the disease can sometimes be slowed down. Lung fibrosis is not curable so far.

Frequency

There is no precise information on the frequency of pulmonary fibrosis in Germany. By far the most common form of the disease in this country is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. According to estimates by experts, the incidence rate for IPF is up to 10 cases per 100,000 population per year.

Many diseases related to pulmonary fibrosis are so rare that they are classified as rare diseases (orphan diseases).

Symptoms

Pulmonary fibrosis often goes unnoticed for many years because the lungs can compensate for the loss of functioning alveoli and bronchi for a long time. At the beginning of the symptomatic course, there are breathing difficulties, which are primarily noticeable during physical exertion. Later, symptoms such as shortness of breath and shortness of breath occur even at rest. As a rule, the symptoms continue to worsen. Coughing and accelerated shallow breathing are other signs of pulmonary fibrosis. The lack of oxygen usually severely restricts physical performance. Typical visible signs of advanced pulmonary fibrosis are blue lips and fingers. This cyanosis is a result of the lack of oxygen. This also applies to the so-called drumstick fingers (piston-shaped finger ends) and conspicuously curved fingernails (watch glass nails).

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Causes

There are more than 200 causes of pulmonary fibrosis or so-called fibrosing lung diseases. What all forms have in common is that the connective tissue between the alveoli and the surrounding pulmonary blood vessels and bronchi continues to multiply. Doctors refer to these tissues as the interstitium.

As a result of an inflammatory process, the interstitium becomes increasingly hard and scarred. This has two consequences: on the one hand, the alveoli are as it was suffocated, on the other hand, the lungs are less and less able to inflate when inhaling. This means that less oxygen reaches the lungs. And this reduced volume of oxygen can also be absorbed and released by the alveoli less and less.

How it relates to the inflammatory process has not yet been clearly clarified. Recent studies suggest that the inflammatory response begins on the surface of the alveoli.

In addition to inflammation, drugs can also promote pulmonary fibrosis. In particular, the active ingredients amiodarone, bleomycin, and busulfan are suspected of causing changes in the lungs of the connective tissue. Other causes of pulmonary fibrosis are inhalation of fibers such as asbestos and dust particles such as quartz dust, allergic reactions, and radiation therapy.

Treatment

Pulmonary fibrosis is incurable. Lung tissue that is lost once cannot be reactivated. Pulmonary fibrosis is fatal if left untreated. With a timely start of treatment, the course of the drug therapy can be slowed down. Above all, anti-inflammatory drugs based on cortisone are used. Other typical active ingredients in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis are immunosuppressants such as azathioprine and cyclophosphamide.

Advanced pulmonary fibrosis often requires long-term oxygen therapy. The last option is a lung transplant.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Many people have abnormal heart rhythms during their lifetime. Healthy people sometimes notice that a beat skips or the heart stumbles. Such extra blows (so-called extrasystoles) are to a certain extent harmless and harmless (especially for young people). But sometimes these stumbling blocks indicate serious heart disease. Here you will find everything about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias.

Definition

In the case of cardiac arrhythmias, the sequence of heartbeats is disturbed: the heart beats too fast, too slowly or too irregularly. In healthy adults, the heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute when at rest and without exertion. With excitement, anger, fear, or stress, as well as physical strain, the heartbeat accelerates. On the other hand, it decreases during sleep. These changes are normal and important. In the case of cardiac arrhythmias, this adjustment of the heartbeat does not work properly.

Sinus nodes and AV nodes – clocks for the heart rhythm

The so-called sinus node in the heart indicates how fast and often the heart beats. However, this sinus node is not a palpable or tactile node. Rather, it is an accumulation of specialized heart muscle cells.

The sinus node is the first clock of the heartbeat. It is located in the upper area of ​​the right atrium and generates around 60 to 80 so-called excitations per minute. From there, these electrical impulses reach the AV node via the walls of the atria. This node lies at the transition between the atrium and the ventricle and steps in when the sinus node fails. It is like a downstream (secondary) pacemaker. However, the AV node produces only 40 to 50 excitations per minute. From the AV node, the electrical stimuli pass through specific conduction pathways into the muscles of the heart, which make the heartbeat.

Classification Of Cardiac Arrhythmias

Cardiac arrhythmias are classified according to their place of origin. They can arise in the atrium or the ventricle as well as in the stimulation and conduction system. There are also classifications according to speed and danger, as well as congenital and acquired cardiac arrhythmias. We limit ourselves to the classification of cardiac arrhythmias according to their place of origin.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Atrial Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias that arise in the atrium of the heart are called supraventricular arrhythmias. As a rule, pathological changes in the sinus or AV node are the cause.

Typical atrial arrhythmias are:

    • Atrial fibrillation (most common significant cardiac arrhythmia. With atrial fibrillation, non-directional electrical excitations run across the atria at an immense speed.
    • Atrial flutter (abnormal heart rhythm in which the auricles beat regularly but very quickly per minute)
    • Conduction disorder from the sinus node to the atrial muscles (sinoatrial block).
    • Heartbeats outside the normal heart rhythm, originating in the atrium (supraventricular extrasystoles).

Cardiac Arrhythmias In The Ventricle

Arrhythmias that arise in the chambers of the heart are called ventricular arrhythmias. Typical cardiac arrhythmias in the ventricle are:

    • Heartbeats outside the normal heart rhythm from the ventricle (ventricular extrasystoles)
    • Rapid, sometimes life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias that originate in the ventricles (ventricular tachycardia)
    • Ventricular flutter (rapid sequence of relatively regular ventricular actions)
    • Ventricular fibrillation (life-threatening and pulseless cardiac arrhythmia with disordered ventricular excitation, whereby the heart muscle no longer beats properly. If left untreated, ventricular fibrillation leads directly to death due to the lack of pumping capacity).

Cardiac Arrhythmias Of The Excitation And Conduction System

    • Malfunction of the sinus node and conduction in the atria (e.g. sick sinus syndrome, sick sinus node syndrome)
    • Delayed or interrupted conduction of excitation at the AV node (AV blockages)
    • rapid and regular heartbeats that begin suddenly and end abruptly (AV node reentry tachycardia)
    • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW syndrome, a frequent cardiac arrhythmia in young people that is triggered by an electrical circuit between the auricles and the ventricles.)
    • Ventricular reserve rhythm after failure or blockage of sinus nodes or AV nodes.

Symptoms

A cardiac arrhythmia can also be seen when feeling the pulse wave, for example on the wrist. The pulse can really race, go very slowly or bump irregularly, be hard or flat and weakly palpable, and sometimes it can hardly be felt, if at all. Depending on the severity of the heart damage, shortness of breath, disorientation, dizziness, and temporary speech and vision disorders are possible. Very severe cardiac arrhythmias can lead to loss of consciousness or even death.

An overview of the symptoms of cardiac arrhythmias

    • slow, fast, or stumbling heartbeat (palpitations, palpitations)
    • Stopping the heartbeat (palpable pause in beat)
    • Feeling the heartbeat – sometimes up to the throat (palpitations)
    • Pulse changes (racing, slow, hard, soft, weak, or barely noticeable)
    • Heart pain, chest tightness (angina pectoris)
    • temporary speech and vision disorders
    • Difficulty breathing, disorientation, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion
    • Seizure, collapse, loss of consciousness.

Complications from cardiac arrhythmias

Arrhythmias can lead to dangerous complications. Vascular occlusions (embolisms), heart attacks, strokes, increasing heart failure or sudden cardiac death are particularly feared.

Causes

The cause of an arrhythmia can be in the heart itself or it can be a disease outside the heart. For example, febrile infectious diseases are often accompanied by a heartbeat that is too fast. An underactive thyroid usually causes a slow heartbeat.

Furthermore, electrolyte deficiencies (such as potassium deficiency or calcium deficiency) or an excess of minerals (such as potassium excess) can trigger cardiac arrhythmias of all kinds. For some people, eating 6 bananas is enough to cause cardiac arrhythmias. Because bananas contain a lot of potassium.

There are also congenital disorders of the cardiac excitation or everyday situations that change the heart rhythm (for example excessive alcohol or coffee consumption). Heart diseases that cause irregular heartbeat include:

Other diseases that can cause irregular heartbeat to include:

    • Coronary heart disease (CHD)
    • Heart attack
    • Heart muscle diseases (called cardiomyopathies)
    • Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis or endocarditis)
    • Heart or heart valve defects (such as aortic stenosis or mitral valve regurgitation)
    • congenital or acquired disorders of the cardiac excitation (for example Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, WPW syndrome for short).
    • high blood pressure
    • low blood pressure
    • Thyroid dysfunction (such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism)
    • Electrolyte imbalances such as potassium deficiency
    • febrile infectious diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella
    • severe bloating (meteorism)

Hypersensitive carotid sinus in carotid sinus syndrome. The carotid sinus is a receptor on the main artery in the neck that can be irritated by pressure (for example when shaving, by a tight scarf or collar, or when the head is overstretched). As a result, the heartbeat slows down so much that the person affected sometimes passes out.

The following situations can trigger cardiac arrhythmias:

    • Fear, anger, nervousness
    • emotional stress and physical strain
    • excessive consumption of caffeine or teine ​​(coffee, tea, or cola)
    • excessive alcohol consumption
    • Smoke
    • Use of drugs or other poisons
    • Taking medication (e.g. side effects of thyroid hormones or antidepressants).

Examination

The typical complaints and previous or concomitant illnesses point the doctor to the diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmia. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will listen to your heart and measure your pulse, followed by a resting electrocardiogram (resting ECG) and, if necessary, a stress ECG. As a rule, these examinations are sufficient to determine cardiac arrhythmias.

Treatment

The doctor decides on an individual basis whether a cardiac arrhythmia needs treatment at all. Sometimes cardiac arrhythmias do not require treatment. Otherwise, the therapy depends on the type and cause of the cardiac arrhythmia. If illnesses are responsible for the disturbed heartbeat sequence, these must first be treated. There are many treatment approaches for cardiac arrhythmias themselves.

Drug Therapy For Cardiac Arrhythmias

Drugs for arrhythmias are called antiarrhythmics. Active ingredients from the following groups are used to treat cardiac arrhythmias with drugs:

    • Class I antiarrhythmics: sodium channel blockers such as ajmaline or quinidine
    • Class II antiarrhythmics: beta-blockers, e.g. bisoprolol, nebivolol, or metoprolol
    • Class III antiarrhythmics: potassium channel blockers, e.g. amiodarone, dronedarone or sotalol
    • Class IV antiarrhythmics: calcium antagonists, such as diltiazem and verapamil.

Other antiarrhythmics are:

    • Adenosine (is often used for the acute therapy of cardiac arrhythmias of the AV node)
    • Digitalis glycosides (strengthen the heart muscles, typical representatives are digoxin and digitoxin)
    • Parasympatholytics (such as atropine and ipratropium bromide)
    • Sympathomimetics (such as adrenaline and noradrenaline)
    • If channel inhibitors (a new group of active substances with the only representative so far ivabradine)

Cardioversion To Restore Normal Heart Rhythm

Cardioversion is designed to restore the heart’s normal sinus rhythm. This rhythmization is mainly used as an emergency treatment for ventricular flutter, ventricular fibrillation, and supraventricular or ventricular tachycardias. Cardioversion can be medicated or electrically (with the help of a defibrillator or cardiac shock). A strong current surge interrupts the electrical activity of the heart. This time-out allows the sinus node to resume its function and then rhythmically pace the heartbeat.

Ablation In Cardiac Arrhythmias

In the case of cardiac arrhythmias such as WPW syndrome, AV node reentry tachycardias or with certain ventricular tachycardias, high-frequency current ablation can be useful. The starting point of the cardiac arrhythmia or additional conduction pathways (as in the WPW syndrome) is obliterated by electricity via a cardiac catheter.

Pacemaker For Cardiac Arrhythmias

Sometimes a pacemaker (Pacer, Pacemaker) is implanted if the heartbeat is too slow. In the case of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, the use of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) may be necessary to prevent cardiac arrest.

The pacemaker works like a pulse generator. It monitors the heartbeat and gives electrical impulses to the heart if it beats too slowly. The cardioverter-defibrillator is slightly larger than the pacemaker and monitors the heart rhythm. Depending on the rhythm disturbance, electrical impulses are emitted and over-or under-stimulation corrected. If necessary, cardiac shock therapy is carried out: defibrillation.

Both devices are implanted under the collarbone during a minor surgical procedure. Electrodes connect the devices to the heart. If the heartbeat drops too much, the pacemaker steps in. An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is used, among other things, for atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation as well as for ventricular fibrillation.

How Does A Corona Test Actually Work?

Who will determine if I need to be tested? Where can I get tested? How does the corona test work? And how meaningful are the results? Under what conditions are testing at all?

For the official test for infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, two conditions must generally be met. On the one hand, there must be symptoms (from a mild cold to signs of pneumonia) that justify the suspicion of an infection. On the other hand, there must have been contact with a verifiably infected person within 14 days of the onset of symptoms.

Tests are also possible in people with previous illnesses (see also risk groups: Who is most at risk from COVID-19?) Or if respiratory problems (and/or fever) worsen. The decision about this is ultimately made by the attending physician.

It is also possible to test who comes into contact, professionally or on a voluntary basis, with people who are at high risk of a serious disease course with COVID-19.

Until recently, the combination of cold symptoms and staying in an official corona risk area was considered a sufficient requirement for the test. Since April 10th, however, the Robert Koch Institute has no longer identified any risk areas due to the worldwide spread of SARS-CoV-2. The RKI recommends that returnees to Germany go into voluntary quarantine for 14 days.

Where can I do a corona test?

Official corona tests are mainly done in hospitals or specially set up test centers. Sometimes doctors in private practice also offer the corona test. Health authorities also carry out the test on-site, especially for the elderly and/or people with restricted mobility.

If you suspect a corona infection, you should not go to the doctor, but first, inquire by phone. Nationwide, you can call the medical on-call service. The employees can best explain to you how the corona test organization is regulated in your place of residence.

How Does A Corona Test Actually Work

What is done with the corona test to detect SARS-CoV-2?

In the corona test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, a swab is taken from the mouth, nose, and throat with a cotton swab. Occasionally sputum is saved as a sample.

These samples are then examined in a laboratory. In the meantime (April 10th) these samples can also be evaluated in many hospitals.

How are the coronaviruses detected in the smear?

The common corona test is a so-called PCR test. PCR stands for a polymerase chain reaction, i.e. polymerase chain reaction. PCR tests are considered to be the safest method for detecting viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Polymerases are very specific proteins that are involved in the construction of the genetic code, DNA. The test can detect even the tiniest amounts of the Coronavirus genetic material.

How safe is the result of the corona test procedure?

The test results are not entirely certain. There can be both false positives and false negatives. Therefore, a first positive test is checked by a second test.

False-negative results are usually checked if the symptoms or the circumstances of possible infection (return from severely affected countries, contact with sick people, or high-risk groups) give a cause.

Sometimes samples are taken incorrectly, damaged during transport, or incorrectly processed in the laboratory.

Are corona rapid tests from the Internet recommended?

The corona rapid tests, which are mainly offered on the Internet, are generally not a PCR test for the detection of viral genetic material, but rather tests that are intended to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the blood. Reliable antibody tests play a major role in the therapy of corona because they demonstrate immunity to SARS-CoV-2.

For private use, corona antibody rapid tests from the Internet are not a recommended alternative.

The rapid tests available to date are not fully developed and very likely often give false results – false positive as well as a false negative. Such test results are worthless and do not provide any security. In addition, one can assume that by no means all of the corona rapid tests offered on the Internet come from reputable providers.

How Dangerous Is Covid-19 For Children?

How Dangerous Is Covid-19 For Children?. According to the Robert Koch Institute, corona infections in children are mostly mild or unnoticed. At the same time, however, the experts agree that there is so far too little data to make a scientifically tenable statement about the COVID-19 risk in children. The reason for this is simple: Parents understandably do not bring their children to the doctor or hospital if things go slightly or unnoticed. Therefore, children are rarely tested. The proportion of patients who tested positive has so far been around 2 percent for children and adolescents and 6 percent for young adults up to the age of 20 (see sources, section 2). However, it is not currently possible to say with certainty whether this corresponds to the actual prevalence.

More frequent severe courses in children with previous illnesses

So it is currently not possible to answer with final certainty whether COVID-19 is actually almost always mild in children. But there is much to be said for it. Nevertheless, there are also difficult courses for children. According to the RKI, infants and toddlers are treated as inpatients for COVID-19 more often than other children and adolescents. Children with pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular diseases or diabetes make up around a quarter of the children admitted to the hospital and half of all children who had to be treated in an intensive care unit because of COVID-19. According to the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (22), there was only one death associated with COVID-19 in this patient group in Germany until May 18.

Why is COVID-19 often symptom-free or mild in children?

This question cannot be answered at the moment, as the relevant research has not yet been possible. Experts suspect that the child’s immune system, which is not fully developed, enables a broader non-specific defense system than the “ready-made” immune system of adults. Another possibility would be that the child’s cells offer the virus fewer docking options because the corresponding binding sites (receptors) for the virus are not yet developed or are less strongly developed in the child’s cells.

Are children infected more easily than adults?

According to the current state of research, it looks like children are actually less likely to become infected with Sars-CoV-2 than adults. As with many other questions about corona infections, this question cannot currently be answered conclusively.

According to the RKI, studies come to very different results. In the majority of studies, however, the infection rate in children is significantly lower than that of adults. A study from China puts the infection rate in children under 15 years of age at a third of the risk for people between the ages of 15 and 64. The study “Changes in contact patterns shape the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak in China” was published by Science at the end of April.

How Dangerous Is Covid-19 For Children

How contagious are children to other children or adults?

The study situation is currently not clear on this question either. Germany’s leading virologist Christian Drosten published an evaluation of the laboratory tests at the Berline Charité at the end of April. According to this, the viral load of infected children is essentially as great as that of adults. Therefore, it could be possible that children are just as contagious as adults, Drosten concludes. At the same time, he admits that the number of children recorded in this analysis is very small. In his podcast, Drosten says “You should actually have ten times as many children, but we don’t have that many”.

Study in Baden-Württemberg: Children are not drivers of infections

The state of Baden-Württemberg had 2,500 children aged up to 10 years and one parent each tested for corona infections and antibodies. The complete results of this investigation by the university hospitals in Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Tübingen are not yet available. According to the state government, however, the interim results show that children are significantly less contagious and infectious than adults. The difference is significant, said Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) during a press conference on May 26th. And further: “We can rule out that children are drivers of the infection process”. These are reliable interim results with a stable trend “.

Professional societies: Children do not play a prominent role in the spread

In their joint statement “Children and adolescents in the COVID-19 pandemic”, 4 medical societies had previously assessed the study situation. They come to the conclusion that the risk of infection in children is significantly lower than that of adults. Accordingly, children do not play a prominent role in the spread of COVID-19. Rather, the infection in the family usually occurs through infected adults.

Do parents need to be concerned about the number of cases of Atypical Kawasaki Syndrome?

In the past few weeks, reports of severe inflammation in children with COVID-19 have created great concern among many parents. Accordingly, especially in the USA, Italy, Spain, France, and Switzerland, a noticeable number of children showed severe symptoms that resemble Kawasaki syndrome.

The German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) and the German Society for Pediatric Cardiology and Congenital Heart Defects (DGPK) point out in a joint statement that the reported cases do not always correspond to the typical clinical picture of Kawasaki syndrome. Therefore, in their opinion, the experts speak of an excessive inflammatory reaction with inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis). Such hyper inflammation syndromes were already well known before COVID-19. There is currently no evidence that infections with Sars-CoV-2 are the trigger for the corresponding symptoms.

At the same time, the experts point out that hyper inflammation syndromes can be treated “very well with cortisone or other immunosuppressants and immunoglobulins”. Therefore, there is no reason for parents to be concerned about the number of cases of atypical Kawasaki syndrome.

New evidence of a lower risk of infection for and by children

Update from June 17th

The University Hospitals of Freiburg, Heidelberg, Tübingen, and Ulm have now presented the first results of the study commissioned by the State of Baden-Württemberg on the risk of infection in children. According to the medical director of the children’s clinic at Ulm University Hospital, children are not to be seen as drivers of the wave of corona infections. However, the cause is still unknown, said Klaus-Michael Debatin on June 16 at a press conference. It may be because children have fewer binding sites (ACE receptors) to which the virus can dock. But it is also possible that the child’s immune system successfully combats SARS-CoV-2 in the nasopharynx.

For the study, the doctors tested around 2,500 children under 10 years of age and one parent each for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 antibodies from April 22 to May 15. Of the 5,000 participants, only one parent-child pair was infected during the survey period. Antibodies could be detected in 64 people – 45 adults and 19 children.

Low number of infections in the families studied

The scientists summarize: “The preliminary analysis of the study shows that the most important results are that only a small number of infections occurred in the families examined and that children apparently not only contract COVID-19 less, which has been known for a long time, but also less often be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. ”

The scientists point out that they could make statements about whether children infected their parents or parents infected their children. The study also did not examine how infectious children are in principle. Like many other studies in connection with Corona, the study has not yet been reviewed by experts.

Symptoms And Course Of Covid-19 Pneumonia

Symptoms of atypical pneumonia tend to develop slowly

Infections with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 are so dangerous because they cause atypical pneumonia in up to 20 percent of cases. Doctors call this form of pneumonia atypical because it is not – as is usually the case – caused by an infection with bacteria. Pneumonia caused by bacteria is known as typical pneumonia. The most common culprits are bacteria such as pneumococci and Haemophilus influenza B (HiB).

Atypical pneumonia such as COVID-19 usually develops more slowly than typical pneumonia. In COVID-19 pneumonia, both lungs are usually affected. As a result of the infection, the lungs swell, and fluid collects. The cause: In the fight against viruses, defense cells of the body’s immune system (lymphocytes) produce certain proteins (cytokines) that trigger an inflammatory reaction in the lung tissue. Fluid flows into the alveoli. The combination of inflamed cells and fluid entry into the vesicles means that less oxygen enters the blood. At the same time, less used carbon dioxide is released from the blood through the lungs and breath. Shortness of breath, paleness, and other symptoms are the result. If this process continues untreated, it leads to a slow and excruciating death from suffocation.

Course Of Covid-19 Pneumonia

Sepsis As A Life-Threatening Complication Of Covid-19

A life-threatening complication of COVID-19 pneumonia is sepsis, which is also known colloquially as blood poisoning. Sepsis is a very dangerous condition. In the course of blood poisoning, more and more vital organs fail. Such multi-organ failure is fatal if left untreated. Even with maximum intensive care medicine, around 40 percent of those affected do not survive sepsis.

Lung Damage Possibly Even After A Mild Course

Mild infections with SARS-CoV-2 may also cause permanent lung damage. A small study by the Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong is often quoted in the media, in which the lung capacity of the patients was restricted after healing and the lungs were damaged – possibly by lung fibroids. So far, however, it is not clear whether the lung function impairments were caused by COVID-19 pneumonia or, for example, did not exist before the corona infection.

Lose Weight Healthily Without Dieting

Healthy weight loss is easier than most people think. A change in diet works best when the food is enjoyable, tasty, and full. Diets can almost never achieve this: They also increase the yo-yo effect and also harbor health risks. Read how to lose weight healthily without dieting. Healthy weight loss is only possible through a change in diet that must be suitable for everyday use, fill you up, and taste delicious. Then healthy weight loss is much easier.

3 tips to make the change in diet work

The sun is laughing. Or vacation is approaching. Suddenly, when you look in the mirror, the pillows catch your eye even more. Before the bikini season starts, millions of Germans think: Get rid of a few pounds quickly! It is possible. But how? In fact, there are sensible and less sensible or even harmful diets. With a few very simple considerations, you can tell the difference between sensible nutrition programs and diets that are better to be cautious about.

Sensible diets can be implemented easily and sustainably

The first and fundamental tip for healthy weight loss, just asks yourself if you can and want to stick to the diet of your choice for the rest of your life. At this point, it quickly becomes clear that you don’t want to eat pineapple or cabbage soup all the time for the next few years. If you’ve been on a one-sided diet of any kind for 1, 2, or 4 weeks, you are probably a few pounds lighter. But with the return of normal, accustomed eating habits, they are back on just as quickly. You also run the risk of deficiency symptoms. In addition, diets accelerate the yo-yo effect.

Appropriate diets are inexpensive

You can confidently cross off the list of healthy and sustainable diets that involve extra spending on powders or tablets. Whether formula diets, alkaline fasting with food supplements, or HCG diet with homeopathic medicines: none of these diets is suitable for a long-term change in diet. In the long run, such diets are simply too expensive for most people. The manufacturers themselves recommend using their formula diets only for a limited period of a few weeks.

Lose Weight Healthily Without Dieting

Healthy weight loss doesn’t need any light products

Don’t get chained to a particular diet system. Weight Watchers and Ko. The main focus is not on your health, but on your money. An indication of this: the expensive and irrelevant light products in the food retail sector. Contrary to what was promised, these are usually no real help in losing weight. According to the Health Claims Regulation, they contain 30 percent less fat or sugar. Nutrition experts point out, however, that light products tempt you to simply eat more of them than you would with a normal product. Light products that contain sugar substitutes even carry the risk of allergic reactions and digestive problems such as diarrhea or flatulence.

The Risks of Dieting

The most well-known risk of dieting, whatever its form, is the yo-yo effect. The pounds are back after the diet faster than you would like to believe. This not only has to do with the fact that we return to our usual eating habits after a diet. And thus to the behavior that has made us fat over the years. More and more studies are providing evidence that short- and medium-term diets change metabolism significantly. As a result, the basal metabolic rate, i.e. the calorie requirement that the organism needs for our vital functions, falls – and this permanently. Diets promote the yo-yo effect.

Deficiency symptoms due to diets

In healthy people who want to lose a few pounds in a limited period of one or two weeks, deficiency symptoms from the diet are not to be expected. The situation is different if one-sided forms of nutrition are used over many weeks or even months. Then mineral deficiencies or vitamin deficiency diseases are not uncommon. Typical indications of such illnesses are tiredness, skin changes, headache, or dizziness. Brittle nails can indicate an iron deficiency, muscle cramps indicate a magnesium deficiency. Zinc deficiency often leads to hair loss, but also to depression or impotence.

From diet to eating disorder

Not infrequently, diets even lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. This is especially true for girls and young women, but increasingly also for boys. Girls and boys alike have one main reason for dieting: unrealistic role models that are shaped by advertising and TV formats. In a study by the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television in cooperation with the Federal Eating Disorders Association, a third of the girls with eating disorders surveyed stated that the model shows Germany’s Next Top Model had played a very important role in their way into bulimia and anorexia. Another third speaks of slight influences of the program on the development and course of the eating disorder.

Book tip: eat full and lose weight

No more diets, no more yo-yo effect. The Munich nutritionist Volker Schusdziarra and the nutritionist Margit Hausmann with the program “Eat and lose weight”. Lose weight healthily without dieting – and still eat full with pleasure? It does not work? Go then! This is shown by Professor Dr. Volker Schusdziarra and the nutritionist Margit Hausmann with their sustainable nutrition program “eat enough and lose weight”. It puts an end to diet frustration: With this nutritional program, you are in charge, not the diet. It’s about your needs. And about ensuring that you feel comfortable with your diet over the long term. Eating is part of the quality of life. With “eat enough and lose weight” you can enjoy this quality of life with a clear conscience – and do a lot for your health in the process.

Living With A Healthy Heart

Living With A Healthy Heart – Heart Failure, Infarction, Stroke

With a healthy heart, you open the horizon for a life without a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. The best thing to do is to start right away. Cardiovascular diseases are by far the most common cause of death in Germany. More than 200,000 women and men die as a result of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure alone. Many – some experts say almost all – of these people could still be alive if they had taken a little precaution – by living with a healthy heart. It’s a lot easier than most people think.

More Than 200,000 Heart Deaths Per Year

Before we get to the precautionary recommendations, a few more depressing figures about the current state of German heart health. 300,000 Germans experience a heart attack every year – around 60,000 women and men do not survive it. 270,000 suffer a stroke – around 100,000 of them die within the first year. And 70 percent of the survivors remain disabled in the long term – many of them are dependent on a nursing home. In addition, around 50,000 Germans die every year as a result of cardiac insufficiency (in almost 600,000 cases). Many cardiovascular diseases are preventable About 90 percent of all heart attacks are preventable, writes Dr. Norbert Smetak, the chairman of the Federal Association of Resident Cardiologists on the website for the German World Heart Day (September 29, 2015). He would like people to take more responsibility for their health and take advantage of the opportunities provided by prevention.

Live With A Healthy Heart

To live with a healthy heart – to some people that sounds a lot like asceticism and exertion. It is relatively easy to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. The focus is on exercise, nutrition, the conscious use of luxury foods, and regular medical checks. Movement keeps the heart fit No matter what age and no matter what medical history: Our body is designed so that we can move. The movement clearly activates the body’s self-healing powers. Movement is essential for targeted preventive care – and it even speeds up healing after serious illnesses. While exercise cannot heal a seriously ill heart, it does improve the prospects for longer life. Privatdozent Dr. med. Friedhelm Späh told the German Heart Foundation: “Regular physical activity leads to a considerable decrease in mortality, especially for people over 65.” It also improves the quality of life in many ways. Nobody needs to do sports to strengthen their heart and circulation. Just 20 minutes of exercise in the fresh air a day can help you live a healthy life, whether it’s a walk, a short bike ride, or a few laps in the swimming pool.

Living With A Healthy Heart

Pay Attention To The Diet

Regularly fresh fruit and vegetables not only enrich the menu, they also taste good and, with their vitamins and trace elements, promote heart health and the immune system. A sedentary lifestyle and obesity are the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. Living with a healthy heart means avoiding or reducing excess weight. Strict diets do not help. As a rule, they only lead to the yo-yo effect. What you lose in months with great abstinence is usually back on in a few weeks after the diet. Sustainable weight loss is especially successful if you change your diet so that you like to eat this way over the long term. A low-calorie mixed diet with lots of fresh regional and seasonal foods, preferably fruit and vegetables, is ideal. Even low-fat meat is not taboo – just in moderation. Whole grain products are a useful addition to the fresh menu. They make you feel full in the long term – and through dietary fiber and trace elements, they promote digestion as well as the metabolism and the immune system.

Check-Up Every Two Years

If you exercise enough, eat a healthy diet, and are of normal weight, the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or high blood pressure is dramatically reduced. If you now have your family doctor checked you up every two years, the chances of a long, heart-healthy life are particularly good. Men and women from the age of 35 are also entitled to a check-up every 2 years with statutory health insurance. Among other things, you should have your blood lipid levels checked. Because elevated cholesterol levels can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The main concern is atherosclerosis, which leads to constricted or brittle blood vessels. Do not postpone a visit to the doctor in the event of acute symptoms A heart-healthy life also includes going to the doctor in the event of heart or circulatory problems without a clearly identifiable or known cause.

Typical signs of cardiovascular disease are, for example:

    • Pulse irregularities with no apparent cause
    • recurring pain in the heart area
    • unusual spells of dizziness
    • inexplicable inefficiency
    • decreased resilience
    • pronounced fatigue
    • shortness of breath
    • increased sweating
    • swollen legs
    • severe weight gain for no explainable cause

The heart benefits from serenity – you too!

“This is dear to my heart” or “It breaks my heart” – we call the heart the seat of our feelings. Even if this is not anatomically correct (feelings arise through mental evaluations in the brain), these sentences show an important connection. Our heart is very sensitive to stress. No wonder: stress is a defense reaction that puts the body in a state of alarm. We drive at full throttle, so to speak – and even the best engine cannot withstand that in the long run. The most pleasant side of a healthy-hearted life looks like this: Let your legs – and your soul – dangle more often. Just do what you enjoy doing. So that you can enjoy your heart-healthy life to the full for a long time. And as at the beginning of this article, something that you have known for a long time with some certainty: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is harmful to the heart and health. Not that we are accused of forgetting.