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There are an array of heart diseases but they do share some common symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is perhaps a good idea to get yourself tested. Check these out here:

  1. Angina or chest pain described as heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing, or painful feeling in your chest.It is often accompanied by pain in the n the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Easy fatiguability
  4. Palpitation and rapid heartbeat
  5. Weakness/dizziness
  6. Sweating
  7. Nausea and vomiting
  8. Swelling in the lower extremities
  9. Fainting(syncope)
  10. Coughing and wheezing

For continuous circulation, the left and the right side of the heart must work together. Here are the series of steps that causes the blood to flow in the heart, lungs and body.

  • The right atria receives deoxygenated blood from two large veins- the superior and inferior venacava.
  • When the atria contracts and the blood passes from the right atrium to the right ventricle through the tricuspid valve.
  • When the ventricle fills, the tricuspid valve closes.
  • Next, the ventricle contracts and pushes blood to the pulmonary artery through the pulmonary valve.
  • The pulmonary artery carries the blood to the lungs where the blood gets oxygenated.
  • This oxygenated blood enters the left atria of the heart through the pulmonary vein.
  • Next, the left atria contracts and the blood flows from left atrium into your left ventricle through the open mitral valve.
  • When the ventricle is full, the mitral valve shuts,
  • Next, the ventricle contracts and oxygenated blood is passed to the aorta through which it is sent to various parts of the body.

Life is precious and to live life to the fullest, one should pay a little attention to his/her health- physical and mental. So, what do we do to be healthy- eat right and exercise, isn’t it? Actually, that isn’t it, though diet and exercise are very important for fitness but there is many more measures that we should take to keep ourselves healthy in and out. So, let us understand them one by one:

1. Let food be the medicine:

Ensuring that what goes inside your body is right- is the best thing you could do for your body. For a healthy heart, a 2000 calorie diet is recommended. Keep these points in mind:

  1. Eat at least 4.5 cups of vegetables and fruits a day
  2. At least two 3.5 oz. servings of fish per week, preferably oily fish
  3. At least three 1-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains per day
  4. Limit sodium intake to less than 1,500 milligrams a day
  5. Don’t drink more than 36 ounces/week of sweetened beverages

2. Let exercise be a part of your daily life:

All of us should spare atleast 30 minutes each day for exercise. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean you should hit the gym, it means you need to keep your body moving- do brisk walk in the park, do yoga, or the best option would be, switch on your favorite music and groove on the beats.

3. Explore ways to be more physically active:

In addition to exercises, inculcating physical activity in your daily routine like using stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car further and walking down to office, using a manual bike to go to office, or having standing desks to work on.

4. Be a weightwatcher:

Obesity is a killer. You need to keep your weight in check. The best way to find out if your weight is just right is to measure the body mass index.The BMI calculation is very easy, divide your weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared. If your BMI is:

  1. below 18.5 – you’re in the underweight range
  2. between 18.5 and 24.9 – you’re in the healthy weight range
  3. between 25 and 29.9 – you’re in the overweight range
  4. between 30 and 39.9 – you’re in the obese range

5. Check your health numbers:

Go for regular health checks. Remember these numbers:

  1. Blood pressure < 120/80
  2. Fasting blood sugar< 100 mg/dL
  3. Total cholesterol < 200 mg/dL

6. Smoking:

Smoking is one of the chief risk factors for not only heart disease but also deadly cancers, lung diseases and chronic disorders like high blood pressure. Quitting smoking is one of the best gift that you could give your body today.

7. Switch off your stress mode:

People with stress and mental illnesses like depression are at greater risk of heart diseases. Have a good social life, spend time with friends and family, explore new places, give some time to your hobbies and interests- do anything that relaxes you. A relaxed mind and body makes you a more productive person and helps you stay healthy.

8. Laugh your way to health:

Research suggests laughing lowers stress hormones, decreases inflammation in your arteries, and raises good cholesterol levels.

The tests that are recommended for a patient depends upon what the doctor thinks that the patient has. Before sending you for testing, your doctor would take your detailed health history and examine your body thoroughly. Based on the suspicion, your doctor may refer to one or more tests.

Investigations not only help to detect a disease, they also help to check for presence of possible disease complications and to find out how is the treatment affecting your health.

Blood tests:

  1. Complete blood count (CBC): A complete blood count helps to detect infection, anaemia and other blood disorders. Anaemia is a common finding in heart failure, plus it also contributes to worsening of heart failure. A low platelet count may be caused by medications such as diuretics or heparin.
  2. Cardiac troponins (cTn1, cTnT, high sensitivity troponins): It is an important biomarker present in the blood which is very useful for the detection and prognosis of acute myocardial infarction. Cardiac troponins may also be high in other heart related conditions like acute myocarditis, coronary vasospasm and non-cardiac conditions (e.g. sepsis, chronic kidney disease).
  3. Electrolytes, urea and creatinine: Levels of these help to find out your kidney function. Abnormal levels of electrolytes like potassium can increase the risk of arrhythmias Low levels of sodium is very common in heart failure. High levels of urea and creatinine indicate kidney failure which could be a possible complication of heart disease or its medications.
  4. Liver function tests: Certain drugs such as statins and amiodarone, which are commonly prescribed for patient with heart disease, can trigger liver failure. Liver failure could also be a consequence of heart failure.
  5. Thyroid function test: Medication for heart disease like amiodarone may cause hyper or hypo thyroidism. Altered thyroid hormone can also cause heart dysfunction.
  6. Brain Natriuretic Peptides (BNP or N-terminal pro BNP): BNP is a useful tool to differentiate between cardiac and non-cardiac causes of shortness of breath especially when echocardiography is not available. High levels of BNP and N terminal pro BNP is associated with increased severity of heart disease and greater risk of hospitalisation.


This test detects and records the electrical activity of the heart. This is a simple, non-invasive test which is very useful to determine abnormalities in the heart rate, rhythm and to identify risk of damaged heart muscle or other structural changes in the heart. This test detects the presence of arrhythmias and coronary artery disease.

Exercise stress testing:

Exercise makes your heart work harder. Exercise stress testing is done either on a treadmill or cycle ergometry with the patient connected to an ECG. Exercise stress testing may identify myocardial ischaemia, haemodynamic/ electrical instability, or other exertion-related signs or symptoms. When an individual is not able to exercise, medications are given to stress the heart and the response is evaluated.

Chest X-ray:

Chest X ray is very useful to differentiate whether shortness of breath is due to a respiratory disease or heart disease. It can also help in detecting complications of heart failure

such as cardiomegaly, interstitial oedema, pulmonary oedema and pleural effusions.

Coronary angiography:

Coronary angiography is useful to determine the health of the coronary arteries. In this test, a catheter is inserted into the coronary arteries and a dye is injected to produce clear X ray images of the coronary arteries. This helps to find out the presence, location and extent of vessel narrowing. The results also help to decide what type of treatment would be most appropriate.


This test gives an ultrasound image of the heart. Echocardiography can provide information about the size and shape of heart chambers, blood flow velocities, heart muscle function when they contract and relax, abnormalities of the movement of the heart wall, valve function, and presence of thrombus (blood clot) in the heart.

Stress echocardiography helps in detecting decreased blood flow to heart during exertion. In this test, echocardiography is done immediately post stress. The stress can be exercise or induced by medications.

Myocardial perfusion scanning (MPS):

MPS is a non-invasive test which helps to determine how well blood flows through your heart muscles. In this test, a small amount of a radioactive substance is injected into the blood. The test evaluates the severity of coronary artery disease and provides guidance regarding the need for invasive procedures like angiography or coronary artery revascularisation.

Cardiac Computerised Tomography (CT):

Cardiac CT provides detailed images of the heart. This helps to identify structural abnormalities in the heart and blood vessels such as aneurysms, valve dysfunction and damage to the pulmonary vasculature. Cardiac CT also provides information about patency of grafts following coronary artery bypass graft.

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI):

Cardiac MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radiofrequency to provide detailed 3D images of the heart and surrounding structures. The image provides accurate information about cardiac volumes, muscle mass, contractility, and how efficiently the heart is pumping. Like cardiac CT, cardiac MRI also helps to provide information about patency of grafts following coronary artery bypass graft.



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