What is Cardiology?
Cardiology is the science that deals with the study, diagnosis and treatment of the heart, in normal or pathological conditions. This branch of medicine treats acquired or congenital cardiovascular diseases, pathologies and disorders affecting the arteries.
The doctor specializing in cardiology is the cardiologist. The cardiologist, unlike the cardiac surgeon, does not intervene surgically to resolve pathologies in the operating room.
Symptoms of Heart Disorders
Most people with heart disease have chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations – slow, fast or irregular heartbeats – dizziness, fainting, sudden loss of consciousness (syncope), swelling of the legs , ankles and feet.
However, these symptoms do not always necessarily indicate the presence of heart disease.
A few examples: Chest pain may be the wake-up call for respiratory or digestive disease rather than being associated with heart disease. Wheezing (dyspnea) is often attributed to respiratory disease. Fatigue can be caused by a wide range of illnesses.
- Disorders that affect the heart or blood vessels are called cardiovascular diseases.
Among these are peripheral vasculopathies.
- People with peripheral vascular disease complain of pain in one limb (usually a leg), muscle cramps, muscle fatigue, dizziness, swelling, and numbness.
However, even these symptoms do not necessarily indicate the presence of vascular disease. For example, muscle cramps and muscle fatigue may be due to a disorder of the musculoskeletal system or the nervous system.
What are the most common cardiovascular diseases?
Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in Europe, representing 45% of general mortality (data from the Istituto Superiore Sanità). These diseases have a heavy impact on people’s life expectancy, on the quality of life of patients and on the use of healthcare resources.
The most frequent are those of atherosclerotic origin, in particular ischemic heart disease, including acute myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, arrhythmias and cerebrovascular disease, including ischemic stroke. and hemorrhagic.
Acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) refers to the process of cell death that affects the myocardium, i.e. the heart muscle, following the occlusion of a coronary artery or one of its branches. .
In most cases, the occlusion is due to the presence of an atherosclerotic plaque.
The plaque therefore becomes an obstacle that blocks blood circulation: a heart attack occurs when the blood is unable to reach and supply certain parts of the heart. The symptom of heart attack is chest pain that persists and does not lessen with rest or with the administration of nitroglycerin under the tongue.
The pain, usually described as something as oppressive as a bite, can be localized in the center of the chest (behind the sternum) or more widespread across the chest forward.
It can radiate to the shoulders or arms, to the neck, back or upper abdomen.
Angina pectoris (“chest pain”) is caused by a sudden reduction in the blood supply to the heart, or part of it.
It occurs when the presence of a narrowing of the coronary arteries (stenosis) does not allow the regular flow of blood in certain circumstances during which the need for nutrition and oxygenation of the myocardium is greater, such as during an effort. physical.
Angina pectoris appears with intense pain in the chest, for at least 15/20 minutes. It occurs when the person is stressed, when the heart rate and blood pressure increase. The angina attack can be interrupted by rest by administering nitroglycerin under the tongue.
- Heart Failure When the heart is no longer able to pump blood throughout the body adequately to meet the body’s needs, heart failure is imminent.
- Not always easily evident, in fact, in the early stage the disease may be asymptomatic.
- Heart failure is often the final evolution common to many heart diseases: myocardial infarction, arterial hypertension, cardiomyopathy, valvulopathy, congenital heart disease.
When the first symptoms of decompensation appear, you may feel tired, weak or have difficulty breathing, especially after physical exertion or when lying down. Heart failure is a chronic developmental disease that can be treated. Just follow a few precautions: no to tobacco and alcohol; keep blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar values under control; follow you