Cardiology FAQs for Allied Health Professionals: Understanding Heart Health and Disease

Question and Answers in Cardiology

Commonly asked Questions in Cardiology:

Here are some commonly asked questions in the subject of cardiology by students getting trained in allied health sciences. There are many more topics to explore. If you have any specific questions or need more detailed explanations, feel free to ask!

1. What is a heart attack?
   - A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked for a long enough time that part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies.

2. What are the risk factors for heart disease?
   - Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, family history, and age.

3. What is hypertension?
   - Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. It can lead to various cardiovascular problems if not controlled.

4. How is hypertension treated?
   - Treatment typically involves lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, weight loss) and medications to lower blood pressure.

What is Echocardiography? Explained in Urdu/Hindi:

5. What is cholesterol?
   - Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. It can be both good (HDL) and bad (LDL). High levels of LDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.

6. What causes arrhythmias?
   - Arrhythmias can be caused by heart disease, electrolyte imbalances, medications, stress, and other factors.

7. What is atrial fibrillation?
   - Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase the risk of stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related complications.

8. What is heart failure?
   - Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. It does not mean that the heart has stopped working.

9. What are the symptoms of heart failure?
   - Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the legs, ankles, or abdomen, rapid or irregular heartbeat, persistent coughing or wheezing, and increased need to urinate at night.

10. What is a stroke?
    - A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. This can cause brain cells to die.

11. How is a stroke diagnosed?
    - A stroke is typically diagnosed through physical examination, imaging tests (such as CT or MRI scans), and blood tests.

Heart Pumping Blood:

The heart, a remarkable organ central to the circulatory system, pumps blood throughout the body in a continuous cycle of contraction and relaxation. Comprising four chambers—two atria and two ventricles—the heart orchestrates the flow of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood with precision. Deoxygenated blood returns to the heart via the vena cavae, enters the right atrium, passes through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle, and is then pumped to the lungs for oxygenation via the pulmonary artery. Meanwhile, oxygenated blood returns from the lungs to the left atrium through the pulmonary veins, passes through the mitral valve into the left ventricle, and is pumped out through the aortic valve into the aorta, supplying the body's tissues and organs. This rhythmic process, regulated by the heart's electrical system and safeguarded by its valves, ensures the delivery of vital nutrients and oxygen while removing metabolic waste, sustaining life and maintaining optimal health.

Watch this video to get an idea of blood circulation and clot moving to brain causing Stroke:

12. What is peripheral artery disease (PAD)?
    - Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs, usually the legs.

13. What are the symptoms of PAD?
    - Symptoms may include leg pain or cramping (intermittent claudication) during physical activity, numbness or weakness in the legs, coldness in the lower leg or foot, and sores on the legs or feet that won't heal.

14. How is PAD treated?
    - Treatment often involves lifestyle changes, medications to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications, and in severe cases, procedures or surgery to improve blood flow.

15. What is atherosclerosis?
    - Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty deposits called plaque build up inside your arteries, leading to restricted blood flow.

16. What causes a heart murmur?
    - Heart murmurs are caused by turbulent blood flow in the heart, which can be due to various factors such as valve problems, congenital heart defects, or conditions like anemia or hyperthyroidism.

17. What is angina?
    - Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood.

18. What are the different types of angina?
    - There are three main types: stable angina, unstable angina, and variant (Prinzmetal's) angina.

19. How is angina treated?
    - Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medications to relieve symptoms and prevent complications, and in some cases, procedures such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery.

20. What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?
    - Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It occurs when the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle become narrowed or blocked by plaque buildup.

21. What are the symptoms of CAD?
    - Symptoms may include chest pain or discomfort (angina), shortness of breath, pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed, and fatigue.

22. What is a stress test?
    - A stress test, also called an exercise stress test, helps a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. It involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike while your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and breathing are monitored.

23. What is a coronary angiography?
    - Coronary angiography is a procedure that uses dye and special x-rays to see how blood flows through the arteries in your heart.

24. What is a cardiac catheterization?
    - Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions. A long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm, groin, or neck and threaded to your heart.

25. What is a pacemaker?
    - A pacemaker is a small device that's placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms.

26. What is an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD)?
    - An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a device that monitors heart rhythm and delivers electrical shocks to restore normal heartbeats when necessary.

27. What is a cardiac arrest?
    - Cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness.

28. What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
    - Warning signs include chest discomfort or pain, upper body discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, lightheadedness.

29. What is cardiomyopathy?
    - Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body.

30. What is pericarditis?
    - Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac that surrounds your heart.

31. What is endocarditis?
    - Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and valves.

32. What is atherosclerosis?
    - Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries.

33. What is mitral valve prolapse?
    - Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the valve between your heart's left upper chamber (left atrium) and the left lower chamber (left ventricle) doesn't close properly.

34. What is aortic stenosis?
    - Aortic stenosis is a condition in which the aortic valve narrows, preventing it from opening fully and obstructing blood flow from your heart into your aorta and onward to the rest of your body.

35. What is pulmonary hypertension?
    - Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs and the right side of your heart.

36. What is an echocardiogram?
    - An echocardiogram is a noninvasive test that uses sound waves to produce images of your heart.

37. What is a Holter monitor?
    - A Holter monitor is a portable device that continuously records your heart's electrical activity (ECG) for 24 to 48 hours.

38. What is a myocardial biopsy?
    - A myocardial biopsy is a procedure in which a small piece of heart muscle tissue is removed and examined under a microscope to diagnose certain heart conditions.

39. What is heart valve surgery?
    - Heart valve surgery is a procedure to repair or replace damaged heart valves.

40. What is a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery?
    - CABG surgery is a procedure used to improve blood flow to the heart muscle by bypassing blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

41. What is an aneurysm?
    - An aneurysm is a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel caused by weakening of the vessel wall.

42. What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
    - Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein, usually in the legs.

43. What is a pulmonary embolism (PE)?
    - A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a blood clot gets lodged in an artery in the lung, blocking blood flow to part of the lung.

44. What is cardiac rehabilitation?
    - Cardiac rehabilitation is a supervised program designed to help people recover from heart attacks, heart surgery, and other heart-related conditions.

45. What is a heart transplant?
    - A heart transplant is a surgical procedure to remove a diseased or failing heart and replace it with a healthy donor heart.

46. What is congenital heart disease?
    - Congenital heart disease is a type of heart disease that is present at birth. It can involve structural defects, problems with blood flow, or both.

47. What is the difference between heart attack and cardiac arrest?
    - A heart attack is a circulation problem, whereas cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked, while cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart function.

48. What is the difference between angioplasty and stent placement?
    - Angioplasty is a procedure to widen narrowed or blocked arteries, while stent placement involves inserting a small mesh tube to keep the artery open.

49. What is the role of aspirin in heart health?
    - Aspirin is often used to prevent blood clots from forming in narrowed or blocked arteries, reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

50. What is the Mediterranean diet and its role in heart health?
    - The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats such as olive oil. It has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

These are just a few commonly asked questions in cardiology, but there are many more topics to explore. If you have any specific questions or need more detailed explanations, feel free to ask!