Heart attacks and coronary heart disease (CHD)
Um… Where’s Body gone?
Well, he said he was getting bored sitting around waiting for his new heart so I’ve
rigged him up to the strimmer. He’s outside, edging the lawn.
The STRIMMER? Well anything that runs off electricity should
keep him going. As long as he doesn’t stop of course.
We’ll have no grass left! I know brilliant isn’t it! We’ll save
a fortune on our gardening bills. Well all the more reason to get his new heart
finished! Lab coats at the ready! Quick recap. The heart pumps oxygen rich blood
and nutrients all around the body through a network of blood vessels. Now the heart
is a hard working organ and like every other organ, it needs oxygen rich blood too! Special
blood vessels called coronary arteries supply blood directly to the heart muscle to keep
it pumping. Sometimes a fatty plaque – that’s a kind
of gunk – builds up on the inside of the coronary arteries. This leads to them becoming
narrower and hardening. It’s called ATHEROSCLEROSIS or Coronary Heart Disease. This can take years
to develop and so may be undetected for a long time.
So where does all the gunk come from, Nurse? When you eat fatty foods, the fat is carried
around your bloodstream with all the other nutrients. If there’s too much fat, it begins
to stick as a gunky coating to the walls of the veins, arteries and capillaries.
And then it’s a bit like when the pipes in the sink get clogged up – the water can’t
run down as fast. Narrowed arteries can leave the heart muscle
short of oxygen, which can lead to angina. This is a pain or tightness felt in the chest,
arm, jaw, neck or stomach, and usually is worse when sufferers try to do something energetic.
If an artery becomes completely blocked, part of the heart muscle is starved of oxygen
and can stop the heart from beating. This is a heart attack.
Now don’t worry, you can’t catch a heart attack, and it’s not something that normally
affects children. It’s almost always caused by damage that’s built up over years. The
good news is that 80 percent of cases can be prevented and if you look after your heart
you’ll increase your chances of staying healthy when you’re a grown up.
And it’s pretty simple to take good care of your heart. For starters simply watch how
much fat you eat – it doesn’t just make you wobble on the outside, it clogs things
up inside! A healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables will help keep your blood healthy
and as the heart is a muscle make it a good strong one with stacks of exercise – play
lots of sport and games with your friends. The more you work it the stronger it will
be. Because heart disease can develop over a long
time, sometimes there are warning signs, like chest pains, which can help people to tackle
the problem before it becomes more serious. You know the machines in hospitals that make
that beep beep sound? That’s the one! It’s called an Electro
Cardiogram. It’s a machine that doctors use to check how well the heart is beating
and is a helpful way to spot problems. If someone’s worried they might have heart
trouble, it’s just one way to find out more. Thanks Nurse! Now Body is lucky because we
can make him a new heart in our laboratory. It’s not quite as easy to replace human
hearts so here’s a tip make sure you keep your ticker in top shape.
Today’s ticker tip is all about teeth! Yes teeth!
What have TEETH got to do with HEARTS? Just like your veins and arteries can be furred
up with fat, if you don’t brush your teeth you get a build up of plaque. This makes a
home for bacteria which can not only rot your teeth but can also make your gums sore. Red
and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal disease. Scientists aren’t exactly sure
why but there seems to be a link between periodontal disease and heart problems.
But even if we don’t really understand the connection, it’s another great reason to
brush your teeth twice a day, and use floss to get at the bits in between.
Good advice Nurse! Oh ey up! I better go and find something else to plug Body into… he’s
starting on next doors geraniums! PROFESSOR HALLUX’S HEART BEAT – FUNDED THANKS
TO A HEART RESEARCH UK HEALTHY HEART GRANT.