The heart is a muscle that is about the size of your fist. It pumps blood around your body and beats approximately 70 times a minute. After the blood leaves the heart, it goes to your lungs where it picks up oxygen.
The oxygen-rich blood returns to your heart and is then pumped to the organs of your body through a network of arteries. The blood returns to your heart through veins before being pumped back to your lungs again. This process is called circulation.
If you have been diagnosed with a heart problem you may feel anxious about how this will affect your life and worry about the future. We often use the term cardiovascular disease to describe many conditions which can affect the heart or blood vessels. Common conditions include:
- Coronary heart disease (narrowed or blocked heart arteries) which can lead to angina and sometimes heart attack ;
- Heart failure or cardiomyopathy, which results from the heart not pumping blood adequately;
- Arrhythmia, which is a disturbance of the heart’s electrical rhythm; and
- Congenital heart disease, which is where a person is born with a heart condition.
The positive news is that through advances in treatment, and in better provision of cardiac specialist staff, the outlook is now much better. In NHS Fife our aim is to assess and diagnose patients with heart problems at an early stage. This allows treatment to be started to reduce many longer term complications. There are many different types of treatment for heart problems, including medication, procedures and sometimes operations. Along with this you will be given advice and support to address lifestyle issues which will improve the health of your heart in the longer term such as losing weight and lowering your cholesterol.
By making some simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk of getting coronary heart disease. And if you already have heart disease, you can take steps to reduce your risk of developing further heart-related problems. For advice on making some lifestyle changes click on the Lifestyle tab.
In NHS Fife, we work in partnership with your GP Practice and more specialised centres such as the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. If you are referred to one of our clinics, you will be assessed by our Specialist Cardiology Nurses and Doctors who will decide on what treatment and investigations are required. Many patients with heart disease will also be offered help from our rehabilitation team to help them on the road to recovery and reduce the chances of further problems. This will involve advice on many lifestyle issues, a gradual return to normal levels of exercise, and the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
Fife Cardiac Rehab Services offer a number of classes throughout Fife that aim:
- To provide a safe introduction to exercise ;
- To build on increasing your levels of physical activity ;
- To work with you as an individual offering you a variety of options; and
- To help you take responsibility for your own exercise programme
For any NHS Fife Cardiac Rehab enquiry please contact:
Mima Traill, Cardiac Rehab Specialist Nurse at Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline
01383 623623 extention 2622
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