SecondsCount.org

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The world’s leading heart doctors created SecondsCount.org to give you the most complete, unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date information available on heart and vascular disease. From the most basic questions about your cardiovascular health to the latest news on diagnosis, treatment and prevention, SecondsCount.org has the answers you need to make the best decisions for your cardiovascular health.



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  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    How does an intracardiac echocardiogram work?

    An echocardiogram works by sending harmless sound waves from an instrument, called a transducer. As the sound waves reflect back from structures in the heart to the transducer, the echocardiogram machine receives and interprets them -- and creates a moving picture of the heart’s internal structures....Read More
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    How is computerized tomographic angiography performed?

    Before computerized tomographic angiography (CTA), you will be asked not to eat or drink for about four hours. You should ask your doctor or nurse practitioner about continuing to take your medications before the examination. If you are not already on medications to slow down your heart rate, your...Read More
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  • SecondsCount.org
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    What is an angiogram?

    A cardiac catheterization is a diagnostic procedure that provides detailed x-ray pictures of the heart and its blood vessels. The pictures taken with contrast dye during this procedure are called angiograms. Interventional procedures to correct problems that are found can be performed at the same...Read More
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  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    How can I distinguish a stroke from more common complaints?

    Most of us have headaches or clumsy spells now and then. But the symptoms of stroke will seem unusual and come on suddenly. Call 911 if you or someone you are with notices these unexplained, sudden warning signs:
    • A feeling of numbness or weakness in your face, arm, or leg (You might notice it
    ...Read More
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    SecondsCount.org answered:

    What are the complications for dilated cardiomyopathy?

    Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart muscle weakens and the heart becomes enlarged. If cardiomyopathy is caused by a virus, it may improve on its own. Medications may help the heart undergo this healing process. It is believed that about one-third of patients with dilated card...Read More
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    SecondsCount.org answered:

    How much weight should I lose to lower my risk of heart disease?

    Obesity is prevalent in the United States, and it is a risk factor for heart disease. The first question you need to consider before beginning a plan to lose weight for heart health is "Do I actually need to lose weight?" You can use a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator (good ones are available free...Read More
  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    What determines how severe my heart disease is?

    Heart disease severity refers to how many of your heart arteries have blockages and how blocked those arteries are. Your doctor may tell you how blocked the artery is using a percentage, such as, "This artery is 80% blocked.” Or your doctor may describe your condition in terms of how much of your...Read More
  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    What are the complications of myocarditis?

    Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. If the myocarditis is caused by a virus (versus bacteria, fungus, or from chemical exposure), it may improve on its own. Medications may also help the heart undergo this healing process.
    It is believed that about one-third of patients with myocarditis...Read More
  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    What causes a heart attack?

    Heart attacks are caused by heart disease, which is the number one cause of death among both men and women in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, every year in the United States roughly 785,000 people will have their first heart attack. And approximately 470,000 who have...Read More
  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    Why might sexual activity be associated with a longer, healthier lifespan?

    Some research shows more frequent sex is associated with a longer lifespan. This may be partly due to the fact that healthier people are more likely to have more frequent sex. So, because they are healthier to begin with, it would make sense that they live longer. But it is also possible that sex...Read More
  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

    It is important to know and recognize the various symptoms of a heart attack. You must keep in mind that not all heart attacks cause chest pain; sometimes symptoms can be subtler, such as upper body discomfort or sudden nausea or fatigue. When heart attack symptoms strike, any delay in seeking...Read More
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    SecondsCount.org answered:

    How does stress affect my heart?

    Stress appears to be a risk factor for heart disease, despite the fact that researchers don’t know exactly how. This is partly because it’s hard to measure stress and people react differently to it. But it is also because it is not easy to determine whether stress is a risk factor itself for heart...Read More
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    SecondsCount.org answered:

    What is an electrocardiogram (EKG)?

    An electrocardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG, is a quick, painless test that measures the heart’s electrical activity and records any disturbances in heart rhythm. It transforms the heart’s electrical activity into a tracing on paper. These tracings can help determine if the rhythm of the heart...Read More
  • SecondsCount.org
    SecondsCount.org answered:

    What is stress?

    Stress is a psychological and physical response by your body to anything that is perceived as a threat or a challenge. Stress can be caused by either a negative challenge (like a death in the family) or a positive challenge (such as a wedding).
    Stress serves a necessary function in life. When you exp...Read More
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    SecondsCount.org answered:

    How can chest pain affect a child's life?

    Chest pain in children is extremely common. In fact, it is one of the most frequent reasons a child may be referred to a cardiologist. It affects girls and boys equally. Fortunately, chest pain in children is rarely due to a heart condition, unlike in adults. Chest muscle, lung irritation, asthma,...Read More