Heart Disease History
Before 1900, very few people died of heart
disease. Since then, heart disease has become the number one killer in
the United States. The age of technology has made life easier and made
people more prone to heart disease. Before the Industrial Revolution,
most people made their living through some sort of manual labor. Walking
was the major means of transportation. Laundry was scrubbed and wrung by
hand. Stairs were climbed, carpets were beat, and butter was churned.
With the arrival of automation, life became less strenuous. Most manual
labor was either replaced or assisted by
machinery. Automobiles, washing machines, elevators, and vacuum cleaners
became commonplace. Modern conveniences made physical activity
Along with the change in lifestyle came a change in
diet. Machines were built to homogenize milk, process cheese,
churn butter, and make ice
cream. Previously, such high-fat treats had to be made by hand. Fried
foods, like potato chips, hamburgers, and french fries, became staples
in many diets.
The combination of a sedentary
lifestyle and a rich diet led to an increase in clogged blood vessels,
heart attacks, and strokes. Heart disease became commonplace. The rate
of heart disease increased so sharply between the 1940 and 1967 that the
World Health Organization called it the world's most serious epidemic.
Medical science immediately went to work studying the
disease and searching out its causes and cures. In 1948, a thirty-year
study began in Framingham, Massachusetts. Known as the Framingham Study,
the investigation involved 5127 people aged 30 to 62 who showed no signs
of heart disease. Every two years, the participants underwent a complete
physical examination. The Study lasted thirty years and provided
priceless profile information for predicting heart disease.
Today, the causes of heart disease are known. To a
certain extent, so are the cures. The field of cardiology has grown
tremendously to meet the demands of the disease. Through the years,
tools and techniques for treating heart disease have also evolved to
meet the increased need. Many of the milestones in cardiology once
seemed unreachable. Who knows what the future may hold?
The Circulatory System
The circulatory system is
the network of elastic tubes that carries blood throughout the body. It
includes the heart, lungs, arteries, arterioles (small arteries),
and capillaries (very tiny blood vessels). These blood vessels
carry oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to all parts of the body. The
circulatory system also includes venules (small veins) and veins.
These are the blood vessels that carry oxygen- and nutrient-depleted
blood back to the heart and lungs. If all these vessels were laid
end-to-end, they'd extend about 60,000 miles. That's enough to encircle
the earth more than twice.
The circulating blood brings oxygen and nutrients to all the body's
organs and tissues, including the heart itself. It also picks up waste
products from the body's cells. These waste products are removed as
they're filtered through the kidneys, liver and lungs.
The circulatory system is
made up of the heart and blood vessels. The heart pumps
oxygen-rich blood through vessels called arteries. Veins carry
blood from various parts of the body back to the heart. Arteries
and veins are connected by tiny capillaries.
The heart's right side receives dark bluish blood from the superior
and inferior vena cava. (The superior vena cava is the large vein that
brings blood back from the upper part of the body. The inferior
vena cava is the vein that brings blood from the lower body.) The
heart's right side pumps this blood to the lungs. There, waste gas
(carbon dioxide) is removed and oxygen is picked up. The bright
red oxygenated blood returns to the heart's left side. Then it's pumped
out into a large artery called the aorta to be distributed by smaller
arteries to all parts of the body
How The Heart Works?
Heart and Arrhythmia
Famous Firsts in Cardiology:
Milestones in Cardiology.
A peek at the secret life of your heart.
Normal BP (Blood
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