Heart Health Emergencies – Treatment & Prevention

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,178
    Dr. Robert O’Connor, professor & chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia Health System, discusses the treatment and prevention of health emergencies.

    Robert O'Connor: Hi, my name is Robert O'Connor. I am the Chair of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia. Today, I want to talk about heart health. Specifically talk about how to maintain a healthy heart and then go on to talk about symptoms of a heart attack or a myocardial Infarction and then discuss cardiac arrest and what a bystander can do if they witness someone suffering cardiac arrest. I also want to talk about how to maintain a healthy heart and what you should look for in terms of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Host: What characterizes a healthy heart?

    Robert O'Connor: A healthy heart is one that has a normal rate and rhythm. It's one that can respond to exercise with an accelerated heart rate, characterized by the absence of disease and by absence of disease we really mean the absence of atherosclerosis, normal valve function, normal muscle contraction. The best way to -- I guess the next question is how do I make sure that my heart is healthy? I think that the best way is to see your physician and to have a very thorough history and physical done to try to risk assess whether or not you have chances of unhealthy heart. To undergo lab testing perhaps or electrocardiogram or as one ages, to have exercise stress testing and that's the best way to verify if your heart is healthy. The way to maintain a healthy heart is to maintain a proper diet, do plenty of exercise, don't smoke tobacco and if you have high blood pressure, get that under control. If you are diabetic, have your blood sugar regulated and basically, you get screened for other risk factors.