The blood circulation system is also known as the cardiovascular system. As implied by the name, it consists of the heart and the blood vessels in our body. The system transports oxygen and nutrients to the organs to be utilised.
The heart has 4 chambers, namely the left atrium, left ventricle, right atrium, and right ventricle. The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs, and the oxygenated blood will flow towards and be pumped out from the left ventricle to be distributed throughout the body via blood vessels. As the oxygen in the bloodstream is being utilised by the organs, the deoxygenated blood will return to the right atrium of the heart, waiting to be transported to the lungs from the right ventricle to receive oxygen.
The role of the cardiovascular system is crucial to maintain our heart health therefore any disorders of the system can cause a severe impact on a person’s life.
The majority of modern societies are blessed with food abundance and comfortable lifestyles. However, the detrimental combination of imbalanced nutritional intake and sedentary lifestyle raises the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases. Hence, it is not surprising that blood circulation disorders are one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
In this article, we will explore more about various disorders of the blood circulation system.
High blood pressure (Hypertension)
The blood vessels will be hardened over time mostly due to aging or deposition of cholesterol (atherosclerosis). The stiffened blood vessels will result in high blood pressure. In certain cases, genetics plays a role as well.
High blood pressure is often diagnosed at later stages because it is asymptomatic until serious complications develop such as heart attack or stroke.
Regular blood pressure check-up is highly recommended especially for those with a family history of hypertension. For patients who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, we would emphasize medication compliance and a healthy lifestyle to achieve optimum blood pressure control.
Heart attack (Myocardial infarction)
The term ‘heart attack’ is often synonymous with terrifying as we come across stories of heart attack victims dying within seconds. Despite being life-threatening, patients can still survive and live a good quality of life with prompt and proper treatment.
Heart attack presents itself with severe central chest pain, which sometimes will radiate to the neck, jaw, or arm. This happens when the heart is not receiving adequate blood supply due to blockage in the heart vessels (coronary arteries). The blockage is commonly caused by the accumulation of fat and cholesterol (atherosclerosis).
Immediate medical attention is needed for victims of heart attack. Early intervention significantly affects the survival rate of the patient. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact the local emergency number if you are suspecting a case of heart attack.
Stroke is one of the major causes of disability in the population. The aftermath of the disease can be severe to the extent that stroke survivors have lifelong difficulties in coping with daily activities.
Stroke occurs when blood circulation in the brain is compromised. There are 2 types of stroke: ischaemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke, in which the former is the commonest. Ischaemic stroke occurs when there is a blockage in the blood vessels of the brain, whereas haemorrhagic stroke happens as a consequence of high blood pressure, in which the blood vessels are unable to withstand the high pressure and rupture eventually, causing blood leakage inside the brain.
The effects of stroke are different depending on the affected area in the brain. Most of the patients would have one-sided weakness or paralysis accompanied by abnormal sensation and coordination. Some deficits such as difficulties in speaking, speech comprehension, or vision are prevalent in stroke victims as well.
Physiotherapy is the key step for stroke patients to regain, relearn and resume their normal life. The carer and the patient need to keep in mind that the recovery process is a long-term rehabilitation effort instead of a one-off measure.
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