bacterial endocarditis


Bacterial endocarditis is referred to as infective endocarditis. It’s an infection of the heart’s inner lining (endocardium) or heart valves. It can damage or destroy your heart valves.

balloon angioplasty


A balloon angioplasty is a medical procedure in which a balloon is used to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels of the heart, known as coronary arteries. A long, slender tube called a catheter with a deflated balloon on its tip is passed into the narrowed artery segment. Then the balloon is inflated and the narrowed segment widened. Then the balloon is deflated and the catheter is removed.

balloon valvuloplasty


A balloon valvuloplasty is a non-surgical procedure to treat a narrowing of the mitral valve. Long, slender tubes called catheters are placed into blood vessels in the groin and guided into the chambers of the heart. A tiny hole is created in the wall between the heart's upper two chambers to provide an opening to access the left atrium with a special catheter that has a balloon at the tip. The catheter is positioned so the balloon tip is directly inside the narrowed valve. The balloon is inflated and deflated several times to widen the valve opening. Once the opening of the valve has been widened enough, the balloon is deflated and removed.

beta adrenergic blocking agents


Beta Adrenergic Blocking Agents, also called beta blockers, are drugs that slow the heartbeat, lessen the force with which the heart muscle contracts and reduce blood vessel contraction in the heart, brain and throughout the body. This relieves stress on the heart. They may be used to treat abnormal heart rhythms and to prevent abnormally fast heart rates or irregular rhythms. Since they reduce the demand of the heart muscle for oxygen, they may be useful in treating angina, or chest pain, which occurs when the oxygen demand of the heart exceeds the supply. Beta blockers improve survival after a heart attack and also are used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions.

beta blockers


Beta blockers are drugs that slow the heartbeat, lessen the force with which the heart muscle contracts and reduce blood vessel contraction in the heart, brain and throughout the body. This relieves stress on the heart. They may be used to treat abnormal heart rhythms and to prevent abnormally fast heart rates or irregular rhythms. Since they reduce the demand of the heart muscle for oxygen, they may be useful in treating angina, or chest pain, which occurs when the oxygen demand of the heart exceeds the supply. Beta blockers improve survival after a heart attack and also are used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions.

bicuspid aortic valve


Bicuspid aortic valve is most commonly a congenital heart defect in which the aortic valve (valve between the left ventricle and the aorta) has only two flaps (cusps or leaflets) instead of the normal three. Because of this, patients with a bicuspid valve may develop a narrowed or leaking aortic valve. Narrowing or leakage do not necessarily develop in childhood, but may occur in adulthood. This sometimes requires surgical repair.

birth contol pills


Medical researchers have found that some oral contraceptives, such as birth control pills, increase blood pressure in some women. It’s more likely to occur if you’re overweight, have had high blood pressure during pregnancy, have a family history of high blood pressure or have mild kidney disease. The combination of birth control pills and cigarette smoking may be especially dangerous for some women. Before you begin taking oral contraceptives, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks.

biventricular pacing


Biventricular pacing, or cardiac resynchronization, is a treatment for heart failure that uses a pacemaker implanted in the chest. The pacemaker sends tiny electrical impulses to the heart muscle to coordinate the pumping of the chambers of the heart, improving pumping efficiency and reducing the symptoms of heart failure.

blood clot


A blood clot is a jelly-like mass of blood tissue formed by coagulating factors in the blood. Clots are a normal reaction to stop the bleeding if a blood vessel is injured. Blood clots can also form when plaque deposits in the blood vessel walls rupture. Clots can become dangerous if they get into the bloodstream, because they can block the flow of blood to the heart or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke. A blood clot in an artery is called an arterial thrombosis. A blood clot in the vein is called a venous thrombosis.

blood glucose


Blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is one of the simplest forms of sugar. It is the main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy.

blood pressure


Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. It is measured by a ratio of two numbers:

  • Systolic – registered during a heartbeat (when the heart muscle contracts)
  • Diastolic – registered between heartbeats (when the heart rests and refills with blood)

Blood pressure is measured in a numerical reading of millimeter of mercury, abbreviated as mm Hg. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. In general, the lower your blood pressure is, the better.
  • 120–139 / 80–89 is considered prehypertension
  • 140/90 or higher is hypertension, or high blood pressure. This puts a person at a greater risk for heart attack, angina, stroke, kidney failure and peripheral artery disease.

blood pressure monitor


A blood pressure monitor, also called a sphygmomanometer, is an instrument used to measure blood pressure.

blood sugar


Blood sugar, also called blood glucose, is one of the simplest forms of sugar. It is the main sugar found in the blood and the body's main source of energy.

blood test for heart attack


A heart attack blood test can confirm or refute suspicions that a person has suffered a heart attack. These tests can detect abnormal levels of certain enzymes released into the bloodstream when heart muscle cells die.

blood thinner


Also called anticoagulants, blood thinners are drugs that decrease the ability of the blood to clot, or coagulate. They are used to treat certain blood vessel and heart and lung conditions. They are also given to some people at high risk for blood clots, including those with atrial fibrillation or artificial heart valves. Blood thinners do not dissolve clots but may prevent existing clots from becoming larger and causing more serious problems. They are often prescribed to prevent first or recurrent heart attack or stroke. Common anticoagulant drugs are heparin and warfarin.

blood vessel dilators


Blood vessel dilators, also called vasodilators, are drugs that cause the blood vessels (especially the arterioles) to expand in an effort to lower blood pressure and reduce the work of the heart in pumping blood. ACE inhibitors and nitroglycerine are examples of vasodilators.

blood vessels


Blood vessels are tubes that carry blood from the heart and lungs to every cell in the body, and back to the heart and lungs. These flexible vessels can change in diameter in response to the blood flow needs of the body by becoming larger or smaller. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart. Veins are blood vessels that carry blood back to the heart.

BMI


BMI is short for body mass index, a numerical value of weight relative to height. BMIs are good indicators of healthy or unhealthy weights for adults, regardless of body frame size. A BMI of less than 25 indicates a healthy weight. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity. People with a BMI in the overweight or obese range are at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Calculate your BMI using the American Heart Association's online BMI calculator.

body composition tests


Body composition tests assess your body composition such as waist circumference and body mass index. Your body is made up of water, fat, protein, carbohydrate and various vitamins and minerals. If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.

body mass index


BMI is short for body mass index, a numerical value of weight relative to height. BMIs are good indicators of healthy or unhealthy weights for adults, regardless of body frame size. A BMI of less than 25 indicates a healthy weight. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity. People with a BMI in the overweight or obese range are at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Calculate your BMI using the American Heart Association's online BMI calculator.

bradycardia


Bradycardia is a heart rate of less than 60 beats per minute. It can be caused by a problem with the heart's pacemaker, problems in the conduction pathways of the heart, metabolic problems such as hypothermia, or damage from heart disease . Symptoms of bradycardia can include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or near-fainting spells, or, in extreme cases, cardiac arrest.

brain hemorrhage


A brain or cerebral hemorrhage, also called a hemorrhagic stroke, occurs when a blood vessel or an aneurysm bursts in the brain, causing bleeding inside the brain. A brain hemorrhagic can also be caused by a head injury. It is different from a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which occurs when a blood vessel on the brain's surface ruptures and bleeds into the space between the brain and the skull.

b-type natriuretic peptide


B-Type Natriuretic Peptide, also known as BNP, is a chemical that's gaining attention as a possible marker for heart failure. Higher levels seem to correlate with worse heart failure.

bundle branch block


A bundle branch block is a disorder with the heart’s rhythm. Normally, the electrical impulse travels down both the right and left branches of the heart at the same speed so that both ventricles contract at the same time. A bundle branch block is when there’s a block in one of the branches, so one ventricle contracts a fraction of a second slower than the other. A bundle branch block shows up as an abnormality in an electrocardiogram, but usually no treatment is required unless other symptoms are present. Your healthcare provider will want to see you regularly to be sure no other changes occur.

bypass surgery


Bypass surgery, also called coronary artery bypass graft, reroutes blood around clogged coronary arteries to improve the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.

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