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Coronary Heart Disease: Angina & Heart Attack: Its Impact Upon the BDSM Lifestyle

Here's a valuable article by Mistress Tammy of Louisville, KY. It is reposted with the author's permission. Please direct questions to the author at . Thanks, Mistress Tammy

Coronary heart disease is the leading killer of Americans today. Coronary heart disease includes several conditions that involve the heart and the vessels that supply blood to the heart. There are numerous chronic, long-term conditions that can also have an impact upon the functioning of the heart. It is inevitable that you will encounter friends and family whose lives have been impacted by heart disease. It is likely that you personally will also experience some form of heart disease. Coronary heart disease encompasses many medical conditions. This article will only focus upon angina, heart attack and sudden cardiac death.

Coronary heart disease is associated with the following conditions:

  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Arrhythmia (Irregular Heart Beat)
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Angina Pectoris (Chest Pain)

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What is Angina Pectoris?

Angina pectoris, or simply angina, is the term that describes chest pain due to coronary heart disease. Angina occurs when the heart muscle does not receive adequate blood supply to a particular area of the heart. Blood carries oxygen to the heart muscle. Without adequate blood and oxygenation the heart muscle experiences pain, much like a cramp.

The cramping sensation can range from mild to severe. Typically angina feels like an uncomfortable pressure, a sense of fullness, with squeezing or pain in the chest. The discomfort can also do what is referred to as "radiate." It can be felt at times in the neck, jaw, shoulder, or down the arm. Angina occurs when the heart needs more blood. Angina can occur with physical exertion, strong emotion or extreme temperatures. Persons with unstable angina can also experience angina at rest. Angina should not be ignored! According to the American Heart Association "Angina is a sign that someone is at increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death."

Angina can be classified as either stable (chronic stable) or unstable. Stable angina refers to episodes of chest discomfort that are considered predictable. In other words, it may occur with physical exertion and mental or emotional stress. Rest and/or medication (nitroglycerin) can relieve the discomfort. It can only be properly be diagnosed by a physician. Unstable angina is unexpected and unpredictable. It can occur at any time. The discomfort is often more severe and lasts longer. The American Heart Association describes unstable angina as an acute coronary syndrome and asserts it should be treated as an emergency. Anyone with new onset or worsening chest discomfort should see a physician for a proper diagnosis. Untreated angina increases your risk for heart attack, severe heartbeat irregularities, and cardiac arrest.

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What is a heart attack?

Medical professionals often refer to a heart attack as a myocardial infarction, or an MI. A heart attack occurs when the blood and oxygen supply to a part of the heart are stopped or significantly reduced. This usually occurs when one or more of the vessels that supply blood to the heart are blocked. The vessels can be narrowed due to the build up of plaque or they can become blocked when a piece of the plaque breaks loose and blocks the blood flow. The plaque builds up in the vessels after years of consuming food high in fat and cholesterol. Heredity also has an impact upon heart disease.

If the blood supply to the heart muscle is interrupted for more than a few minutes, the muscle cells suffer permanent damage and die. Any chest pain or discomfort should be taken seriously. Heart attacks can be sudden and intense, but they can also start slowly with only mild pain. It is important to act quickly if a heart attack is suspected. Most often people wait too long before seeking medical treatment.

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What are the symptoms of a heart attack?

  • Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: The feeling often comes along with chest discomfort, but it can occur before the chest discomfort.
  • Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

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What do I do if I think someone is having a heart attack?

Heart attacks are emergencies and every second counts. If you or someone in your presence experience these symptoms call 9-1-1 immediately. There are many new drugs that can benefit persons experiencing a heart attack. These drugs need to be given very quickly. The most deadly result of a heart attack is cardiac arrest. This means the heart stops beating. It will not start on its own again without intervention. This also speaks to the importance of knowing CPR. You may be the first available person to provide preliminary first aid while awaiting emergency medical services.

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How can this impact my lifestyle activities?

As you read the symptoms of angina and heart attack, it's easy to envision how persons may tend to minimize the seriousness of the symptoms. People are often quick to dismiss the symptoms.

  • "It's just a little warm in here."
  • "I just have a little bit of heartburn, I'll be fine."
  • "My arm just hurts a little bit."
  • "I'm a little out of shape."
  • "I'm fine really!"

Scenes can be highly emotional and physically stressful for both the Top and bottom. Physical exertion and emotional fluctuations can induce cardiac problems. It is of utmost importance that medical conditions and medications are reviewed with your partner before beginning any scene.

If the person has a history of cardiac problems, be sure that you know how they would respond to angina. Do they have nitroglycerin? Be sure you've discussed ahead of time the location of their medication and just how many they can they take before emergency medical services must be called. Be sure you are aware of how to contact medical personnel from any public or private place space that you may use. If there is a dungeon monitor, enlist their assistance with securing the area and medical services. It's important that medical personnel have clear access to the person. You should consider whether or not doors are locked. Can medical personnel easily gain entry and locate the victim? Are there stairs that may be difficult to navigate with a stretcher? Is there adequate lighting and space for medical personnel and equipment when they arrive? Always keep safety scissors near. The person may need to be removed from a bondage situation quickly. Any ropes on or about the chest will need to be removed to allow full access to the chest area. Do your best to provide the victim calming reassurance to minimize anxiety and panic. The responsible person should be trained in CPR. This can mean the difference in life and death, possibly for someone that you love dearly. Contact your local American Heart Association or American Red Cross to learn more about local classes on rescue breathing and CPR. Know your personal limitations and know your partner. If you have any of the previously mentioned symptoms please see a physician. As always, be well and play safely and responsibly!

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Related Reading

Mistress Tammy has also written Diabetes Mellitus: Its Impact Upon the BDSM Lifestyle