Myocardial infarction commonly known as heart attack
Myocardial infarction which is commonly known as heart attack is caused by lack of blood supply to the heart muscle due to narrowing or obstruction of a coronary artery. This situation may create chest pain and other serious health problems. Shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, fatigue, and severe anxiety are typical symptoms of myocardial infarction. Even death may result from severe heart attack. Treatment of myocardial infarction depends on rapid restoration of heart blood supply by various means. Still the damage of heart muscle cells may be severe enough to cause further medical problems and decreased quality of life.
Angina is related to decreased blood supply to the heart. Repeated chest pain is a typical symptom of angina. Most patients suffering for angina have coronary artery disease, i.e. narrowing of arteries supplying heart with blood due to atherosclerosis plaque.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is caused by obstruction in artery blood flow to the heart. Frequently, coronary artery disease is associated with atherosclerosis. As a result of coronary artery disease, angina or myocardial infarction may appear.
Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure appears when the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to the body. Congestive heart failure can present with extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and swellings.
Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart where the heart muscles are damaged by previous myocardial infarction, certain viral infection, some anti-cancer cytotoxic drugs (chemotherapy), or the cause remains unknown. Shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain and swellings are typical symptoms of cardiomyopathy.
Critical limb ischemia
Critical limb ischemia is typically caused by atherosclerosis plaque leading to narrowing of limb artery. As a result, there is not enough blood supply in a tissue, lack of oxygen and nutrients. Limb ischemia can frequently occur in lower extremities and, in case the patient experiences claudication pain – pain in legs when walking, doctors call it critical limb ischemia. Some patients with critical limb ischemia may suffer also from another atherosclerosis-associated problems such as myocardial infarction, stroke or retinopathy.
Endothelial dysfunction is caused by inflammation on the inner side of blood vessels, mainly arteries. Endothelial dysfunction is a first step to atherosclerosis which is a leading cause for narrowing of arteries carrying blood with oxygen and nutrients to various tissues. As endothelial dysfunction is present at some extent in almost any adult over the age of 40, it is important to evaluate the health risk individually to be able to optimize the healthy lifestyle to prevent atherosclerosis development as much as possible.
Atherosclerosis leads to plaque formation and narrowing of arteries. Thus, lack of oxygen and nutrients results in surrounding tissue. Atherosclerosis is associated with endothelial dysfunction and inflammation of the inner side of arteries. Atherosclerosis does not hurt but the consequences may be severe. The only sign of atherosclerosis may be an increased blood pressure. Progressive atherosclerosis in heart arteries leads to angina and myocardial infarction. Atherosclerosis in brain arteries leads to stroke. Atherosclerosis in kidney arteries leads to kidney failure. Atherosclerosis in eye arteries, namely small retinal arteries, leads to blindness. Atherosclerosis in limb arteries leads to critical limb ischemia.
Stroke is caused by brain artery narrowing (ischemic stroke), typically due to atherosclerosis, or by brain artery rupture (hemorrhagic stroke). The symptoms may vary broadly depending of which part of brain is damaged by the stroke. The sooner a proper medical care is provided the better outcomes can be expected. Yet, only partial improvements can be achieved by current standard therapy in most cases while chronic inflammation and degenerative changes persist for many years after stroke.
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