Heart Collaterals – the alternate route

Collaterals are your heart’s solution to blood flow problems. Not only does your heart pump essential blood to the body, it is also a vital muscle that needs its own blood flow. There are several arteries that provide blood to the heart muscle to keep it pumping efficiently.

Cholesterol or clots can block the blood flow in arteries. This can cause trouble anywhere in the body. It is especially troublesome in your heart. When a part of the heart muscle gets no blood or too little blood, that part of the heart muscle stops functioning, and with more time, can start to die. Any time the blood supply is cut off from any part of the body, that part of the body will stop functioning.

If your heart isn’t functioning, then the blood flow to all of the rest of the body can also suffer. So, there is an amazing solution built in.

How does the heart help itself?

When an artery providing blood to the heart muscle starts to fill up, the heart starts working on a back-up plan. Around the occluded artery smaller arteries start to form. These are called collateral blood vessels (collaterals).

As the main artery gradually narrows due to cholesterol, the small arteries (collaterals) are formed to give the blood another route to get to the muscle.

You aren’t born with these smaller collateral arteries. They are formed when a decrease in blood flow to part of the heart is detected. Then, in order to keep everything functioning normally, these much smaller arteries start to form as a bypass around the big artery. This gives the blood another path to the muscle.

I find it amazing that this back-up plan exists. I am also amazed that it starts before you even realize you have a problem. It is one of the ways that the body can actually heal itself.

How will I know if my arteries are filling up?

When you have cholesterol or plaque forming in your arteries gradually, symptoms are often feeling more tired when you exercise.   You might get short of breath doing activities that used to not bother you.

Or, you might not even know it. Some people don’t know their arteries are clogged until they get chest pain or have a heart attack. This is one reason why an annual check up with your doctor is so important. Catching these things early allows them to be addressed before anything like a heart attack happens.

If you would like to know more about how collateral arteries in your heart are formed, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Have you ever felt like you could no longer get to God? Or that God could no longer get to you? Have you felt like you’ve done so many bad things that there is no way God can even care about you any more? Does it feel like that path is blocked?

When we feel separated from God, we are told that simply whispering the name of Jesus can open that path. God is always there. There is nothing you can do keep God away from you or from loving you.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can do nothing to earn God’s love. In fact, there is not way we can make ourselves do everything right without sin. We are all sinners. We ALL fall short of God’s glory. And He still loves us!

Titus 3:5 ESV / 3 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

So, the heart makes alternate routes to feed the heart muscle when the main route is blocked. And God makes sure we have a CONSTANT connection available with Him. Nothing can block that path. His blood can wash over you with forgiveness; He can sustain you with peace and grace in ALL circumstances.

Blessings,

Michelle

Clots lead to TROUBLE

Most strokes and heart attacks have something in common – CLclotOTS.

Normally blood whooshes right through veins and arteries with nothing blocking the way. The blood carries oxygen to all of the parts of the body to provide energy to keep everything functioning properly.

Sometimes a fatty diet and genes/family history and some medical conditions lead to fibrin (a protein in the blood) and fat lining the edges of the veins and arteries. Some of this can happen with no real danger.

Then other times, something occurs that takes that fat and fibrin and knocks out a chunk of artery lining or makes the surface rough. This allows platelets (a component of the blood) and fibrin to stick to the rough/injured area. As these continue to stick, the blood goes through a more and more narrow passage. Eventually, blood flow is completely blocked.

When this happens in the brain, a stroke results. When this happens in the arteries providing blood to the heart, a heart attack happens. When this happens in the legs, it is called deep vein thrombosis. When it happens in the lungs it is a pulmonary embolus.

What can you do to prevent these clots? There are several key things:

  • Stop smoking if you smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time (even if you travel, take breaks to move around)
  • After surgery or being sick in bed, get up and move as soon as possible and move frequently.
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Eat a heart healthy diet

Take control of your future and make these positive changes so you can avoid clots.

For more information, contact www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

A clot often starts with some little thing going wrong. Either a tiny piece breaks off the fat lining of the artery or something roughs up the edge a bit. Then that small negative event grows and grows and grows until a major life-threatening event occurs.

How often does this happen in life and relationships?

Someone says something that hurts your feelings. It might be deliberate or a result of poor social skills or completely unintended. But, you take offense. Then, you start thinking about the words and you get more angry. Then you start recounting any other thing that person has ever done that could be interpreted negatively. Then you start watching this person and interpreting anything they say or do negatively. Maybe you even bring in other people to support your interpretation of the hurtful statement.

The next thing you know, that relationship stops receiving any sustaining positive input. It completely dies. Everyone walks away hurt.

Have you ever said or done something hurtful completely by accident? I recently was talking with a friend who plans to disown any relationships that didn’t reach out to support her when she lost a dear family member. I understand the hurt, especially at such a tender time. Did all of those people who didn’t reach out intend to hurt her? Or, was a mistake made? Did they not know how important that support could be? Did they not know how to support?

I’m not making excuses. I’m extending grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

James 1:19-20 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Let’s all try to keep our focus on love, forgiveness, and grace to bring out the best in each other.

Blessings,

Michelle

Hypertension ≠ High Tension

I have Heart - NIHhad several clients who have interpreted the medical condition hypertension as ‘high tension’. They thought this was a condition related to stress. And then, several thought the condition was only present when they were feeling stressed.

How much stress is there in your life right now? How much stress is there in the world? Some of us feel stressed much of the time. Others take a laid back approach to life and rarely feel stress.

Is it true that the stressed people have hypertension and the laid back people don’t?

NO

Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is a medical condition that goes way beyond stress or tension. It is a complex condition that is related to our genes (which we can’t control), our environment (some of which we can control), our behaviors (which we CAN control), and likely other factors that are still to be discovered.

Because it is such a complex condition with so many systems in the body involved, there are many medications that are used to treat it. Each category, or type, of medicaion treats hypertension in a different way. So, for some people, hypertension can be controlled with one medication. For other people, it could take two, three, four, or more medications, each acting on a different aspect of the condition.

How high is too high? The very general answer is a blood pressure over 140/90 is too high based on current guidelines. If someone has a history of heart disease or diabetes or some other conditions, your doctor might give you a lower goal such as less than 130/80.

How low is too low? Too low is not a strict number. Rather, it is more related to symptoms. If you feel dizzy when you stand or turn, have seen a marked decrease in your energy since starting your hypertension medicine, or are having trouble catching your breath, talk with your doctor.

Blood pressure that gets too high can be dangerous. It can lead to a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke.

So what can you do about hypertension if you have it?

Check back next week for a ‘prescription’ for lowering and controlling your blood pressure.

For more information, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

Do you have stress in your life? Do you worry? Does your mind keep you awake at night thinking about all you need to do, or the things you are worried about?

I don’t know about you, but just watching the news can increase my stress level. It all seems so out of control.

It is at those times that we can be assured that God is in control. Ultimately, God wins. This universe, all of history, all current events, and the future belong to Him.

On Sunday our pastor mentioned that you could sum up the entire Bible in two words – GRACE and PEACE. Jesus came to provide access to both. His grace and peace are with us at all times; we just need to quiet ourselves, turn our hearts and minds to Him to experience it.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:34 ESV

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 14:27 NLT

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. God is in control.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image Source:  National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services