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What is cardiac embolism. How to prevent this?

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Practicing since : 2003
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A friend mine just died from a cardiac embolism , What is that and how can it be prevented?
Posted Wed, 14 Nov 2012 in Heart Attack
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 14 hours later
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

My condolences to you on the loss of your friend.

An "embolus" basically refers to a piece of deposit (usually a blood clot, but can rarely be comprised of fatty deposit or tumor tissue or air bubbles) which orginates from somewhere in the bloodstream and gets lodged in a blood vessel, resulting in obstruction to blood flow.

So, a cardiac embolism is a condition where an embolus originating from somewhere down the bloodstream gets carried to the heart and gets lodged in a blood vessel supplying the heart, resulting in blood flow obstruction (and ultimately death of the heart tissue, sometimes leading to fatal consequences).

What are the risk factors for developing an embolism?

- being overweight or obese (having a body mass index of 30 or more)
- being pregnant
- being 65 years old or over
- eating a high-fat diet
- smoking
- having heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), hypercholesterolemia or type 2 diabetes
- being immobile for long periods of time

You can reduce the risk of a cardiac embolism occurring by:

- eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet that includes whole grains and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day)
- limiting the amount of salt in your diet to no more than 6g (0.2oz or 1 teaspoon) a day
- losing weight if you're overweight or obese, using a combination of regular exercise and a calorie-controlled diet
- giving up smoking if you smoke
- exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five times a week
- if you have diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc, by taking prompt and regular treatment, and keeping them under control

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
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