Do you know CPR? Try Cardio-Pulmonary Reading

But new evidence has revealed that anyone infected with COVID is at higher risk for heart issues—including clots, inflammation, and arrhythmias (irregular beats)—a risk that persists even in relatively healthy people long after the illness has passed.

EKG tracing

The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the human body through the upper respiratory tract-the nose, mouth, and throat, and sometimes stays there. But other times it stealthily moves down the throat into the trachea, the bronchi, and finally the lungs.

There the virus creates inflammation that impairs the lungs’ ability to do their job- take oxygen from the air we breath and send it to the heart which pumps it through the aorta to all the other organs of the body.

Although inflammation caused by the COVID virus can damage other body organs, the most common causes of death in its victims are respiratory failure and/or cardiovascular disorders such as heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.

Even apart from COVID, diseases of the heart and lung are the leading causes of death all over the world. This post reviews 3 books I have read and reviewed that explain the intricacies of these two related and vital systems. One review is new, the other two have been previously published.

(This post and the ones linked to contain affiliate links that may pay a small commission to this blog, while you pay nothing extra. Quite a deal. )

diagram of the human heart
Heart diseases affect any and sometimes multiple parts of the heart- the atria, ventricles, the valves, the aorta, the pulmonary artery and veins, the walls and the coronary arteries (not shown in this diagram. )

The Source of All Things

A Heart Surgeon’s Quest to Understand Our Most Mysterious Organ

By Dr. Reinhard Friedl, With Shirley Michaela Seul; Translated by Gert Reifarth

Originally published as Der Takt des Lebens. Warum das Herz unser wichtigstes Sinnesorgan ist

In his memoir, Dr. Reinhard Friedl introduces us to the heart, describing its unique role in the human body, one he considers the most important of any organ. He believes the heart is the “source of all life”.

Dr. Friedl describes the heart’s structure and basic function, in detailed but non-technical terms. He does not view the heart as a mere pump as it is often described, but as a turbine, an engine.

Then he whisks us into the operating room as he performs a middle of the night emergency surgery to save a man’s life by repairing his damaged aorta. Later, he travels to a home to resuscitate a 34-week premature baby who wasn’t breathing. He describes the challenge of performing a delicate heart surgery on a 24-week premature infant. In each case, he acted automatically, calling upon years of training, using his mind and hands with precise attention to details, focusing only on the patient’s open chest on the table.

But operating with his brain was not enough for Dr. Friedl. He realized as a heart surgeon he needed to know and use his own heart. He wanted to find out

“Can we sense thing consciously with the heart? May we act from the heart? Is there a connection between the voice of the heart and illnesses, between a fulfilling life and one full of suffering?”

He explored the answer through meditation and deep breathing. He dove into the connection between the heart and the brain, studying philosophy, neurology, genetics, and even quantum physics. He finally concludes

“The greatest challenge for modern medicine is to bring back together the fragments of the human being and integrate them in holistic medicine.”

Dr. Friedl’s story wanders at times, as did his journey to self-discovery. One chapter title, Farewell to the Artificial Heart, characterizes the journey he started and continues; reading his memoir may prompt you to start your own journey.

This book is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a complimentary galley copy in exchange for a review.

flowers arranged in the shape of the lungs overlaid withthe word BREATHE

BREATH TAKING – a book review

We take 7.5 million breaths a year and some 600 million in our lifetime. Breath Taking is an exhaustive review of why and how our lungs work, and what happens to our lives when they are attacked and injured by disease.

Keep reading
an illustration of the coronavirus with its characteristic surface spikes
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MSMI; Dan Higgins, MAMS

A researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the long term effects of COVID on the heart.

“Until now, people who suffered mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 were thought to have dodged the brunt of the virus’s brutal side effects.

But new evidence has revealed that anyone infected with COVID is at higher risk for heart issues—including clots, inflammation, and arrhythmias (irregular beats)—a risk that persists even in relatively healthy people long after the illness has passed.”

Read the article at this link-

COVID and the Heart: It Spares No One

exploring the HEART of health

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

a world globe with two crossed bandaids

Doctor Aletha

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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