What is Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease is a prevalent heart disorder that affects the primary blood arteries that feed the heart muscle with blood. CAD can result in a heart attack or other consequences, including arrhythmia and heart failure. With coronary artery disease, one or more coronary arteries become constricted or obstructed. Your heart does not receive enough blood to function properly. The obstruction prevents sufficient oxygen and nutrient delivery to the heart’s muscles.
What are the symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease?
The most prevalent symptom of coronary artery disease is chest discomfort, which is also known as angina.
Symptoms of coronary artery disease may vary between men and women. As an example, men are more likely to experience chest pain. In addition to chest tightness, women are more prone to have shortness of breath, nausea, and excessive exhaustion.
Common symptoms are:
- Tightness, pain, and pressure in the chest.
- Breathing difficulty
- Heart attack
- Pain in the upper abdomen; the neck; the jaw; or the back
- Pain, numbness, weakness, and coldness can occur in the legs and arms if the blood vessels in those areas become narrowed.
What are the causes of coronary artery disease?
Cholesterol deposits (plaques) in the coronary arteries are typically the leading cause of coronary artery disease. The accumulation of these plaques is known as atherosclerosis or arterial stiffening. Plaque is an accumulation of fatty streaks that causes the artery walls to become thick and rigid. It decreases blood flow to the heart and other organs. It could cause a heart attack, chest pain, or a stroke.
During time, plaque might harden or burst (break open). Plaque that has hardened narrows coronary arteries and decreases the flow of oxygen rich blood to the heart. On the plaque’s surface, a blood clot can form if it ruptures. A big blood clot can obstruct coronary artery blood flow to a significant or total degree. Over time, burst plaque also causes coronary arteries to stiffen and narrow.
Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease?
Your doctor will diagnose coronary heart disease (CAD) based on your medical and family histories, your risk factors for CAD, the results of tests and procedures, and a physical examination. There is currently no reliable single test for determining CAD.
It is possible for coronary artery disease to be undetected until a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure occurs. It is essential to monitor cardiac symptoms and consult a physician if you have grave concerns. Routine health checkups may detect heart (cardiovascular) disease in its earliest stages.
To find out about your condition, the doctor will suggest some test like: –
- CT Scan of heart
- Cardiac catheterization
- Exercise stress test
- Nuclear stress test
- Blood tests (To check levels of certain fats, cholesterol, sugar, and proteins in your blood)
- Coronary Angiography and Cardiac Catheterization‐ This test uses dye and special x rays to show the insides of your coronary arteries.
What are the risk factors of coronary artery disease?
Heart disease risk factors are conditions or habits that make you more likely to develop heart disease. Some risk factors for coronary heart disease are modifiable and, others are not.
- High levels of cholesterol and blood pressure
- Age and sex of the person
- Family history (if any member of the family had heart disease)
- Taking a lot of stress and sleeping less
- Eating an unhealthy diet
- Drinking alcohol or smoking
- Lack of physical activity
Any of the risk factors can be the reason of your coronary heart disease.
How is coronary artery disease dealt with?
The standard treatment for coronary artery disease includes lifestyle modifications such as stopping smoking, eating healthily, and exercising more. Sometimes, medications and procedures are required.
- Cholesterol medications: Medications can reduce LDL cholesterol and reduce plaque formation in the arteries.
- Aspirin: Aspirin prevents blood clots and aids in their treatment. As a primary preventative measure against a heart attack or stroke, daily low-dose aspirin may be recommended for certain individuals. Regular aspirin use may induce major side effects, such as gastrointestinal and intestinal hemorrhage. Don’t take aspirin daily without consulting your doctor.
- Beta-blockers: These medications reduce heart rate. In addition, they lower blood pressure. If you have already suffered a heart attack, beta blockers may reduce your risk of a second one.
- Calcium channel blockers: If you cannot use beta blockers or if they do not work for you, one of these drugs may be prescribed. Medication that blocks calcium channels can help alleviate the symptoms of chest pain.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (ARBs). These medications lower blood pressure. These may prevent coronary artery disease from progressing.
- Nitroglycerin – This drug widens the coronary arteries. It can alleviate or minimize chest pain. Nitroglycerin is available in pill, spray, and patch form.
- Ranolazine – Individuals experiencing chest discomfort may benefit from this medication (angina). It can be taken alongside or in place of beta-blockers.
Do not take any medications without first seeing your doctor; it is always preferable to seek professional assistance to improve your health.
Surgical procedure to dealt with Coronary Artery Disease?
Depending on the patient’s condition doctor may suggest any of the procedure given below:
- Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
- Cardiac Rehabilitation
How can someone with coronary artery disease maintain their health?
- Medications for common conditions such as hypertension, arrhythmia, and cholesterol.
- Any surgical treatments that may assist in restoring blood flow to the heart.
- Modify your lifestyle by adopting a nutritious diet, engaging in regular exercise, and giving up tobacco and alcohol.
- Follow your doctor’s rigorous dietary instructions for heart health.
- Regularly adhere to your treatment plan for monitoring CAD, including checking your Blood Pressure levels, taking your meds on time, and attending your regularly scheduled checkups for an update on your CAD condition.
Coronary Artery Disease and how it affects your Mental Health?
A CAD diagnosis may prompt you to consider your heart and arteries in greater detail than ever before. This can be intimidating and exhausting. You may worry a great deal about your symptoms or what may occur. Many individuals with coronary artery disease develop depression and anxiety, which is not surprising. You are suffering from a potentially fatal condition. Even if you have heart disease, you can still thrive and lead a joyful, active life. See a counsellor if your diagnosis is hurting your mental health.