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Heart disease

Heart disease is a broad phrase that covers a variety of heart issues. Another name for it is, cardiovascular disease, which refers to both heart and blood vessel illness. The symptoms and the treatment depends on the type of heart disease you suffer from.

 You will learn more about some common heart diseases in adults.

Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease is a common heart condition that affects the major blood vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle. CAD can cause a heart attack or other complications such as arrhythmia or heart failure.

In coronary artery disease, one or more of the coronary arteries becomes narrow or blocked. Your heart dose not gets sufficient blood to pump well.  The heart muscles do not get enough oxygen and nutrients because of the blockage.

Severe blockage can be fatal for you, it can cause heart attack.

Cholesterol deposits (plaques) in the arteries of your heart are usually the most common cause of coronary artery disease. The build-up of these plaques is called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. Plaque is a sticky mixture of fatty streaks that build up, making the walls of the arteries thick and hard. It reduces blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body. It can lead to a heart attack, chest pain, or stroke.

Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open). Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen‐rich blood to the heart. If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form on its surface. A large blood clot can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. Over time, ruptured plaque also hardens and narrows the coronary arteries.

The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is pain in the chest, this condition is also known as angina.

Coronary artery disease symptoms may be different for men and women. For instance, men are more likely to have chest pain. Women are more likely to have other symptoms along with chest discomforts, such as shortness of breath, nausea, and extreme fatigue.

Common symptoms are:
  • Chest discomfort, tightness, pressure, and pain in the chest.
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Heart attack
  • Back, neck, jaw, throat, upper belly, or back pain
  • If the blood arteries in the legs or arms are constricted, those portions of the body may experience pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness.

Your doctor will diagnose coronary heart disease (CAD) based on your medical and family histories, your risk factors for CAD, a physical exam, and the results from tests and procedures. No single test can diagnose CAD.

It is possible that your coronary artery disease won’t be discovered until after you have a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure. It is crucial to monitor cardiac symptoms and talk to your doctor if you have any serious concerns. Regular health examinations can potentially detect heart (cardiovascular) illness early.

To find out about your condition, the doctor will suggest some test like: –
    • Electrocardiogram
    • Echocardiogram
    • 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.

You Lifestyle improvements include quitting smoking, eating well, and exercising more are typically part of the treatment for coronary artery disease. Sometimes it is necessary to use medicines and procedures.

The following medicines are recommended:
  • Cholesterol medications: Drugs can lower bad cholesterol and lessen the formation of plaque in your arteries.
  • Aspirin: Blood clots are avoided and helped with aspirin. For certain persons, daily low-dose aspirin treatment may be suggested as the major defense against a heart attack or stroke.Aspirin usage on a regular basis may cause significant adverse effects, such as bleeding in theintestines and stomach. Without consulting your doctor, don’t take aspirin every day.
  • Beta snubbers: These medicines lower heart rate. Additionally, they reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers may lower your chance of having another heart attack if you've already had one.
  • Blockers of calcium channels: If you are unable to use beta blockers or if they don’t work for you, one of these medications can be suggested. Medicines that block calcium channels can aid in reducing the symptoms of chest discomfort.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers and inhibitors of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) (ARBs). These drugs reduce your blood pressure. They might prevent the progression of coronary artery disease.
  • Nitroglycerin – Heart arteries are widened with this medication. It can lessen or reduce chest discomfort. You may get nitroglycerin as a tablet, spray, or patch.
  • Ranolazine – Patients with chest discomfort may find this drug helpful (angina). It can be administered along with beta-blockers or in place of them.
Do not take any of the medicines without consulting your doctor, it is always better to take a professional help to improve your health.

Depending on your condition your doctor can suggest you the following procedures and surgeries for your fast recovery:

  • Angioplasty
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation

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
  • Diabetes
  • 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
You can follow the following steps to keep yourself healthy: –
  • Medicines for common causes like blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, cholesterol.
  • If any surgical procedures to help restore blood flow to the heart.
  • Do some lifestyle changes – eat healthy, exercise, quit smoking or alcohol.
  • Follow strictly low heart healthy diet recommendations by your doctor.
  • Regular follow your treatment plan for monitoring CAD like checking your Blood Pressure levels, taking medications on time and attend scheduled to take update of your CAD condition.
You can take help from any healthcare expert/doctor/dietian/fitness expert for quick recovery.

You can make certain lifestyle changes to keep your arteries healthy or slow down the effects of coronary artery disease:

  • Start eating foods that are good for your heart. You can include vegetables, nuts, whole grains, protein sources and good fats.
  • If you have problem of high blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol, monitor the levels and manage it to keep your heart healthy.
  • Maintain a normal body weight.
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Heart disease
  • Ischemic (is‐KE‐mik) heart disease
  • Narrowing of the arteries

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