What is coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, is when the coronary arteries narrow over time due to the buildup of fatty material within the walls of the arteries. The coronary arteries are responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to the heart.
Prognosis of coronary heart disease
If treated, the symptoms of coronary heart disease may decrease and heart function may improve.
There are different medical tests to diagnose ischemic heart disease
Symptoms of coronary heart disease:
The most common symptoms of coronary heart disease are:
- Angina (chest pain)
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
Medical tests to diagnose coronary heart disease:
If your doctor suspects that you may be at risk for coronary heart disease, then he or she may recommend that you have a risk assessment. A risk assessment may involve:
- Blood tests
- Review of medical and family history
- CT scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Coronary angiography
- Stress test
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
What are the causes of coronary heart disease?
The process of obstruction of the coronary arteries by fatty deposits is called atherosclerosis, and the fatty deposits are known as atheroma.
There are certain risk factors that can cause atherosclerosis, these are:
- Excessive drinking
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise)
- Family history of CHD
Can coronary heart disease be prevented?
Certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, such as:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthier weight
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is low in cholesterol.
- Control blood pressure
- Control diabetes well
Treatments for coronary heart disease
There is no cure for coronary heart disease. However, treatments are available to both control symptoms and reduce the likelihood of a heart attack.
The main treatments include lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, and angioplasty.
Medications that treat coronary heart disease can widen arteries or lower blood pressure. The following are common medications given to patients with CHD:
- Statins: lowers cholesterol
- Antiplatelet agents: anticoagulants.
- Beta-blockers: treat hypertension and prevent angina pectoris.
- ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers: reduce blood pressure.
Angioplasty is an emergency treatment option for people having a heart attack. A small balloon is inserted into the narrowed artery, expelling fatty deposits. A stent is then inserted to keep the artery open.
Other surgical treatments include:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting.
- Heart transplantation
What type of specialist treats coronary artery disease?
A cardiologist would treat coronary artery disease.