What is coronary artery disease?
Coronary artery disease is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, usually caused by the hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis (sometimes called “hardening” or “clogging” of arteries) is the buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits (called plaques) on the inner walls of your arteries. These plaques can limit blood flow to the heart muscle by physically blocking the artery or causing abnormal artery abnormalities and function.
Without an adequate blood supply, the heart becomes starved of the oxygen and vital nutrients it needs to function properly. This can cause chest pain called angina. If part of the heart muscle is completely cut off from blood flow or if the energy requirements of the heart become much greater than the blood supply, then a cardiovascular failure (injury to the heart muscle) may happen.
Symptoms of coronary artery disease
When your heart is not getting enough arterial blood, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Angina (chest discomfort) is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease. Some people describe this discomfort as:
- Chest pain
These symptoms are also be mistaken for heartburn or indigestion.
Other symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD) include:
- Pain in the arms or shoulders
- Shortness of breath
You may experience more symptoms when your blood flow is more restricted. If the blockage cuts off blood flow completely or almost completely, your heart muscle will begin to die if it doesn’t recover. This is a heart attack. Do not ignore any of these symptoms, especially if they are painful or last more than five minutes. Immediate medical treatment is essential.
Symptoms of CAD for women
Women may also experience the symptoms listed above, but they are also more likely to have:
- Back pain
- Jaw pain
- Shortness of breath without feeling chest pain
Men are more likely to develop heart disease than premenopausal women. Postmenopausal women at the age of 70 have the same risks as men. Due to decreased blood flow, your heart may also:
- Become weak
- Develop abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) or rates
- Fail to pump as much blood as your body needs
Your doctor will discover these heart abnormalities during the diagnosis.
Causes of coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is thought in any case harm or injury to the inward layer of a coronary conduit, here and there as ahead of schedule as a youth. Damage can be caused by various factors, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Not being active (sedentary lifestyle)
Once the inner wall of an artery is damaged, fatty deposits (plaque) made from cholesterol and other cellular waste products tend to congregate at the site of the injury. This process is called atherosclerosis. If the surface of the plaque breaks or ruptures, blood cells called platelets group together at the site to try to repair the artery. This blockage can block the artery, leading to a heart attack.
Coronary artery disease risk factors
Numerous things can make you bound to have coronary course ailment. Some you can change and some you can’t. They include:
- Age: Especially being older than 65
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history: Especially if one of your close relatives got heart disease at a young age
- Gender: Men are more likely to have heart attacks and have them early, compared to women, until the risk passes at the age of 70.
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
- High stress
- Lack of physical activity
- Race: African Americans are at a higher risk than people of other races because they tend to have high blood pressure. The high rates of obesity and diabetes in some Asians and Spaniards may also put them at risk of developing heart disease.
- Smoking or breathing secondhand smoke
- Unhealthy diet: Including lots of foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, salt, and sugar
How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical examination and listen to your heart. He or she will also discuss symptoms, family history, diet, activity level, and other medical conditions. There is no single test that can diagnose coronary artery disease. If your doctor suspects you may have it, he or she may order one or more of the following tests.
- EKG (electrocardiogram): This is a simple, painless test that monitors your heartbeat and rhythm. It also tests the strength and timing of your heart’s electrical signals. It involves placing electrodes (small wired pads) on your chest. The pads are held in place by a sticky substance.
- Stress test: During this test, you will be asked to do exercise to exercise your heart. You will be associated with heart, pulse, and oxygen screens during the test. These screens can detect changes in heart rate, rhythm, electrical activity, or blood pressure during the test. The staff will also monitor you for shortness of breath or chest pain. If you are unable to exercise for medical reasons, the staff will administer medication to raise your heart rate. Your heart’s response to the exercise may suggest to your doctor that you have potential obstructions and need more testing.
- This test is painless: It’s a test that uses sound waves to see an image of your heart as it beats. The image will give the doctors a look at the size and shape of your heart. It also shows the chambers and valves of your heart.
- Chest X-ray: This is an X-ray image focusing on the area of your heart. X-rays can reveal signs of heart failure.
- Blood tests: Your doctor will take a sample of your blood to be sent to the laboratory. The lab can test for certain conditions that increase the risk of coronary artery disease. This includes testing for some fats, cholesterol, sugar, and proteins.
- Cardiac catheterization and coronary angiogram: This procedure is normally performed if other tests show that you have coronary artery disease. It is performed in the hospital. You will be given medication before the test to make you sleepy. However, you may still be awake. During the test, a thin, flexible tube is inserted into a blood vessel in your arm, groin (groin) or neck. The doctor will carefully move the tube into the coronary arteries and then inject a dye. X-rays are used to monitor the dye as it travels through the coronary arteries. This helps the doctor see blood flow through your heart and blood vessels. This test is generally painless.
Coronary heart disease can cause complications, including the following:
- Acute coronary syndrome, including angina or heart attack
- Heart failure
- Cardiogenic shock
- Sudden cardiac arrest
Complications of coronary heart disease can be life-threatening and lead to disability.
Coronary artery disease treatment
Coronary heart treatments usually include lifestyle changes and medications, sometimes in combination with heart procedures or surgery. The best treatment blend will be resolved dependent on your individual conditions.
There are many medications that can help treat coronary artery disease. Your doctor will likely prescribe a combination of drugs that will:
- Lower the workload of your heart
- Lower the overall risk of you having a heart attack
- Lower cholesterol
- Help relax the blood vessels
- Help prevent blood clots from forming
You will be taking these medications for the rest of your life.
Sometimes an angiogram is needed to show blockages and determine whether medications are sufficient to treat or whether angioplasty (using a balloon to open the blockage) and stent (a wire mesh tube to keep the artery open) is needed. Sometimes, coronary artery bypass surgery is necessary to connect new arteries or veins to bypass blockages.
To manage coronary artery disease, it is important to:
- Quit smoking because smoking cigarettes constricts blood vessels. Smoking cessation aids are available for patients who have difficulty quitting smoking on their own.
- Get your cholesterol checked and get high cholesterol under control.
- Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Losing weight if you are overweight reduces the burden that extra weight places on the heart. Regular exercise can help control weight and reduce other risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as high blood pressure.
Prevention of coronary artery disease
Take these steps to help prevent heart disease.
- If you smoke, stop. There are numerous assets accessible to help you stop smoking.
- Learn how to eat a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions. For the model, choose heart-solid fats to overspread and other immersed fats.
- Lower high cholesterol with lifestyle changes, and if needed, statin medicines.
- Lower high blood pressure using diet and medicines.
- Get regular exercise, ideally at least 30 minutes most days. On the off chance that you have coronary illness, talk with your supplier about starting an activity schedule.
- Talk with your provider about aspirin therapy.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- If you have diabetes, keep it well-managed to help prevent heart attack and stroke.
Even if you already have heart disease, following these steps will help protect your heart and prevent further damage.
Cardiac rehabilitation program
People who have coronary artery disease (CAD) can participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program. This expects to increment physical continuance, improve personal satisfaction, and forestall complexities.
Cardiac rehabilitation programs often include a combination of exercise, learning to manage disease and risk factors, as well as psychological support. The program is run by a team of specialists in the fields of medicine, physical therapy, nutritional sciences, and psychotherapy. Research has shown that cardiac rehabilitation that includes exercise is worth doing: It can improve the quality of life and increase life expectancy.
Cardiac rehabilitation is particularly recommended if someone has had a heart attack or if coronary artery disease (CAD) has already resulted in heart failure or if symptoms greatly affect normal daily activities. Your doctor can assist you in applying for cardiac rehabilitation to an appropriate motive. In Germany, this will usually be a statutory health insurance company or a pension fund.