Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary artery disease, or simply heart disease, is the leading cause of death in America, affecting more than 13 million Americans. Heart disease is caused by plaque buildup in the arteries, which obstructs blood flow and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
What is coronary artery disease?
Heart disease is caused by plaque deposits in the coronary arteries — a condition called atherosclerosis — that lead to blockages. An artery that was once smooth and elastic becomes narrow and rigid, preventing blood from flowing back to the heart. The heart is deprived of the vital oxygen and nutrients it needs to beat properly.
How does coronary artery disease develop?
Cholesterol-laden plaques can begin to build up in the walls of blood vessels at an early age. As people get older, plaque grows, which inflames the walls of blood vessels and increases the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. Plaque releases chemicals to stimulate the healing process, but it makes the inner walls of blood vessels sticky, after which substances that travel through the blood such as inflammatory cells, lipoproteins and calcium begin to stick inside the walls of blood vessels.
A narrowed coronary artery may eventually grow new blood vessels surrounding the blockage to return blood to the heart. However, the new vessels may not be able to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle during times of stress or tension.
In some cases, blood clots can completely block blood supply to the heart muscle, causing a heart attack. If blood vessels going to the brain are blocked, usually by blood clots, a stroke can occur due to local ischemia. And if a blood vessel inside the brain bursts, possibly due to uncontrolled high blood pressure, it can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.
What is ischemia?
Cardiac ischemia occurs when plaque and fatty material narrow the inner passage of an artery to the point that it can no longer supply enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the heart’s needs. A heart attack can occur with or without chest pain and other symptoms.
Ischemia occurs most frequently during:
- Doing sports or physical exertion
- eat the food
- Excitement or tension
- Exposure to cold
Coronary artery disease can progress to a stage where ischemia occurs even at rest. Ischemia can occur without any warning signs in anyone with heart disease, but it is more common in people with diabetes.
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What are the symptoms of coronary artery disease?
Angina, or chest pain, is the most common symptom of coronary heart disease. We can describe angina as a feeling of heaviness, pressure, pain, burning, numbness, fullness, pressure or pain. It can be confused with indigestion or heartburn. Angina is usually felt in the chest, but it can also be felt in the left shoulder, arms, neck, back, or jaw.
Other symptoms that may accompany coronary artery disease include:
- shortness of breath
Palpitations (irregular or skipping heartbeats, or a spinning sensation in the chest)
- Weakness or dizziness
How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?
The doctor can inform his patient that he has coronary artery disease by:
Tell him or her about your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors.
Do a physical examination.
Perform diagnostic tests, including an electrocardiogram or electrocardiogram), EKG tests, electronic tomography scans, cardiac catheterization, and other tests. These tests help the doctor evaluate the extent of coronary artery disease, its effect on heart function, and the best course of treatment.
Treatment of coronary artery disease
Treatment of coronary artery disease includes lifestyle changes, taking medications, invasive procedures and/or surgery, and seeing your doctor for regular check-ups.
- Reduce risk factors. If the patient smokes, he should quit smoking. You should avoid processed foods and focus on meals low in trans fats, meals low in salt, and meals low in sugar. Maintaining a controlled glucose level if the patient has diabetes. Regular exercise is best (but you should talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program).
- Take the medicine. If lifestyle changes fail to control heart disease, we may need medication to help the heart work more efficiently and get more oxygen-rich blood. The medication a patient takes depends on their particular condition and the specific problem with their heart.
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- Surgeries and other procedures. Common procedures for treating coronary artery disease include balloon angioplasty (PTCA), stent placement, and coronary artery bypass grafting. All of these actions increase the blood supply to the heart, but they do not cure coronary heart disease. The patient will still need to reduce risk factors to avoid other diseases.
Doctors are also looking at many innovative ways to treat heart disease. Here are some of the most promising:
Angiogenesis. It involves donating materials, such as stem cells and other genetic material, through a vein or directly into damaged heart tissue to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels by bypassing blocked vessels.
- EECP (Enhanced External Pulse Counter). Patients with chronic angina who do not respond to nitrate therapy or who do not qualify for various surgeries can find treatment this way. For outpatients, this procedure includes the use of treatment cuffs. It is placed on the leg, inflated and deflated, to increase blood flow to the coronary artery.
What if we had a coronary emergency?
We must learn to distinguish between the symptoms of heart disease and the conditions that cause them. We should contact our doctor if we start to have new symptoms or if they become more frequent or more severe. And if the patient has chest pain, especially if there is shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, nausea, or sweating. You should not wait more than a few minutes to get to the nearest hospital or clinic.
If a patient has angina and is prescribed nitroglycerin, they should call their doctor or have someone take them to the nearest emergency room if the pain persists after 2 doses (if taken at 5-minute intervals) or after 15 minutes.
Your doctor will ask you to chew an aspirin to help dissolve any potential blood clots. If there is no medical reason to avoid aspirin