Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Overview of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Ischemic Heart/ Coronary Artery Disease (ایسکمیک دل کی بیماری) is a condition in which heart muscles are supplied with reduced blood flow due to complete or partial blockage in arteries.

The heart requires high blood flow during excitement or physical exertion but if coronary arteries are blocked inadequate blood flows toward heart muscles causing chest pain and even death in severe cases. It is also known as coronary heart disease because the coronary arteries supply blood to the heart.

Ischemic heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, especially in western countries.

Signs and Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Blocked coronary arteries fail to provide enough blood to the heart which in turn results in oxygen shortage. Due to the low levels of oxygen reaching the heart muscles a variety of symptoms may appear. Signs and symptoms might vary in individuals regarding the intensity of the disease. 

A few common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea), feeling pressure in the chest 
  • Chest pain extending towards arms, back, and other areas
  • Indigestion issue (particularly in females)
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Neck and jaw pain
  • Shoulder pain 
  • Cold sweat, dizziness, or even unconsciousness 

Types of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Causes of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)


Risk Factors of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Not everyone at risk will develop ischemic heart disease.  However, people who are highly vulnerable might have certain risk factors. You need to talk to your medical healthcare provider about your personal risk of ischemic heart disease and how to reduce the risk. 

Following are the potential risk factors for Ischemic heart disease:

  • High Blood Pressure- Your chances of suffering from ischemic heart disease increase three times if you have a high BP issue.
  • Smoking- People who smoke 4 cigarettes a day are 7 times more likely to develop heart disease. So it’s better to quit smoking.
  • Diabetes- Women who suffer from diabetes are 7 times more likely to develop any heart disease as compared to men. People with diabetes, in general, are more prone to ischemic heart disease.
  • High Cholesterol Level- Coronary arteries are narrowed due to increased use of bad LDL cholesterol and contribute to developing ischemic heart disease and various high cholesterol diseases.
  • Obesity- Being overweight is one of the major causes of so many diseases and complications. Especially if the weight is extra above the waist.
  • Family History- If someone has a family history of heart disease then his/her risk of having ischemic heart disease also increases. Women are at greater risk if anyone from their family had heart disease.
  • Menopause- After menopause, the hormonal level in a woman's body fluctuates. Especially the level of estrogen drops while the levels of her blood fats and cholesterol increase. Therefore, after menopause, the risk of heart disease increases in women as compared to men. 
  • Physical Inactivity- Regular exercise is a must for the proper functioning of the heart and body. Physical inactivity leads to obesity, low levels of good cholesterol, stress, and high blood pressure. 
  • Psychological Issues- Anxiety, depression, stress, isolation, and other mental health issues lead to higher chances of suffering from ischemic heart disease. Stress alone can force the heart to work harder and can even make your blood pressure worse.                     
  • Poverty- Low income is linked with a higher rate of coronary heart disease. People with low income also mostly suffer from diabetes, high BP, and chronic stress and don’t have time for exercise or access to proper healthcare. 



Your lifestyle modification can really help you in preventing and reducing the risk of coronary artery disease or ischemic heart disease.

Following are simple yet effective lifestyle changes that would help you avoid developing ischemic heart disease.

  • Healthy Diet - Adding fresh vegetables and fruits is a must in your diet. Opt for a diet plan with your healthcare provider regarding foods that are healthy and rich in nutrients.
  • Maintain a Healthy Body Weight - Obesity and being overweight increase your risk of having heart disease. You need to maintain a healthy body weight. You can reach out to your healthcare provider for a personalized diet plan and exercises to maintain your body weight.
  • Avoid Smoking - Smoking is a silent killer. Not only smoking increases your risk of various heart illnesses. Quitting smoking will help you in so many ways.
  • Exercise - You need to do exercise at least 20 minutes a week to keep your heart healthy and fit.
  • Get Enough Sleep - Getting enough sleep of about 8 hrs daily is good for your overall health. Adequate sleep keeps your blood vessels and heart healthy. Sleeping less can increase the risk of pulmonary hypertension, high blood pressure, stroke, and various heart diseases. 


Your doctor will ask you for your medical history to identify cardiovascular risks such as diabetes and hypertension issues. Then the doctor will proceed with the physical examination of the chest to determine the type of chest pain.

Diagnostic tests are another way to make further clarification for a proper diagnosis which include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiography and ultrasound to measure the size of the heart
  • Cardiac stress test (Ergometry)
  • Electrocardiogram (to determine the heart’s electrical activity)
  • Blood tests

Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage) | When to Consult a Doctor

Treatment methods for ischemic heart disease include medication and surgery. Medicines used to treat ischemic heart disease include:

  • Ranolazine (Ranexa) acts as an anti-ischemic agent
  • Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is antiplatelet which reduces the chances of blood clot formation.
  • Beta-blockers – reduce the oxygen requirements of the heart by maintaining a lower heart rate.
  • Nitroglycerine to dilate heart arteries 
  • Statins and calcium channel blockers ease heart muscles and lower cholesterol
  • Surgical procedures are opted for conditions when medication doesn’t work or show no improvement in a patient’s condition. Two methods of surgery are commonly used for treating ischemic heart disease which includes:
  • Angioplasty- This procedure is employed to remove the plaque from clogged arteries by stent placement.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft – This procedure is opted when more than one artery is blocked. The surgeon uses the patient’s own veins and arteries as a secondary circulation system and sews a functional one to the diseased artery. 

If you are experiencing repeated episodes of pain in your arm, shoulder, or chest it might be an early sign to start to care for your heart. For proper consultation and diagnosis, reach out to Pakistan’s best cardiologists via Heathwire. pk