Patient's Complete Guide to Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Overview of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Coronary Artery Disease is characterized by the reduced blood supply to heart muscles due to blockage in arteries. People with high blood cholesterol are more vulnerable to this disease.

Signs and Symptoms 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 towards 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.

Types 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.

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

Risk Factors of Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Ischemic heart disease is caused by a slow buildup of plaque which accumulates in arteries over time and blocks them. The disease affects people suffering from atherosclerosis – a condition in which blood cholesterol deposits on the walls of arteries forming a plaque that restricts blood flow.

Another reason could be a heart attack that cuts off blood supply to the heart muscles.

Prevention

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 increases 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.
  • Obesity- Being overweight is one of the major causes of so many diseases and complications. Especially if the weight is extra on 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 diseases 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, chronic stress and don’t have time for exercise or access to proper healthcare.

Diagnosis

Your lifestyle modification can really help you in preventing and reducing the risk of 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 are a must in your diet. Opt for a diet plan with your healthcare provider regarding having foods that are healthy and rich in nutrients.
  • Maintain a Healthy Body Weight- Obesity and being overweight increase your risk of having heart diseases. You need to maintain 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.

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

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

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

Dr. Fayyaz Haider Hashmi, Cardiac Surgeon
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Dr. Khalid Rasheed

Speciality for Coronary Artery Disease (Artery Blockage)

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