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Coronary Heart Disease – All you need to know
February 17, 2021
Coronary-Heart-Disease

As per WHO (World Health Organization) estimates, Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the number one cause of death globally, causing the death of 17.9 million patients annually, with the number increasing at a shocking and alarming rate.

Cardiovascular diseases or CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions. Four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, and one-third of these deaths occur prematurely in people under 70 years of age. Over three-quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.

Most of the CVDs can be prevented by awareness, vigilance, proper behavior towards risk factors, and adoption of an adequate lifestyle. As it is rightly said “Prevention is Better Than Cure”

Understanding, the global prevalence of Heart Diseases, it necessary to be aware of the occurrence of coronary heath disease, the risk factors, and treatment options, which might save the life of your dear ones.

What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the disease of blood vessels supplying the blood to the heart muscles. The main culprit of CHD is the process of narrowing (stenosis) of inner lumen of the blood vessels. The inner lumen of the blood vessels gets narrowed/obstructed with the build-up-of fatty deposits (plaque), over the period of time. The narrowed portion of the blood vessels, restricts the flow of the blood, which eventually, causes the death of the part of heart muscles cells, called as Cardiomyocytes. This is called Heart attack or Myocardial infarction (MI). The heart attack is the first symptom of coronary artery disease. A heart attack may be severe enough to cause death or it may be silent. As many as one out of every five people have only mild symptoms or none at all, and the heart attack may only be discovered by routine electrocardiography done some time later.

Risk factors of Coronary Heart Disease

A. Risk factors that are out of your Control

  • Age and gender: The risk of CHD increases with age, as the plaque builds up over a period of time.  According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the risk for women increases at age 55. The risk for men increases at age 45.
  • Ethnicity: In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for most ethnicities.
  • Family history: The risk of CHD increases if your very close family member has it.

B. Risk factors that are in your Control

Many risk factors for CHD are controllable.

  • Smoking: Smoking tobacco products, increases the risk of CHD many folds, even if other risk factors do not exist. Quit Smoking!
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels: High, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and low, High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are the critical risk factors of CHD.

Your doctor will be checking, different cholesterol levels in your bloodstream to see if they are too high or low. If you have any type of cholesterol level abnormality, your doctor will be able to help you to have an effective plan for achieving the normal levels of cholesterol.

  • High blood pressure

Blood pressure is a measurement of pressure on the blood vessels when blood is flowing through them in relation to the heart’s motion of pumping or resting.

It is your aim to keep your blood pressure consistently below 120/80 mmHg. Systolic blood pressure is the top number. Diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number.

Stage 1 hypertension is defined as systolic blood pressure over 130 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure over 80 mmHg, or both. If you have high blood pressure, it is recommended that you start changing your lifestyle to lower the blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are quite effective and give positive outcomes.

  1. Lose some weight, if you are overweight or obese.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Restrict the amount of alcohol
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
  5. Quite smoking
  6. Stress management with mediation or yoga

If these changes do not work, then ask your doctor for medication to lower your blood pressure.

  • Physical inactivity

Exercise helps lower your risk of CHD by: 

  1. lowering blood pressure
  2. raising HDL cholesterol
  3. strengthening your heart so it works more efficiently
  • Being overweight or obese

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of CHD remarkably. Carrying too much weight is often associated with high blood pressure.

Treatment Options of Coronary Heart Diseases (CHD)

Treatment for coronary artery disease usually involves lifestyle changes and, if necessary, drugs and certain medical procedures.

A. Lifestyle changes

Changing the lifestyle can reduce the risk of CHDs by making your blood vessels healthier

  1. Lose some weight, if you are overweight or obese.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Restrict the amount of alcohol
  4. Eat a healthy diet.
  5. Quit smoking
  6. Stress management with mediation or yoga

B. Drugs

Various drugs can be used to treat coronary artery disease, including:

  1. Cholesterol-modifying medications. These medications reduce bad cholesterol levels. A wide range of such medications is available, including statins, niacin, fibrates, and bile acid sequestrants.
  2. Aspirin. Your doctor may recommend taking a daily aspirin or other blood thinners. This can reduce the tendency of your blood to clot, which may help prevent obstruction of your coronary arteries.
  3. Beta-blockers.These drugs slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure, which decreases your heart’s demand for oxygen.
  4. Calcium channel blockers. These drugs may be used with beta-blockers if beta-blockers alone are not effective. These drugs can help improve symptoms of chest pain.
  5. Ranolazine. This medication may help people with chest pain (angina).
  6. Nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin tablets, sprays, and patches can control chest pain by temporarily dilating your coronary arteries and reducing your heart’s demand for blood.
  7. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). These drugs decrease blood pressure and may help prevent the progression of coronary artery disease.

C. Procedures to restore and improve blood flow

If the condition is not managed by the above two options, surgical procedures are needed. Here are some options:

  1. Angioplasty and stent placement (percutaneous coronary revascularization)

Your doctor inserts a long, thin tube (catheter) into the narrowed part of your artery. A wire with a deflated balloon is passed through the catheter to the narrowed area. The balloon is then inflated, compressing the deposits against your artery walls. A stent is often left in the artery to help keep the artery open. Most stents slowly release medication to help keep the arteries open.

2. Coronary artery bypass surgery

A surgeon creates a graft to bypass blocked coronary arteries using a vessel from another part of your body. This allows blood to flow around the blocked or narrowed coronary artery. Because this requires open-heart surgery, it’s most often reserved for people who have multiple narrowed coronary arteries.

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