Coronary heart disease is a medical condition that develops when the arteries of the heart gets less blood flow supply. The coronary arteries supply oxygen and nutrients to keep the heart muscle functioning. The reduced blood flow can narrow these arteries, eventually affect the heart’s performance.
Causes of Coronary Heart Disease
The cause of coronary heart disease is the buildup of cholesterol-containing plaque on the walls of your heart blood vessels. This results in narrowing of the blood vessels and lack of oxygen and nutrient supplies to the heart muscles, which will affect the heart’s performance. This condition can trigger symptoms of coronary heart disease, such as chest pain.
Smoking habits can also increase the risk of heart disease. This is due to the harmful and dangerous nicotine and carbon monoxide content in cigarettes. Active smoking can damage your heart by forcing it to work faster and harder.
When to See a Doctor for Coronary Heart Disease?
Chest pain is the most common symptom of coronary heart disease. You should consult a cardiologist if you experience chest pain. A cardiologist will be able to provide the right diagnosis as well as choice of medical treatment for you.
Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease
The diagnosis of coronary heart disease is done by carrying out anamnesis (a detailed medical interview), reviewing personal and family’s medical history, conducting direct physical tests and additional tests if necessary.
To provide a more accurate diagnosis, the cardiologist may order the following series of additional tests:
- EKG (Electrocardiography). EKG is a test performed to determine the flow of electricity in the heart and detect abnormalities in the rhythm and structure of the heart.
- Echocardiography. Echocardiography is a test using sound waves (ultrasound) to detect abnormalities in the valves and heart muscle.
- Pressure test (stress test). Pressure test is done to check the patient’s heart condition in an increased heart rate. To increase the heart rate, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill.
- Heart CT scan. This CT scan is to display images of your heart and coronary arteries. In addition, this x-ray examination can also detect calcium buildup in the coronary arteries
- Heart MRI. An MRI examination uses an MRI machine which will display an image of your body parts. The image will then be analysed by the doctor in order to diagnose the type of coronary heart disease suffered
- Cardiac catheterization. Cardiac catheterization is done by inserting a small tube (catheter) through a blood vessel in the arm / thigh to observe the location of blockage / narrowing of the heart arteries through X-rays.
Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease
Symptoms of coronary heart disease include:
- Chest pain (Angina). Symptoms of chest pain range from mild to severe. This chest pain is called “angina” and can last for several minutes. Pain in the left chest usually spreads to the neck, jaw, shoulder and left hand, back, left side of the stomach (usually considered a stomach ulcer).
- Cold sweats. You may experience cold sweats, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue when carrying out activities.
- Arrhythmia. Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) can lead to sudden cardiac arrest, and eventually to death, if not treated immediately
Treatment for Coronary Heart Disease
Patients who experience persistent chest pain will have to be taken to the emergency room immediately.
Medications to treat coronary heart disease can reduce blood cholesterol levels, aspirin, beta blockers and nitrates. As for surgery treatment, specialist doctors may perform coronary bypass surgery and cardiac catheterization.
To reduce the symptoms of coronary heart disease, it is advised that you start leading a healthy lifestyle. Instead of consuming foods that contain cholesterol, eat lots of foods high in fiber. You should also try your best to avoid stress, and get plenty of exercise.
Treatment Cost for Coronary Heart Disease
The treatment cost for coronary heart disease is usually determined after the doctor identifies the patient’s condition. Smarter Health can help you find specialist doctors and hospitals within your budget.
Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease
- Diet. Dietitians recommend coronary heart disease patients to reduce foods high in cholesterol such as oil, red meat, and sugary foods. It is recommended to eat lots of foods high in fiber.
- Sports. Perform regular exercise to maintain your heart health, breath patterns and reduce excess fat in your body. Doctors recommend exercising at least 30 minutes a day or 3-5 times a week.
- Quit smoking. Smoking causes an increased risk of coronary heart disease. The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes are very harmful to the heart and blood vessels. Quitting smoking can decrease the diseease’s risk recurrence. Get professional counseling if you need help to quit smoking.
- Routine Medical Check Ups. Prevention is better than cure. Hence, regular check-ups are important to help identify your current health condition. The sooner you know, the better your chances of getting healthy.
Treatment for Patients Diagnosed with Coronary Heart Disease
Caring for a person suffering from coronary heart disease may not be an easy task. Living a healthy lifestyle, constantly monitoring blood pressure, and reminding the patient to take medications regularly – are among the ways to help treat a patient diagnosed with coronary heart disease.
- Maintain a balanced diet. One of the ways to manage a healthy diet is to schedule a low cholesterol meal plan. Reduce consumption of fried foods, red meat, and consume lots of fish.
- Get regular exercises. Exercise has many benefits for coronary heart disease patients. If you exercise for 30 minutes every day, it can improve your blood circulation, reduce excess fat, and regulate better breathing patterns to reduce stress
- Consume medicines regularly. This is also important for patients with coronary heart disease. If you skip medication, the risk recurrence is increased.