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Heart Disease

Heart Disease also known as Coronary Artery Disease is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.

Causes:

Coronary heart disease usually results from the build up of fatty material and plaque, a condition called atherosclerosis. As the coronary arteries narrow the flow of blood to the heart can slow or stop, causing chest pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms.

Factors that increase risk:

  1. Family history of coronary heart disease
  2. Smoking
  3. High blood pressure
  4. Diabetes
  5. High cholesterol levels (Specifically high LDL cholesterol)
  6. Sedentary lifestyle
  7. Obesity

Symptoms:

Chest pain is the most common symptom.
Shortness of breath.

Heart attack -
blood clot blocks the blood flow of the coronary artery to the heart.

Tests to confirm: 
E.C.G.
Exercise stress test.
Echocardiogram.
Coronary Angiography.

Treatment:

Lifestyle changes must include:

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Eating a heart healthy diet which avoids saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats. A Mediterranean diet that uses olive oil can reduce the risk of heart attack.
  • Strict control of diabetes
  • Quit smoking

Medications may include:

  • Cholesterol lowering medication such as “statins”.
  • Aspirin which will thin the blood and reduce blood clots.
  • Beta blockers to decrease heart rate.
  • Nitroglycerin to dilate coronary arteries.
  • Ace inhibitors, diuretics to lower blood pressure

Expectations: (Prognosis)

The outcome is different for every person. Some people can maintain a healthy heart by changing their lifestyle i.e. good diet, stopping smoking and taking medication as long as they are closely monitored. Others may require medical or surgical procedures.

It is essential to detect C.H.D early for the best outcome.