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Coronary Heart Disease

What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) refers to the narrowing of the arteries and blood vessels that supply oxygen and blood to the heart. It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide affecting the adult population. Often known as coronary artery disease, the condition is used to describe a variety of diseases that affect the functioning of the heart.  

How is Coronary Heart Disease Caused?

The primary cause of coronary heart disease is associated with the build-up of fatty deposits called plaques that accumulate on the artery walls. Gradually, the plaques begin to cause congestion which obstructs the blood flow to the heart. CHD may also be caused due to blood clots, known as coronary occlusion. 

Besides high cholesterol, there are several risk factors that contribute to the congestion which can lead to coronary heart disease. Some of the risk factors such as - 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney diseases
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • High triglycerides
  • Preeclampsia
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
  • High triglycerides
  • Autoimmune diseases

What are the Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease symptoms can mimic other conditions which can create a feeling of panic among the patients. Common symptoms include chest pain and breathlessness. However, depending on the medical condition of the patient, some symptoms may be silent and are not discovered until diagnosed. Common coronary heart diseases symptoms include the following-

  • Angina which may cause a feeling of squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightening, burning and aching across the chest
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Uneasiness
  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Weakness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

Get in touch with the doctor in case you are experiencing any of the symptoms as it can increase the risk of a heart attack. 

How Is Coronary Heart Disease Diagnosed?

Diagnosis for coronary heart disease usually involves a combination of physical examination and diagnostic tests. The doctor will assess the risk for cardiovascular diseases, heart attack or stroke by examining your medical or family history and checking your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Furthermore, the doctor may recommend diagnostic tests that can confirm CHD. Coronary heart disease diagnosis includes imagining tests and lab tests like - 

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Holter monitor
  • Echocardiogram
  • Coronary angiography
  • Coronary catheterization
  • Exercise stress tests
  • Nuclear ventriculography
  • Cardiac CT scan
  • MRI
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Radionuclide tests

What Is the Treatment for Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease treatment aims at reducing the risks that can cause congestion in the arteries carrying blood to the heart. It involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and in severe cases, surgery. Medications and lifestyle changes may not treat coronary heart disease but can help manage the symptoms and prevent a fatality. Surgical procedures, on the other hand, can provide long-term health benefits and improve quality of life.

In some patients, the coronary heart condition can lead to a heart attack which requires immediate attention. In such scenarios, surgical intervention becomes inevitable. The doctor may recommend the following measures for coronary heart disease treatment depending on the medical condition of the patient - 

  • Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes - Patients with unhealthy lifestyles directly impact heart health increasing the risk of developing coronary heart diseases. Here are some lifestyle changes that can help you manage coronary heart disease symptoms -
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Be physically active
    • Quit smoking
    • Limit alcohol
    • Get enough sleep
    • Eat healthily
    • Manage stress
  • Medications - Certain medicines can help manage mild to moderate symptoms that can contribute to coronary heart disease. Some of the drugs recommended by the doctor for managing the discomfort include the following -
    • Cholesterol drugs
    • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
    • Beta-blockers
    • Blood thinning medications
    • Nitroglycerin patches, sprays, or tablets
    • Calcium channel blockers
    • Statins
  • Surgical Procedures - Doctors generally recommend surgery when the conventional methods are ineffective against coronary heart diseases. Doctors often recommend surgical procedures when the coronary heart disease symptoms are severe and may lead to heart attack, stroke or even death. Surgical procedures include -

How Can I Prevent Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease prevention involves reducing the buildup of cholesterol and other fat in the arteries carrying blood to the heart. The doctor may recommend dietary changes and lifestyle habits from time to time depending on the severity of symptoms for a healthy heart. Here are some preventive measures that can promote a healthy heart and prevent CHD - 

  • Control blood cholesterol level
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Avoid foods containing excessive fat, sugar and salt
  • Quit smoking


What causes high cholesterol?

High cholesterol levels are caused due to excessive intake of saturated fat in the diet. This can lead to congestion in the arteries carrying blood and oxygen to the heart. Moreover, processed foods containing trans fats can also lead to higher cholesterol levels. 

Can coronary heart disease cause complications?

Yes, untreated coronary heart disease can cause the following complications - 

How can I choose the best doctor for my coronary heart disease?

The best doctor for your coronary heart disease must specialize in performing advanced heart surgeries. Since heart diseases are common in the older population, the doctor must also have experience in treating patients with comorbidities for a high success rate. 


Are females at a higher risk of coronary heart disease?

The risk of coronary heart disease increases for women after their menopause. Coronary heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death in women aged 40 to 60. Get in touch with the doctor for regular heart checkups to avoid the risk of heart congestion. 

Can coronary heart diseases cause heart attacks?

Coronary heart disease can cause a heart attack if the congestion in the arteries causes significant blood clots. Prolonging the treatment can cause heart muscles to die which can gradually lead to heart attack, stroke or even death. 

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