Coronary heart disease:

Coronary artery disease ( CAD,ischemic heart disease,IHD,atherosclerotic heart disease,atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease )

Coronary artery disease is a hardening of the arteries within the arteries of the heart and it leads to a narrowing of the arteries as well as a reduction in the circulation of blood to the muscles of the heart and the symptoms associated with that. Thus it can cause circulatory disorders with accompanying chest pain (angina pectoris), a heart attack, or even sudden death from heart failure. A healthy lifestyle can make a huge contribution to avoid this happening.

Full Description

Coronary artery disease occurs when the major blood vessels, called coronary arteries, that supply the heart with nutrients, blood and oxygen become diseased or damaged. Deposits containing cholesterol in the arteries and inflammation are usually the reasons behind the condition since these deposits, called plaques, build up and narrow the coronary arteries. This decreases blood flow to the heart, causing shortness of breath, chest pain, or other symptoms and signs of coronary artery disease. A total blockage may trigger a heart attack. It can be difficult to notice the condition since coronary artery disease develops often over decades.

Symptoms

Chest pain, Chest tightness, Cold sweats, Blackening of vision, Heartburn, Shortness of breath, Tiredness, Weight gain, Abdominal pain, Back pain, Neck pain, Palpitations, Nausea, Feeling faint, Trouble understanding speech

Medical Conditions

Coronary artery disease is common predominantly in developed countries. Risk factors for coronary artery disease and the same as those for arteriosclerosis: high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, increased blood lipid levels (especially cholesterol), age, heart attacks (in related family members), diabetes, being overweight, a diet rich in calories and fats, lack of exercise, and high levels of stress. Decreased blood supply to the heart muscles leads to symptoms typical of angina pectoris with feelings of tightness in the chest and a pressure on the chest that radiates out to the throat or the left arm. Symptoms may feel similar to those of heartburn. Symptoms usually manifest during periods of effort, psychological stress, or in cold conditions and disappear within 15 minutes.

Treatment

If a plaque built up in a vessel detaches, the coronary artery is then closed and cause a heart attack, which is the dying off of part of the heart’s own muscles caused by lack of blood. Symptoms typically include intense, long-lasting angina pectoris that does not improve, accompanied by nausea, cold sweats, and shortness of breath. In the worst case, a heart attack can lead to death, so if the above mentioned symptoms occur it is an emergency situation and a hospital visit is necessary. In order to prevent coronary artery disease, it’s important to get regular daily exercise, eat a Mediterranean-style diet (little fat, lots of vegetables, fish, and fiber), avoiding nicotine (quitting is best), and keeping blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels in check. To clarify the causes for angina pectoris, you should visit a specialist in cardiology. Treatment depends on the severity of the disease (see the article on heart attacks).