Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease, is a condition which causes the blockage or narrowing of the arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle, preventing the heart from getting the oxygen it needs. This blockage is caused by the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Many factors can contribute to coronary artery disease causes, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. Fortunately, there are certain lifestyle changes that we can make to help reduce our risk of developing this condition.
Coronary artery disease classification is based on whether the disease is chronic or acute. Depending on the form, there are two types of chronic artery disease.
Stable ischemic heart disease
This is a chronic form of CAD. Over the years, the coronary arteries narrow down, slowly reducing the supply of oxygenated blood in the body. Patients can live with this condition for many years without even knowing.
Acute coronary syndrome
This form of coronary artery disease is a medical emergency caused by the formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood to the heart. This sudden blockage causes a heart attack.
The most commonly observed coronary artery disease symptoms are as follows:
- Angina (chest pain)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing
- Heart Palpitations
- The feeling of heaviness or tightness around the chest area
- Pain in arm, neck, and shoulder area
- The feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea and stomach issues (indigestion)
The main cause of coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a build-up of plaque (which is made up of substances like cholesterol and fat) in the arteries. Plaque can harden and narrow the arteries over time, making it harder for blood to flow through them. The reduced blood flow can cause chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
A heart attack can occur when the flow of blood to the heart muscle is completely blocked. If blood flow is not restored quickly, the heart muscle starts to die.
There are several ways for coronary artery disease diagnosis. These include a physical exam, an electrocardiogram (EKG), and a stress test.
The doctor may also order a series of other tests and procedures, such as cardiac catheterization, computed tomography, coronary angiogram, and coronary calcium scan, to diagnose coronary artery disease.
Treatment for CAD depends on the severity of the disease. Different coronary artery disease treatment options include:
Our lifestyle plays a major role in managing coronary artery disease. By making certain lifestyle changes like quitting smoking (vaping, etc.), eating a healthy diet that is low in sodium, limiting our alcohol intake, and exercising regularly, we can better manage this condition.
Different types of medication are generally prescribed, including medication to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and to lower the risk of blood clot formation.
Medications for coronary artery disease include aspirin, beta-blockers, nitroglycerine, and statins.
Surgery for CAD includes angioplasty and stenting, which opens up the arteries, and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), which creates new arteries.
Coronary angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure where a balloon is used to reopen the blocked artery to restore blood flow. It may be followed by stenting to help the artery stay open.
While many factors contribute to the development of CAD, there are four major risk factors that are most closely associated with the disease.
Smoking and tobacco use
The first, and perhaps most important, coronary artery disease risk factor is smoking. Tobacco use is a major contributor to the development of CAD, and smokers are two to four times more likely to develop the disease than nonsmokers.
Hypertension, cholesterol, and family history of CAD
Other major risk factors for coronary artery disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a family history of CAD. People with any of these risk factors are more likely to develop CAD than those without them.
Age is another coronary artery disease risk factor. Men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55 have an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Being Obese or Overweight also contributes to the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Obesity can lead to hypertension and diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of developing CAD later in life.
Coronary artery disease affects around 21% of diabetic patients in India, whereas 11% of non-diabetics. These numbers are gradually increasing, making CAD highly prevalent among Indians.
Thus management of coronary artery disease becomes extremely crucial to ensure a better quality of life.
Here are some tips for better management of coronary artery disease:
- Quit smoking and using tobacco.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Track blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in sodium and rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients
- Exercise regularly
- Manage stress
- Limit the alcohol intake
Coronary artery disease is a common type of heart disease which causes the blockage or narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This can lead to a heart attack, angina (chest pain), or other heart problems.
It is extremely crucial to consult with a cardiologist if any of the aforementioned symptoms persist for a long time. Department of cardiology at the CK Birla Hospital is well equipped with all the modern facilities and technologies for faster and better diagnosis and treatment of all cardiovascular issues, including CAD.
Our team of physicians and cardiologists at the CK Birla Hospital are highly experienced and trained to work with a multidisciplinary approach to provide the best care for all cardiac emergencies.
Visit your nearest facility or book an appointment with Dr Sanjeeva Kumar Gupta today to consult with the best cardiologist in the country.