What you need to know about coronary heart disease

  • By Team TDO

India will be the 'World Capital' for heart diseases soon. There are an estimated 45 million patients of heart disease in India. By year 2020, it will account for 1/3rd of all deaths; many of these will be dying young. If you're like most people and you think that heart disease is a problem for other folks, open your eyes and face the facts.

The heart is the most important organ of our body that beats 100,000 times per day to pump about 2,000 gallons of blood.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, includes a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart and blood vessels.This includes heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), heart problems by birth (congenital heart defects), and coronary artery problems (atherosclerosis).

Cardiovascular disease refers to conditions which involve narrowed and blocked blood vessels that can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. There are also many other conditions like infections which affect heart muscles, valves and the beating rhythm.

Of these coronary heart disease is increasingly becoming common. It is caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to your heart. This may also be called hardening of arteries. Fatty material and other substances form a plaque buildup on the walls of your coronary arteries (arteries bring blood and oxygen to heart), leading to narrowing of arteries and the blood flow to heart slows or stops.

Increasing age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, family history of heart diseases, lack of exercise, diabetes, obesity, poor diet and high stress increases the risk of contracting coronary heart diseases.

Symptoms

In some cases the symptoms are noticeable, but sometimes you can have the disease and not have any symptoms, especially in the early stages. Chest pain or discomfort suggests that the heart is not getting enough blood or oxygen. Heaviness in chest, squeezing pain in chest, neck, arms, stomach, or upper back are the alarming signs. The pain tends to disappear with rest/medicine. Other symptoms include shortness of breath and fatigue on performing the simplest of activity.

Complications

Complications of heart disease include: cardiac arrest, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.

Tests to diagnose the heart disease:

Blood tests, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, cardiac catheterisation, heart biopsy, cardiac CT scan and cardiac MRI.

Prevention and treatment

Heart disease treatment includes lifestyle changes, medication, surgery and some medical procedures as a part of treatment.


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