Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is one of the main causes of death in the world. It is responsible for killing millions of people each year in the United States alone. CHD is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, so it’s important to understand how to prevent, diagnose, and treat it. Prevention strategies include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, so it is important to recognize the symptoms and seek medical care as soon as possible. Treatment for CHD can range from lifestyle changes to medication and surgery, depending on the severity of the condition. By understanding how to prevent, diagnose, and treat CHD, you can reduce your risk of developing this dangerous condition and live a longer, healthier life.
What is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a condition in which the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrow and harden, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of blood clots. CHD can cause chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. CHD is one of the most common causes of death in the United States. CHD begins with fatty deposits called plaque on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This plaque is made up of cholesterol, other fats, and protein. Plaque can break off, causing blood clots that block arteries and prevent the heart from getting enough blood. CHD is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one death every 36 seconds.
How to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease
The best way to prevent coronary heart disease is to control your risk factors. That means making healthy choices and taking steps to improve your health.
- Know your risk factors. Some risk factors for coronary heart disease cannot be changed. Others can be modified by lifestyle choices and medical treatment.
- Eat a healthy diet. Some foods are good for the heart, while others are bad. Be sure to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and nuts. Limit your intake of red meat and avoid processed meats.
- Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic exercise, such as walking and swimming, can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Quitting smoking can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Keep your blood pressure Steady – A healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.
Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease
Symptoms of CHD usually include chest pain that feels like it is being pressed, squeezed, full, or painful. The location of the pain can vary depending on the type of CHD you have. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, abnormal heart rhythm, fatigue, nausea and sweating.
If you experience any of the following symptoms you should see a doctor as soon as possible,
If your doctor diagnoses you with coronary heart disease, they will perform a physical exam, take your medical history, and order diagnostic tests. Your doctor may recommend a combination of the following tests.
- Blood Test. Your doctor may order blood tests to measure your cholesterol level, blood glucose level (if you have diabetes), and blood clotting.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG). An electrocardiogram (EKG) records your heart’s electrical activity.
- Exercise Stress Test. An exercise stress test measures your heart rate, blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in your blood while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle.
- Imaging Test. Imaging tests use small amounts of radiation (such as X-rays) to make pictures of your internal organs and blood vessels.
Coronary Heart Disease Treatment
Treatment depends on the severity of your CHD. People who have mild or moderate CHD can often be treated with lifestyle changes. Healthy lifestyle changes can help lower your risk of CHD. Examples include eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking if you are a smoker, and getting enough physical activity.
Doctors may prescribe one or more medications to help lower your risk of heart attack or heart failure. Some examples include beta blockers, aspirin, statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and blood thinners. People with more severe forms of CHD often need medication or surgery.
Treatment by Surgical Way
- Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), CABG is an operation to widen narrowed coronary arteries. A doctor removes a piece of blood vessel from your leg or arm and connects it to a coronary artery to create a new path for blood flow.
- Coronary artery stenting, the doctor can insert a small metal tube called a stent to open a blocked coronary artery.
- Coronary artery bypass surgery, this operation is used for people who have extensive coronary artery disease.