Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the thinning or blockage of the coronary arteries, usually caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis (sometimes called “hardening” or “clogging” of the arteries) is the buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits (called plaques) on the inner walls of the arteries. These deposits can restrict blood flow to the heart muscle by clogging the artery. This result in reduced supply of blood to the heart, thus heart becomes starved of oxygen and the vital nutrients it requires to work properly. This can lead to chest pain called angina. If blood supply to a portion of the heart muscle is cut off entirely, or if the energy demands of the heart become much greater than its blood supply, a heart attack (injury to the heart muscle) may occur.
- It may feel heavy or like someone is squeezing the heart. There may be an uneasy feeling under breast bone (sternum), but also in neck, arms, stomach, or upper back.
- The pain usually occurs with activity or in emotional state, and goes away with rest or a medicine called nitroglycerin.
- Other symptoms include shortness of breath and fatigue with activity (exertion). Women, elderly people, and people with diabetes are more likely to have symptoms other than chest pain, such as:
- Shortness of breath
- General weakness
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Having a family history of CHD – the risk is increased
- High cholesterol levels in the blood
Tests may include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- A stress test :
Exercise stress test
Echocardiogram stress test
Nuclear stress test
- Coronary CT angiogram
- Coronary angiography – an invasive test that evaluates the heart arteries under x-ray
- Weight control
- Smoking cessation
- Avoiding the consumption of t fats
- Exercise such as walking, jogging, or swimming, can help decrease blood pressure and the amount of blood cholesterol over time.
- Decrease psychosocial stress
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains.
- Be more physically active. Healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way of maintaining a healthy weight.
- Having a healthy weight reduces chances of developing high blood pressure.
- Keep blood pressure under control by eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat, exercising regularly, and, if required, taking the appropriate medication to lower blood pressure.