by AK Team
Coronary artery disease as the name itself suggests, is the diseases of the coronary artery in which a plaque buildup takes place in these arteries. The plaque is usually made up of cholesterol deposits.
Coronary arteries are the artery that supply blood and oxygen from the heart to the heart walls itself.
Over a period of time, this plaque that is build up in these arteries of the heart, grow more with time and causes narrowing of these arteries due to which these arteries are either partially or completely blocked due to this plaque. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease is also known as ischemic heart disease which is a type of cardiovascular disease.
This disease does not show up its signs and symptoms immediately and is a slow – growing long – term disease that keeps on building up over a period of time. One might not have any problem until the person observes any significant blockage of the artery or even heart attack. Though there a few number of treatments available for this, leading a healthy lifestyle might help in preventing as well as curing this disease.
TYPES OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
There are basically three types of these artery diseases. The type of disease indicates that exactly what kind of and at what stage the artery disease is progressing. Each type has its own causes, symptoms, diagnostic tests and various other factors. The three types of these artery diseases are listed below :
Obstructive coronary artery disease
- In obstructive artery disease, the coronary artery is completely blocked by gradual narrowing of the artery over a period of time.
- This gradual blockage of the artery occurs due to the build up of plaque
- This plaque is usually of cholesterol or of other fats
- Is some people this plaque may start building up as early as in their teens and the symptoms of blockage of the artery are seen many years afterwards, while in some people the plaque may start building up later in life but here also the symptoms of blockage of artery are seen after many years
Non – obstructive coronary artery disease
- In non – obstructive type of these artery diseases, the plaque that is formed do not block the artery completely they just do the narrowing of the artery and as a result the pressure of blood flowing in the artery increases
- In this type the arteries inappropriately constrict or malfunction after branching into tiny vessels or they are squeezed by any overlying heart muscle
- In non – obstructive artery diseases the stenosis of the coronary artery, that is the narrowing of the artery is less than 50 percentage
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD)
- In spontaneous coronary artery dissection or SCAD, the layers of the artery supplying blood and oxygen to the heart suddenly split up
- SCAD is an emergency health situation, that can eventually lead to a heart attack
- SCAD is most likely to occur during pregnancy or while giving birth as during that time the blood pressure changes extremely and goes really high and also several hormonal changes take place.
- All these above listed situations tend to tear up or to split up the coronary artery eventually
SYMPTOMS OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
Initially these artery disease do not cause any symptoms, and the person who is having this kind of disease do not know himself or herself that they are suffering from this disease. As the plaque takes years to build up similarly the symptoms of the disease also takes years to show up. Following listed are some of the symptoms that one might have if he or she is suffering from this disease :
- Angina pectoris ( chest pain)
- While having this as a symptom, the person might feel a heavy pressure or tightness in his or her chest as if someone is sitting on your chest
- The pain that is caused is termed as angina and it usually occurs on either the left or the middle side on the person’s chest
- The pain usually occurs while the person is doing any stressful activity
- The pain goes after three to four minutes when the person stops doing the stressful activity that was causing this pain
- Shortness of breath
- As the plaque is formed in the artery, it tends to either narrow or block the artery
- Therefore the amount of oxygen and blood that is supposed reach the heart does not reach
- Hence, as the artery is not able to fulfil the heart’s need of oxygen as blood, there might occur shortness of breath or extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath usually occurs while doing some work that is stressful for the entire body, for example exercise, etc.
- Heart attack
- When the coronary artery is blocked completely , it might lead to a heart attack
- Sometimes this heart attack can occur without any prior signs and symptoms
- Faster heartbeat
CAUSES OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASES
There are various reasons which might lead to the build up of fat, or tear of the coronary artery, or the damage and split up of the inner layer of the coronary artery. These reasons and factors are listed below :
- having diabetes
- insulin resistance
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- not being active (living a sedentary lifestyle)
- having a high fat diet
- having high levels of lipoprotein
- not exercising regularly
- being obese or being overweight
DIAGNOSIS OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
If a person is suspected to have coronary artery disease based upon the symptoms that he or she is developing, the doctor might suggest the patient to undergo the following diagnostic tests :
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Exercise stress test
- Nuclear stress test
- Cardiac catheterization and angiogram
- Cardiac computed tomography (CT) scan
TREATMENT OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE
There are quite a few treatments that are available for this disease. The kind of treatment a person received depends entirely on the type of disease he or she is having and at which stage of the disease the person is at. Some of the common treatments and medications that a person might consider while undergoing a treatment for this disease are listed below :
- Some simple and basic lifestyle changes
- Cholesterol – modifying medications
- Beta blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Angiotensin – converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angioplasty and stent replacement
- Coronary artery bypass surgery