Coronary Artery Disease: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Cardiovascular diseases are killing people at an alarming rate. Cardiac arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, aortic stenosis, and heart valve disease are the most commonly observed heart diseases and conditions among worldwide population. Prevalence of these heart diseases is increasing due to a sedentary lifestyle. According to medical experts, majority of heart problems and conditions can be prevented and treated successfully by making simple changes in daily routine life like exercising and quitting unhealthy eating habits.

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque starts to accumulate in the innermost layer of coronary arteries and adversely impact the normal functioning of heart. Cholesterol and fat deposits contribute to the development of plaque. It damages the arteries and reduces the flow of oxygenated blood to patient’s heart. This deteriorates their health condition and may lead to a serious heart attack.

Causes and Risk Factors of Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease may develop due to the following conditions.

  • Habit of Smoking – Smoking can narrow down the coronary arteries and result in serious coronary artery disease.
  • Hypertension – Hypertension or high blood pressure can harden the coronary arteries and affect the heart.
  • High Cholesterol Level – High cholesterol increases the formation of plaque and causes coronary artery disease.
  • Diabetes – Diabetes significantly increases the chances of coronary artery disease.

The following risk factors are associated with coronary artery disease.

  • Family History – It considerably increases the possibility of occurrence of coronary artery disease. Therefore, people with a family history of this condition must consult a cardiologist to ensure a healthy heart condition.
  • Sex – It has been observed that men are at greater risk of heart diseases including coronary artery disease.
  • Obesity – Obesity or being overweight doubles up the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Stress – Stress can damage patient’s arteries and give rise to life-threatening conditions.

Signs & Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

coronary-heart-disease-symptoms

The following list depicts the most common signs and symptoms of coronary artery diseases.

  • Chest pain and tightness
  • Burning sensation in arms, shoulders, throat or abdomen
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating or cold sweat
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Anxiety and fear

Patients experiencing these symptoms must seek an immediate appointment with a well-experienced cardiologist.

Diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease

Heart specialists or cardiologists will thoroughly check patient’s health status. They may ask the patients to reveal their medical history. In addition to this, surgeons usually order the following tests to determine the presence of coronary artery disease.

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan – Computerized tomography enables the cardiac surgeon to evaluate the internal body parts easily.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan – An MRI scan produces fine pictures of internal region of heart with the help of strong magnetic field and radio waves.
  • Electrocardiogram Test (ECG) – Any abnormality in functioning of heart can be easily detected with ECG. An electrocardiogram test keeps a check on electrical activity of heart and record patient’s heartbeat pattern
  • Echocardiogram Test (Echo) – Also known as ‘echocardiography’, echocardiogram procedure involves using sound waves to generate images of internal walls of coronary arteries.
  • Cardiac Catheterization – Surgeons can precisely check the condition of coronary arteries with the help of cardiac catheterization. It helps surgeons determine the extent of hardening of arteries.

Apart from these imaging tests, cardiac surgeons may order some blood tests to confirm the presence of coronary artery disease.

Treatment Options for Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease can be efficiently managed with the help of certain medicines, surgical procedures, and lifestyle changes.

  • Medications and Drugs – Surgeons may prescribe the following medicines and drugs to control the symptoms of underlying coronary artery disease.
  • Antiplatelet medicines
  • Diuretics
  • Beta Blockers like atenolol, nebivolol, and bisoprolol
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  • Nitrates including vasodilators and glyceryl trinitrate
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Surgical procedures – The enumerated surgical procedures may help the patients struggling with coronary artery disease.
  • Angioplasty with Stent PlacementAlso known as ‘percutaneous coronary revascularization’, angioplasty with stent placement is a medical intervention that involves insertion of catheter inside narrowed artery of patients. Catheter is a long, thin device used to place a stent inside the coronary artery. Stent is placed in such a way that it opens the hardened artery and allows normal flow of blood through it.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG) – This surgical method uses patient’s own blood vessel from a different area to make a bypass. This bypass route enables the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. It is mostly performed by traditional open heart procedure. Surgeons stop the functioning of heart with the help of medications and use a heart-lung device for carrying out the operation. Severely blocked arteries can be efficiently treated with this procedure.
  • Lifestyle Changes – Patients can follow the given guidelines to maintain a healthy heart following their surgical treatment.
  • Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol – It is a fact that habit of smoking and drinking alcohol in excessive quantity delays the healing procedure. Therefore, patients should quit drinking alcohol and smoking for a successful and smooth recovery.
  • Healthy Diet – It is extremely important to eat a diet containing fresh fruits and vegetables. Patients should avoid eating foods high in fat and salt to maintain good health.
  • Exercise Regularly – Daily exercise routine decreases the possibility of heart problems.

Questions to Ask Cardiac Surgeons about the Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease

coronary-heart-disease-FAQ

It is important for the patients to clear all their doubts regarding the treatment of coronary artery disease. Patients may ask the following questions to the respective cardiac surgeon during their initial appointment.

  • Can you please explain my diagnosis report?
  • What is coronary artery disease?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Can I get benefited from medications?
  • Do I require a heart surgery? If yes, which heart surgery do you recommend?
  • How much will it cost to undergo the suggested heart surgery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with the suggested surgical procedure?
  • How much time will it take for me to recover completely following my heart surgery?
  • What dietary restrictions will I need to follow after my surgery?
  • How often will I need to attend follow-up sessions?
  • What can I do to maintain a healthy heart condition in future?

Asking these vital questions before treatment will help patients understand the procedure along with its risks and complications.

Recovery Following Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease

Recovery following the two most significant surgical procedures for treatment of coronary heart disease is discussed below.

  • Angioplasty Surgery With Stent Placement – Patients may need to stay in the hospital for a day following an angioplasty procedure. They will be able to walk and carry out daily tasks with a couple of days. However, cardiac surgeons may not permit them to drive or lift heavy objects for few days following the surgery. This stent placement procedure normally requires a month for a full recovery. Cardiac surgeons usually prescribe medications like clopidogrel, rasugrel (Efient), or ticagrelor to patients for avoiding post-surgical complications. It has been observed that patients who maintain a healthy routine heal much faster as compared to other cases.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Procedure (CABG) – Patients may need to stay in the hospital for 5 – 6 days following their CABG surgery. The majority of patients experience weakness and tiredness for a couple of weeks. This condition will improve by taking prescribed medications and drugs. Patients will be able to get back to their normal routine within 4 weeks. However, complete recovery may take up to 3 months or more.

Outcomes of Coronary Artery Disease Treatment

Success ratio of both CABG as well as angioplasty surgery is quite high. Both the procedures are known to increase the flow of blood to heart. Patients need to follow the directions of respective cardiologists for maintaining long-term outcomes. These procedures improve heart condition and maximize patient’s quality of life.

Travcure Medical Tourism for Finest Heart Surgeries and Treatments

Travcure Medical Tourism is one of the highly acknowledged medical facilitators across the world. Healthcare consultants at Travcure are closely associated with prime medical institutes and hospitals in countries like South Korea, Turkey, Germany, United Arab Emirates, and India. Travcure makes sure that their international guests get the best available heart surgery and treatment at economical costs. They assist overseas patients throughout their medical trip and take care of their accommodation, food, and medical appointment with doctors. Additionally, they also provide recuperation packages to ensure a healthy recovery following heart surgery. International patients willing to undergo a quality surgery for coronary artery disease can highly rely on staunch services of Travcure Medical Tourism.

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