Coronary heart disease is an abnormal condition of your heart caused due to the build up of plaque around the walls of your coronary arteries. The function of your arteries is to provide oxygen rich blood to your heart and its muscular walls. Formation of plaque inside your arteries disrupts the flow of blood to the heart, thus affecting its muscles as well. Also, plaque accumulation on the interior arterial walls narrows the coronary arteries resulting into decreased flow of blood to the heart.
Your coronary arteries carry blood from other parts of your body to the muscles of your heart. When you eat food items consisting of cholesterol, fats, calcium and many other components, they are carried by your blood to different parts of your body. If these components are present in your blood in a excessive quantity, they tend to accumulate on the walls of arteries carrying them. This leads to formation of plaque. Plaque can be formed out of cholesterol, fats, calcium or cellular waste products.
With the course of time, the formation of plaque on the inside of your arterial wall begins to harden. Hardened coronary arteries can rupture the arterial walls leading to the formation of blood clots. These blood clots can block the pathways of blood flow to your heart leading to serious heart problems like heart attack, angina, etc.
With life style changes, the rate of coronary heart diseases over the years has increased. However, there are many medical options to diagnose and treat such abnormal conditions. Individuals suffering from such diseases should follow all the necessary measures available to treat such harmful health condition before it leads to other health complications.
If your doctor observes symptoms of coronary artery disease, he might take some of the above mentioned tests to study about the condition of your arteries. Diagnostic tests are very helpful as they indicate the extent of formation of plaque on your arterial wall. Also, they can help your doctor to decide the treatment options for improving your medical conditions.
Tests that helps in the diagnosis of coronary heart disease (also known as coronary artery disease) include:
Stress test allows to measure your heart rate when it is subjected to stress. During this test, you are asked to workout on a treadmill while your doctor measures your heart rate. A stressful workout requires enough amount of oxygen and blood supply to your heart. However, individulas who have developed narrow arteries due to the formation of plaque fail to perform such stressful exercise.
Stress test can notify you about the following conditions if you are suffering from coronary heart disorder:
- Abnormal blood pressure change
- Pain in the chest
- Abnormal changes in the electrical activity of your heart
- Shortened breath
However, for older people, doctors can suggest other diagnostic measure as they cannot perform stressful exercise or run on a treadmill in order to test their heart under stress.
Chest X-ray is an imaging process use to visualize different structures and organs present inside your chest. This imaging test is performed to detect symptoms of coronary heart diseases. This test can also visualize your blood vessels, helping your doctors to find a blockage or blood clot condition if present.
If your health condition provide results that might show you are likely to have coronary heart disease, your doctors can perform coronary angiography procedure to learn and confirm it. This test is also medically termed as coronary angiogram.
The test involves usage of special type of X-rays and a dye to image the interior structures of your coronary arteries. Dye is injected to your system using cardiac catheterization technique. Cardiac catheterization is a method used to create an access point to your arteries with the help of a narrow, flexible tube called catheter. A day before the main angiography procedure, your doctor inserts this catheter tube in the blood vessel of your arm, neck or groin. This tube has its other end on the inside of the arteries. The other end is used to infuse dye for scanning through X-rays.
The main purpose of using a dye is to learn about the blood flow mechanism through your blood vessels. If the flow of blood is interrupted or reduced in certain areas of your blood vessels, it indicates the formation of plaque in such regions.
The electrical activity of the heart is studied using electrocardiogram test. The rhythm of your heartbeat is noted. The results of this tests gives you and idea if your heartbeat and the rhythm of your heart is stable or irregular. This test also provides the time slots and strength of the electrical signals that pass through your heart.
Echocardiography test is used to detect the functions of your heart as well as to determine the shape and size of your heart. This test utilizes sound waves to pass through your heart in order to learn about the functioning of your heart chambers. It also provides results on how strongly your heart muscles are contracting and the rate of your blood flow.
Blood tests are a mandatory procedure in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Blood tests detect the amount of chemicals and minerals present within your blood. For example, amount of fats, cholesterol, calcium, iron, etc. Excess or adequate amount of such chemicals can be a cause of any kind of disease.
Treatment measures include medications, therapy, dietary measures, exercise and surgical methods. Eating healthy can be the first step to improve your health. Exercising can maintain a balance between your body and mind. Functioning of your heart can be improved with breathing exercises.
Doctors suggest medications to patients suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Blood thinning medications help reduce complications in your blood vessels and heart, avoiding the chances of coronary heart diseases. However, if you are suffering from coronary heart diseases, it is advisable that you undergo angioplasty procedure in time. This surgical procedure can improve the quality of your life and reduce the chances of heart attack in future.
Angioplasty can be suggested to patients suffering from angina. Angina is a result of coronary heart diseases. Angioplasty procedure is a feasible treatment measure for such patients. This treatment procedure involves placing a balloon like structure inside your coronary arteries where plaque is formed. This balloon like tube, pushes the plaque outwards and releases it. A metal stent is placed at this site to open up and hold the artery back to its original size. This normalizes and improves the flow of blood. In some cases, doctors use drug eluting mesh tube (stent) that release medicines to stop the arterial walls from narrowing again.
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting or Heart Bypass Surgery is a surgical procedure to bypass the flow of your blood to maintain a regular flow. The surgical procedure involves grafting a blood vessel to the part of your blocked coronary artery and your aorta. This step directs the flow of blood to the newly grafted blood vessel instead of the narrowed coronary artery. Procedure and techniques of grafting blood vessels may differ depending upon the type of bypass surgery used. However, the main goal of this surgery is to improve the flow of blood to your heart without hampering any of its functionalities.
The above article speaks about coronary heart diseases and how it is caused. The article consists of diagnostic tests that can help you to learn about your diseased condition and its severity. It also consists of treatment measures that can help you deal with such abnormal conditions of your coronary arteries. Ensure that you inform your doctor if you are suffering from such a medical disorder. Timely management of such diseases can prevent future anomalies.