Heart disease is a complex issue and one that cannot be completely expounded upon here. In any case, it is a serious problem and one that causes more hospitalizations yearly than any other health-related problem. This article is far from exhaustive; however, it will provide the more important aspects of the disease, warning signs, and things you can do to prevent further heart-related damage.
Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease (CAD) is defined as a constriction of the blood vessels responsible for supplying blood and oxygen to the heart. This narrowing occurs when a substance known as plaque forms and builds up in the vessels that lead to the heart. Plaque is a conglomeration of fat, protein and inflammatory cells. As plaque builds up in the vessels, blood flow becomes hindered and can either slow down or stop all together. The result of this radical obstruction of the flow of blood may result in angina or even a heart attack.
Knowing the symptoms of coronary heart disease can help you to identify the onset of potentially problematic issues regarding your own health or the health of a loved one. This list of symptoms is not exhaustive; therefore, if you experience an unusual symptom not mentioned here, seek immediate medical attention. It may be nothing, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. The symptoms of coronary heart disease include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Chest pain which has often been described as feeling like an elephant is sitting on your chest
- Feelings of discomfort, pressure, burning and/or numbness
- Pain that radiates to the left shoulder blade, arms, back, neck or jaw
There are many risk factors associated with coronary heart disease, most of which can be addressed in order to minimize the risk of heart-related health issues. Again, this list is not exhaustive. If you are concerned that a particular habit is putting you at risk for developing coronary heart disease, speak with your doctor or healthcare professional. The following is a list of potential risk factors associated with coronary heart disease:
- Diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia
- Substance abuse
- Unhealthy lifestyle
- Kidney disease
If one or more of the above risk factors apply to you, then it is important to begin implementing some changes in your lifestyle in order to minimize your risk of developing coronary heart disease. As previously mentioned, most of the risk factors such as smoking, substance abuse, obesity, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and living an unhealthy lifestyle can all be changed. If you have untreated diabetes, now is the time to get the help you need from an endocrinologist before you develop irreversible damage. Blood pressure and cholesterol can be regulated by diet, exercise and perhaps prescribed medication. If you struggle with smoking or alcohol/substance abuse, then seeking counseling or a treatment program would be most beneficial to you.
If your doctor has you on an aspirin regimen, then take as it has been prescribed to you. Make sure you are taking the proper strength aspirin as there are two available on the market today. If you have already been prescribed medication to help control your existing heart condition, make sure to follow your doctor’s advice. if you think you are at risk of developing a heart-related condition, speak to your doctor regarding your concerns and put together a preventive plan to minimize your potential risk.
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