- Abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias
- Aorta disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Heart muscle disease/ cardiomyopathy
- Heart valve disease
- Pericardial disease
- Vascular disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD)
Definition and etiology
CAD is the thinning of coronary arteries which are the main blood vessels that transport blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. Atherosclerosis, hardening, or clogging is largely responsible for the disease as it involves the accumulation of fat deposits also referred to as plague in the arterial walls. As a result, the flow of blood into the heart becomes restricted (Heusch, Gerd, et al. 1938). Some of the factors that contribute to the narrowing down of CAD include smoking, hypertension, diabetes, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Signs and symptoms
Chest pain or angina on the left side is one of the most common symptoms of CAD. The pain normally occurs when a person experiences physical or emotional stress and stops after disengaging in the activity (Heusch, Gerd, et al. 1938). A person may also have shortness of breath. This is often due to the heart’s inability to pump sufficient blood. Another major symptom of CAD is a heart attack.
How CAD is diagnosed
Electrocardiogram, abbreviated as ECG is mainly used by cardiologists to determine the presence of CAD. It is a test that measures the heart’s electrical activity when in motion and during rest by recording the electrical signals (Heusch, Gerd, et al. 1939). A doctor may also diagnose CAD using an echocardiogram which utilizes sound waves to generate heart images, making it easy for them to detect any abnormalities.
Making lifestyle adjustments is the main way in which CAD can be treated. This can be achieved through, for instance, quitting smoking, losing weight, managing stress, exercising, and eating a diet low in cholesterol. Medications, such as cholesterol-modifying drugs, aspirin, and beta blockers are also prescribed for CAD patients. Taking omega-3 fatty acid is also another alternative medicine often used to prevent inflammation which is a risk factor to the development of CAD (Heusch, Gerd, et al. 1941). Moreover, certain surgical procedures can be performed in severe cased of CAD. For instance, a coronary artery bypass operation and percutaneous revascularization are some of the procedure that can be used to manage CAD.
The usual prognosis for CAD patients
With proper management, that is, engaging in regular physical exercise and eating foods low in fats the plague can reduce significantly hence, improving the heart’s health. On the other hand, id CAD is detected late, patients risk dying. Even when they opt to undergo a coronary artery procedure, it still risky and they may not survive.
Heusch, Gerd, et al. “Cardiovascular remodelling in coronary artery disease and heart failure.” The Lancet 383.9932 (2014): 1933-1943.