Ischemic Heart Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention


What is ischemic Heart Disease?

Ischaemic (or ischemic) heart disease is a disease characterized by the reduced blood supply to the heart. This condition occurs most often during exertion or excitement when the heart requires greater blood flow. Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary heart disease, is the most common cause of death in most western countries.

The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle and no alternative blood supply exists, so a blockage in the coronary arteries reduces the supply of blood to heart muscle. If you develop Ischaemic heart disease, the left ventricle in your heart will likely become enlarged, dilated, and weakened. This inhibits your heart’s ability to properly pump blood, which can lead to heart failure.

Ischemic Heart Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention Most ischaemic heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis, usually, present even when the artery lumens appear normal by angiography. Initially, there is sudden severe narrowing or closure of either the large coronary arteries and/or of coronary artery end branches by debris showering downstream in the flowing blood.
It is usually felt as angina, especially if a large area is affected.

The narrowing or closure is predominantly caused by the covering of atheromatous plaques within the wall of the artery rupturing, in turn leading to a heart attack (Heart attacks caused by just artery narrowing are rare).
A heart attack causes damage to the heart muscle by cutting off its blood supply.

According to mayo clinic, ischemic heart disease can be treated successfully with lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgical procedures. Even better, you can reduce your risk of ischemic heart disease by following heart-healthy practices, such as eating a low-fat, low-sodium diet, being physically active, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight.


Left untreated, ischemic heart disease may lead to severe heart damage. Heart damage can result in heart attack and shock and may be life-threatening. Seek immediate medical care in your country such as (911) in the USA. Your country medical emergency may differ.

What are the symptoms of ischemic heart disease?

You may experience ischemic heart disease symptoms daily or just occasionally. Common symptoms of Ischemic heart disease include chest pain, chest pressure, or shortness of breath other symptoms of Ischemic heart disease include:
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Chest pain, also known as angina
  • Heart palpitations
  • Swelling in your legs and feet, also known as edema
  • Swelling in your abdomen
  • A cough or congestion, caused by fluid in your lungs
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Clammy skin
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Pain in the neck or jaw
  • And weight gain.

The symptoms of Ischemic heart disease do not imply this condition only, it may be a symptom of other diseases too. If you develop these ischemic heart disease symptoms, seek medical care immediately to know the cause.

What is ischemic heart disease causes?

Ischemic heart disease causes are typically caused by a heart attack or coronary artery disease. Risk factors for these conditions include:
  • A family history of coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure, also known as hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Amyloidosis, a condition in which abnormal proteins build up in your tissues and organs, including blood vessels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood triglycerides
  • Physical inactivity
  • History of smoking tobacco
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

How is ischemic heart disease diagnosed?

If you visit your doctor and he/she suspects or discover you have Ischemic heart disease, he/she may be referred you to a heart specialist, also known as a cardiologist. They will take your medical history and perform a physical examination, and order further tests to develop their diagnosis.
For example, they may order:
  • blood tests to measure the level of cholesterols and triglycerides in your blood
  • An X-ray, CT scan, or MRI
  • An echocardiogram to evaluate your heart structure and function using ultrasound waves
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to record electrical activity in your heart
  • A stress test to monitor your heart’s ability.
  • myocardial biopsy to collect and analyze a small tissue sample from your heart muscle.

How is ischemic heart disease treated?

Treatment for ischemic heart disease begins with seeking medical care from your doctor. To determine if you have ischemic heart disease, your doctor will ask you to undergo several diagnostic tests.
Your doctor must first address the underlying cause of your condition in order to treat it. Most often the culprit is coronary artery disease. Doctors may recommend a combination of:
  • lifestyle changes
  • medications
  • surgery or other procedures

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. You’ll also be advised by your doctors or your fitness and wellness center to exercise in a way that is safe for your condition.
You should not smoke or reduce smoking if you are diagnosed with this condition or other similar disease related to the heart. Your doctor will probably advise you to quit and avoiding drugs and drinking less alcohol.

Medications for Ischemic Heart Disease: 

Your doctor may prescribe medications to help ease symptoms, prevent complications, and improve your heart function. Depending on your circumstances, they may prescribe:
  • A beta-blocker to reduce your blood pressure and heart rate
  • A calcium channel blocker to relax and widen your arteries and lower your blood pressure
  • An aldosterone inhibitor to lower your blood pressure and rid your body of excess fluid to help ease symptoms such as swelling and shortness of breath.
  • A blood thinner
  • Anti-ischemic agents such as ranolazine (Ranexa)
  • Antiplatelet drugs, which prevent the formation of blood clots
  • Nitrates, which dilate the blood vessels
  • Statins, which lower cholesterol
  • and other medication to treat high cholesterol.

Surgical procedures used to treat ischemic heart disease

Your doctor may also recommend surgery or other procedures involving your coronary arteries or other parts of your heart. For example, they may recommend:
  • Implantation of a pacemaker, defibrillator, or both to improve your heart’s electrical function
  • Atherectomy to remove plaque from your arteries
  • Balloon Angioplasty and stent placement (procedure to remove plaque and restore blood flow in clogged arteries)
  • Radiation therapy after the lumen of a prior placed arterial stent repeatedly narrows, to try to keep your artery lumen from narrowing again
  • Coronary artery bypass graft (a procedure that helps restore blood flow to the heart by routing the flow through transplanted arteries).

Prevention of Ischemic Heart Disease

You can decrease your chances of developing heart disease in the first place by maintaining a simple lifestyle.
For example:
  • Check your vital signs every day (Monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels).
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
  • At least few minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week.
  • Maintain your weight.
  • Don’t smoke tobacco too much or quit smoking or abuse drugs.
By practicing heart-healthy habits, you can lower your risk of developing coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease, and other cardiovascular conditions. If you’ve already developed heart disease, healthy lifestyle choices can help mitigate complications.

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Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Am Isreal olabanji a dental assistant and public health professionals and has years of experience in assisting the dentist with all sorts of dental issues. We regularly post timely and trustworthy medical information and news. My goal is to enlighten everyone in all aspects of health towards participating in fitness, Dental care, healthy recipes, child health, obstetrics, and more.


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