Last Updated on 16 hours by Isreal Olabanji DST RN
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.
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.
- Related: The A-Z of Cardiac Symptoms
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?
- 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?
- A family history of coronary heart disease
- High blood pressure, also known as hypertension
- High cholesterol
- 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?
- 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?
- lifestyle changes
- surgery or other procedures
Medications for Ischemic Heart Disease:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Heart failure: Understanding heart failure. (2016).
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Calcium channel blockers.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017). Coronary artery disease.
- Heart attack. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/Heart-Attack_UCM_001092_SubHomePage.jsp
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