Published on September 26th, 2013 | by dc0
How To Recognize The Symptoms Of Coronary Heart Disease
Heart disease affects hundreds of thousands of people every year and is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. The condition affects the circulation system and develops over time. Individuals who can identify the symptoms of coronary heart disease have a better chance of survival if they seek immediate medical treatment.
The condition occurs when plaque clogs the major arteries to the heart. This restricts the flow of nutrient rich blood and oxygen. In the most severe cases, it becomes life threatening and leads to organ failure.
The plaque that builds up on the inner walls of the arteries consists of fat, calcium, cellular waste, and cholesterol. As plaque accumulates, the arteries narrow and harden blocking blood flow. If the plaque ruptures, there is danger of a blood clot forming on the surface and further narrowing the artery.
When the arteries affected are responsible for feeding the muscles that control the heartbeat, the muscles become weak. When the body is unable to receive the blood it needs to function properly, failure occurs. Arrhythmia is an irregular rhythm and rate of the heartbeat and is one early sign of possible organ failure.
If blood flow to the muscles is blocked completely, a heart attack occurs. Restoring circulation immediately is necessary to prevent the muscles from dying. If a patient fails to receive immediate treatment, the attack can cause future health problems or even death.
Chest pain, or angina, is the most common symptom of this condition. Some people describe the pain as an intense pressure under the sternum but it can also affect the arms, stomach, upper back, or neck. Sometimes the pain occurs with vigorous activity or emotion. Additional symptoms include fatigue associated with exertion and difficulty breathing.
Individuals diagnosed with CHD receive treatment to relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the arteries. Making certain lifestyle changes can prevent the disease from progressing to the point of a fatal attack. Certain medical procedures can widen clogged arteries or bypass them to route blood through undamaged arteries.
Individuals can reduce their risk of a catastrophic failure by controlling weight, increasing physical activity and consuming a healthy diet. Nutritionists recommend a diet low in foods containing saturated fats and cholesterol. Consuming foods rich in soluble fiber helps prevent the digestive system from absorbing cholesterol. Fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids can prevent inflammation and the formation of blood clots.
Regular exercise can reduce certain risk factors, including excess weight, elevated blood pressure, and high levels of LDL cholesterol. At the same time, it increases HDL cholesterol and prevents diabetes, another risk factor for developing CHD. Health benefits increase with higher levels of physical activity.
Because plaque buildup occurs slowly over time, early damage can occur with no symptoms. Individuals must do what they can to reduce the risk of cardiac failure. Recognizing the symptoms of coronary heart disease and seeking immediate medical treatment can mean the difference between life and death.