treatment Heart Disease    treatment Cholesterol    treatment Heart Disease Fact    prevention Heart Disease Treatment    HOME

coronary treatments

Coronary Heart Disease



Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CHD is also called coronary artery disease.

Causes of Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is usually caused by a condition called atherosclerosis, which occurs when fatty material and other substances form a plaque build-up on the walls of your arteries. This causes them to get narrow. As the coronary arteries narrow, blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop. This can cause chest pain ( stable angina), shortness of breath, heart attack, and other symptoms, usually when you are active.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the United States for men and women.

Many things increase your risk for heart disease:

Higher-than-normal levels of inflammation-related substances, such as C-reactive protein and fibrinogen are being studied as possible indicators of an increased risk for heart disease.

Increased levels of a chemical called homocysteine, an amino acid, are also linked to an increased risk of a heart attack.

Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease

Symptoms may be very noticeable, but sometimes you can have the disease and not have any symptoms.

Chest pain or discomfort (angina) is the most common symptom. You feel this pain when the heart is not getting enough blood or oxygen. How bad the pain is varies from person to person.

Women, elderly people, and people with diabetes are more likely to have symptoms other than chest pain, such as:

Many tests help diagnose CHD. Usually, your doctor will order more than one test before making a definite diagnosis.

Tests may include:

Treatment for Coronary Heart Disease

You may be asked to take one or more medicines to treat blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels. Follow your doctor's directions closely to help prevent coronary artery disease from getting worse.

Goals for treating these conditions in people who have coronary artery disease:

Treatment depends on your symptoms and how severe the disease is. Your doctor may give you one or more medicines to treat CHD, including:

NEVER ABRUPTLY STOP TAKING ANY OF THESE DRUGS. Always talk to your doctor first. Stopping these drugs suddenly can make your angina worse or cause a heart attack.

Procedures and surgeries used to treat CHD include:

Lifestyle changes are very important. Your doctor may tell you to:

Outlook / Prognosis for Coronary Heart Disease

Everyone recovers differently. Some people can maintain a healthy life by changing their diet, stopping smoking, and taking medications exactly as the doctor prescribes. Others may need medical procedures such as angioplasty or surgery.

Although everyone is different, early detection of CHD generally results in a better outcome.

Possible Complications of Coronary Heart Disease

When to Contact a Medical Professional

If you have any of the risk factors for CHD, contact your doctor to discuss prevention and possible treatment.

See your health care provider regularly.

Immediately contact your health care provider, call the local emergency number (such as 911), or go to the emergency room if you have:

Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease

Tips for preventing CHD or lowering your risk of the disease:

Moderate amounts of alcohol (one glass a day for women, two for men) may reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. However, drinking larger amounts does more harm than good.

If you have one or more risk factors for coronary heart disease, talk to your doctor about possibly taking an aspirin a day to help prevent a heart attack or stroke. You may be prescribed low-dose aspirin therapy if the benefit is likely to outweigh the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.

New guidelines no longer recommend hormone replacement therapy, vitamins E or C, antioxidants, or folic acid to prevent heart disease. The use of hormone replacement therapy in women who are close to menopause or who have finished menopause is controversial at this time.