Written by Deepak Kumar Nayak and Aryan Pratyush Nayak and Guided by Dr. Anand Agarwal.
The coronary arteries refer to the blood vessels that supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. When these major blood vessels get damaged or contaminated, the condition it develops is known as Coronary Artery Disease.
This condition is generally caused due to Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is nothing but lumps of cholesterol and fatty deposits (plaques) inside the arteries. The plaque deposits can narrow the walls of arteries, damage them, and restricts the blood flow to your heart. Eventually, it leads to chest pain (Angina), and a complete blockage can cause a heart attack.
Coronary artery disease gets initiated at a very young age when the deposits start developing in the lining of the blood vessels. But with growing age, these deposits get combined with proteins, calcium, and cellular waste present in the bloodstream to form plaque.
Since coronary artery disease is resulted due to blockages in the heart arteries, it can result in some specific symptoms that, if are monitored and analyzed will give fruitful results:
- Angina Pectoris: Angina pectoris is the chest pain associated with any heart abnormality. If a person is experiencing Angina, then there are greater chances that blockages in heart arteries have started to develop. The pain usually occurs in the middle or left part of the chest and is associated with tightness or pressure on the chest. It can be triggered by emotional or physical stress and may seem to fade away within minutes. However, in some cases, we can observe sudden pain in the neck, arm, or back rather than in the chest.
- Heart attack: Over a while, these blockages would pile up to a point where they completely block the heart arteries. When that happens, blood cannot flow into the heart anymore and, it results in a heart attack characterized by a sharp pain in the chest.
- Fatigue: When the heart arteries start getting blocked, they restrict the amount of blood that flows through them. Hence the necessary amount of blood is not pumped out of the heart, and the blood flow requirements through the different blood vessels are not met. This adversely affects respiration and can cause fatigue and shortness of breathing if subjected to any physical activity.
It is generally said that if we start reversing causes, then we reach prevention. This statement holds in the case of coronary artery diseases. If you begin changing every cause of coronary artery disease, you are helping prevent it from happening in the first place.
- Controlling risk factors: Risk factors such as blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels are essential indicators of health. Hence keeping them under check is highly crucial in deciding the fate of your health and well-being.
- Physical activeness:
Staying physically active can help you significantly with your heart health. People who indulge in regular exercise and other physical activities tend to keep away from any problem as their risk factors are always kept in check. Physical activity ensures the proper flow of blood through arteries and provides for a healthy body.
- A healthy diet: A healthy diet is always a crucial deciding factor in one’s health. It decides the accumulation of fat in the body and also decides for blockages in the heart arteries. Hence, you must consume a balanced diet consisting of all the necessary nutrients and be low on fat and salt to keep the blood pressure and cholesterol levels under check.
- Quit smoking:
Smoking is highly harmful to an individual and is even more for a heart patient. It damages your lungs and restricts proper respiration, which affects the pumping of blood in the heart; hence you must quit smoking to avoid any chances of coronary artery disease.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: A healthy weight determines that the person isn’t over-eating and keeps his fat and cholesterol levels under check, which are essential risk factors. Hence you must strive to be at a healthy weight under all conditions.
In conclusion, coronary artery disease (CAD) is an increasingly common problem in the aging population. Thousands of death cases are reported every year due to CAD.
But instead of getting panicked, you must understand that it is highly controllable and preventable with proper diet and regular exercise. With modern procedures like Angioplasty and Coronary Bypass Surgery, we can cure this disease. Therefore you need to follow all the preventive measures to keep yourselves fit and healthy. If in case you feel any discomfort in the chest, you need to contact the doctor immediately.