Coronary Artery Disease

In order to function in a healthy manner, the heart needs sufficient supply of nutrients, blood, and oxygen. The specific blood vessels that carry these vital prerequisites to the heart are known as coronary arteries. So, when the coronary arteries are damaged or get affected by certain disease it eventually affects the functioning of the heart. Two major reasons behind coronary diseases are inflammation and plaque deposits. The width of the coronary artery is narrowed when the plaque is formed and as a result, the patient can feel pain in the chest (angina), breath shortness or other similar symptoms. In extreme cases, the complete blockage can occur that causes the heart attack.

Generally, it takes many years or even decades for the artery disease to develop. In many cases, one may notice the condition only when the disease has already been developed to high levels. In some conditions, the disease remains undiscovered until one experiences a heart attack. However by adopting a healthy and active lifestyle, one can prevent this disease.

Causes of Coronary artery disease

There are several causes that are related to coronary artery diseases. Generally, the disease starts when the artery’s inner layer starts getting damaged or injured. It might happen in the children as well. However, when the exact causes behind this condition are established you will be able to treat the condition more precisely

- The major cause of this damage is high blood pressure, smoking, inactive lifestyle, diabetes, insulation resistance and high cholesterol.

- The plaque or fatty deposits comprising cellular waste products/cholesterols accumulate at the injured or damaged portion of the artery. Over the period of accumulation, the surface of the plaque tends to break that triggers another process in which the platelets are clumped around the damaged portion for repairing the affected artery.

- Blocked by such clumps the artery is unable to facilitate the flow of the blood to the heart that can trigger a heart attack.

Symptoms of Coronary artery disease

There may be several symptoms associated with this disease that can help to identify the presence of this disease. However for that, the patient needs to be watchful and record the various key factors. The narrowed coronary artery is not able to supply the sufficient blood to the patient’s heart and the condition is distinctly felt during demanding situations like workouts or heavy physical labor that can cause one’s heart to beat faster.

The first instances of coronary disease or plaque might go unnoticed as they don’t cause any significant symptoms. However, over the period of time when the disease has advanced to the higher level, one starts feeling the distinct symptoms that interfere with the lifestyle. Such symptoms include:

-  Pain in the chest: Also known as angina in the medical terms, this condition causes tightness in the chest. Certain pressure building up in the person’s chest can also be felt. Generally, this condition affects the center or left side of the chest. Stress, be it physical or emotional can trigger angina. Some people might also feel  fleeting pain that may also be felt in the arm, neck or back. Once the person stops the stressful physical activity or is relieved, the pain generally goes away.

-  Shortens of breath: Even an average exertion can cause the shortage of breath as sufficient blood is not being pumped by the heart due to lack of supply. One may also feel abnormal fatigue triggered by physical exertion.

-  Heart attacks: When the coronary is completely blocked it can result in extreme symptoms of heart attacks. In many such instances, the patient feels an acute unbearable pressure in the chest. This condition is accompanied by the pain in arm or shoulder. In some cases, the symptoms of the heart attack might differ in the man and woman. In many cases, the symptoms are not distinctly experienced by the woman when compared to the male patients. In some cases, the heart attacks can occur without any apparent symptoms that can make it had to identify.

Complications of Coronary artery disease

The artery disease directly affects the functioning of the heart with varying severity depending upon specific type of the case. Heart is the most vital part of body. Thus it can bring a number of complications. There are a number of complications that are caused by the coronary artery disease. The affected functionality of the diseases or damaged coronary artery can result in several complications. Such complications may include:

-  Chest Pain: The heart is unable to receive sufficient amount of blood especially during the period of greater demand like when you workout or intense physical labor. It can result in shortness of breath or angina (pain in the chest)

-  Heart attack: Heart attack is the formation of ruptures or blood clot that can completely block the artery, preventing it to supply the blood to your heart. There is a risk of your heart’s vital parts getting damaged during such condition and its severity can largely depend upon how fast you can get treated after the failure.

-  Heart failure: The heart attack can result in extreme weakness of the heart that actively interferes with its capability to pump sufficient amount of blood to meet your biological needs. Such condition is termed as heart failure. Another major reason of heart failure is the when specific areas of the heart lack required amount of nutrients and oxygen because of decreased amount of blood flow. This Chronic condition can also result in heart failure

-  Abnormal heart rhythm: The electrical impulses of your heart can also be affected by the inadequate blood supply that can eventually cause abnormal heart rhythms

Diagnosis of Coronary artery disease

There are several methods that are used by the doctors to diagnosis the condition of artery diseases in the patient. Various types of test are conducted with the help of specific equipments that offer a high amount of accuracy. Here are a few ways that are preferred by eh doctors to diagnose the condition of coronary artery diseases:

Electrocardiogram or ECG:

The electrical signals traveling through the heart are recorded by the electrocardiogram and help the doctors in studying the probability of a heart attack or history of the same. A specific ECG called Halter monitoring might also be recommended in specific cases. In this ECG, the patient is required to wear a monitor for entire length of the day while carrying out their daily activities. This portable device records the vital activities and helps the doctors to identify any abnormalities that are signs of insufficient blood flow to the patient’s heart


In this type of method, sound waves are strategically used to render the heart images that are closely studied by the doctors to ensure that all the parts of the heart are working in the desired manner to streamline the pumping activity of your heart. If certain parts are performing poorly or are not able to move fast, it indicates that they are either receiving insufficient amount of oxygen or probably have been damaged by heart attack that might have gone unnoticed due to week signals. However, apart from artery disease there may be several other diseases that can price such symptoms.

Stress test:

If you feel that workout sessions, extreme physical labour or excessive mental stress produces the shortness of breaths or tightness in the chest then you can go for the stress test. In such test the patient is required to work on the treadmills doing entire process. Alternatively the patients may also be required to ride a stationary bike. In other cases the doctor might use the specific medication in the limited dose to stimulate your heart before going of the ECG.

There are different types of ways to carry the stress test like echocardiogram, ultrasound, medication increase stress test etc. However the objective of these tests is to check the functioning of your heart during the stress

Cardiac catheterization and angiogram:

This method is used to view the flow of blood as it passes through the heart. In this process a special type of dye is inserted in the coronary arteries of the patient via a thin and flexible tube of sufficient length called catheter. This tube is threaded through an artery in such a manner that it reaches the artery in the heart. The narrow spots as well as the blockages that can affect the blood flow are viewable on the x-ray images. This method can also be used to provide the treatment to the patient if the blockage is discovered. A balloon is pushed through catheter and when it reaches the coronary artery it is inflated to improve the blood flow. This process might also need the use of stint for opening the artery that is dilated via this process.

Heart CT scan:

This is another way of scanning the heart and diagnosing the situation. In this process the contrast dye is inserted during the scan that helps in generating images of the arteries of patient’s heart. The prices help the doctor to check the calcium deposits in the artery. The presence of calcium deposits indicates the probability coronary artery disease

Preventions of Coronary artery disease

As we know that in artery disease, the arteries are partially blocked due to the formation of plaques. That is why unhealthy lifestyle is the major cause behind artery disease. Here are some of the healthy lifestyle habits that can actively help you to prevent this condition.

In fact, your lifestyle plays a vital role in affecting the health of your heart and a healthy lifestyle that can help your heart to remain healthy include:

- Quit smoking

- Control various conditions that can directly or indirectly affect blood flow like high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure

- Adopt physically active lifestyle

- Replace fat-rich ad salt-rich diets with wholegrain foods fruits and vegetable

- Monitor your weight and maintain it with the ideal dietary intakes

- Stay away from stress

- Eat a low fat dies ad including healthy zero or low cholesterol foods

- Prevent obesity with the help of a balanced diet and active lifestyle

Medicinal Treatment of Coronary artery disease

There are a number of drugs that have the required chemical composition that keeps the health under control if taken in the prescribed dosage. Apart from the lifestyle changes some specific drugs with specific chemical compositions are prescribed to treat coronary disease that can include

- Aspirin

- Cholesterol-modifying medications, beta lookers, ranolazine, calcium channel blockers

Surgery of Coronary artery disease

- In more severe cases the coronary artery bypass surgery or angioplasty and stent placement is also recommended

- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery is a specific type of surgery in which the blood flow is restored with the help of open chest surgery.

- Enhanced external counterpulsation: Depending upon the specific conditions and medical risk of the patients it might be important to avoid the complicated surgical procedures. At the same time, the severe blockage might be actively interfering with the proper blood flow to the heart. One of the best ways to treat such condition is forming additional blood vessels that can naturally increase the flow of the blood to the heart without having to perform any complicated surgical procedure. It is a non-invasive procedure that helps in artificially forming the small blood vessels to increase the blood flow to the heart that can help it in the desired function.


The artery coronary disease interferes with artery’s capability to route the blood to your heart by forming cavities that narrow the path of flow. It slows down the rate at which the blood is supplied to your heart. Various preventive measures help in avoiding aggravation. Apart from regular dosage of prescribed medicines, the lifestyle changes like abstinence from alcohol consumption, living an active lifestyle, avoiding fatty foods and keeping weight under healthy limits are various preventive measures prescribed for the patient.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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