What Causes Coronary Artery Disease, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Angina is a term used to describe pain in the chest that takes place due to decrease in the blood flow to the heart muscle. And this results from coronary artery disease. Angina is described as a squeezing or pressure pain in the chest. Which may be a new or recurring symptom. Angina is a common symptom, and it is hard to differentiate it from other causes of chest pain such as indigestion.

Coronary Artery Disease Symptoms:

  1. Pain or discomfort in the chest.
  2. Pain in the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw along with chest pain.
  3. Nausea.
  4. Fatigue.
  5. Shortness of breath.
  6. Sweating.
  7. Dizziness.

Intensity and duration in addition to the type of pain may vary from one person to the other. And it usually happens with exhaustion and exertion and is relieved by rest. And it is important to identify whether the pain is new or recurring. As that new and changing chest pain may be an indication of a more dangerous form of angina known as unstable angina, or heart attack.

Pain Description:

  1. Takes place with exertion on the heart.
  2. Can be predicted as it is similar to previously experienced chest pains.
  3. For a short duration of time, 5 mins or less.
  4. Is relieved with rest or medication.

Coronary Artery Disease Causes:

Angina is caused by decrease in blood flow to the heart, which is the only source of oxygen to the heart. And one of the major reasons of decreased blood flow to the heart muscles is coronary artery disease. Which happens due to accumulation of plaque inside the coronaries resulting in stenosis and subsequent decrease in blood flow. This is known as atherosclerosis.

Angina usually happens due to physical exertion such as climbing stairs, exercising, and any activity requiring the pumping of more blood to the heart, which is difficult in the case of stenotic coronaries. However, physical exertion is not the only cause. Also stress, cold temperatures, heavy meals, and smoking can precipitate angina.

Risk Factors:

  1. All kinds of smoking.
  2. Diabetes mellitus.
  3. High blood pressure.
  4. High cholesterol.
  5. History of cardiac diseases.
  6. Old age.
  7. Sedentary lifestyle.
  8. Obesity.
  9. Stress.

Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis:

In case of experiencing any of these symptoms, your doctor may order the following tests:

  1. ECG.
  2. Stress test.
  3. Cardiac ultrasound.
  4. Chest X-ray
  5. Cardiac enzymes.

Coronary Artery Disease Treatment:

This happens along two lines. Firstly is lifestyle through:

  1. Quitting all forms of smoking.
  2. Losing weight in case of obesity.
  3. Controlling diabetes if present.
  4. Rest.
  5. Avoiding heavy meals.
  6. Avoiding stress.

Secondly is medication:

  1. Nitrates to relax the heart and dilate the coronaries.
  2. Aspirin.
  3. Anti-blood clotting drugs.
  4. Statins.
  5. Beta-blockers.

And in case of progression of the condition further, the patient may need surgical intervention to place a coronary stent or do a bypass surgery.

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