Coronary heart disease, just as the name suggests is disease that affects the heart. This condition affects the blood vessels that are responsible of supplying the heart with oxygen known as coronary arteries. Usually this condition is characterized by the accumulation of fats and cholesterol inside the coronary arteries making the process of supply of blood to the heart difficult (Jean, L. 2000).
To help us understand how exactly the coronary heart disease occurs it may be important to know how the heart works to ensure that the heart is constantly beating. The heart has four main chambers which are the right atrium, the right ventricle, the left atrium and the left ventricle. The blood from other body parts enters the heart through the right atrium. From this chamber the blood flows to the right ventricle where it is pumped to the lungs in order to be supplied with oxygen. The oxygenated blood returns to the heart through the left atrium where it is then pushed to the left atrium and pumped at great pressure. It is this process that ensures that the heart beats normally (Grace, M. L & Allan, G. 2004).
The pumping of blood in the left ventricle is very powerful since it is the one that ensures stable flow of blood throughout the body. When a person is born the inner lining of the arteries is smooth and hence there is free and easy flow of blood. However as a person advances in age the level of calcium and cholesterol begins to build up making the inner lining of the arteries thick and hence prevent free flow of blood. This is the genesis of the coronary heart disease begins. It is not always that the inner lining of the arteries become thick as one ages. It by and large depends on a person’s habits. Some habits that cause the levels of calcium and cholesterol to rise include smoking, lack of exercise and feeding in foods that have high levels of calcium and cholesterol.
What are The Major Causes of the Coronary Heart Disease?
As already mentioned this condition is caused by the accumulation of cholesterol and fatty substances on the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. As a result these vessels are not able to allow free flow of blood and as a result the heart develops a defect. The major causes of this condition include smoking. This includes all tobacco containing substances and not only the smoked tobacco but also the one in chewed form. High Blood pressure is yet another condition that causes this heart and so does hypertension contribute. Lack of exercise and feeding on foods that are rich in cholesterol and fats will eventually lead to this condition although it may take a long time (Jean, L. 2000). It is also important to note that the coronary heart disease is hereditary. This means that it runs through the blood family lineage and one may acquire it from other family members. Other conditions that lead to this heart defect include obesity, stress brought about by emotions and diabetes.
Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease
The most devastating yet the most common symptom of coronary heart disease is cardiac arrest which mainly attacks people who have had heart attacks previously. Other common symptoms of this disease include general discomfort by the patient, dizziness, running out of breath especially when involved in a physical exercise however small it maybe. Palpitation is also a common symptom where the patient experiences rapid heart beats which then cease after sometime only for them to return after a while making the patient uncomfortable. A patient is also likely to experience pain on the jaws, at the back and on the left arm. More often patients suffering from this condition experience hearts that are not regular and this leads to lightheadedness and the patient may collapse (Sandeep, G, A. & John, C.1999).
If a person experiences any one or more of the above mentioned symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical care as soon as is practically possible. This is because as far as this condition goes, time is of essence. Should you delay for too long after experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms then the condition could eventually be fatal. According to a research done by medical practitioners many of those who die because of this condition could have survived if only the condition was diagnosed early enough (Grace, M. L & Allan, G. 2004).
Tests and Medical Examinations
In the hospital medical practitioners do not merely reach to the conclusion that you are suffering from coronary heart disease. They need to actually diagnose you with the disease and therefore they carry out tests to ascertain whether exactly whether you are suffering from the heart disease. To begin with doctors will always carry out screening tests to find out whether there is actually presence of this condition and if so to what extent i.e. its severity. Blood tests are common as they help to ascertain the composition of the blood cells of the patient and to reveal if he patient has been suffering from attacks. Electrocardiogram is yet another test that is carried out and it helps ascertain al defects that the heart may be having. It helps confirm diagnosis of the coronary heart disease. X-ray of the chest helps establish if there any abnormalities of the heart especially as far as the shape and size of the heart are concerned. It also helps to detect if there are any fluids that have built up in the lungs (Jean, L. 2000).
Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease
Upon being diagnosed with this condition it is of utmost importance to observe instructions of the medical practitioner so as to prevent the condition from deteriorating. To begin with it is important to change one’s lifestyle. As mentioned already some of the causes of this condition include some habits like smoking and eating foods that are rich in fats and cholesterol (Sandeep, G, A. & John, C.1999). Hence when one is diagnosed with this condition it would only be wise to refrain from any habit that may make the condition worse. Patients are also advised to observe a healthy diet. By so doing one ensures that the intake of fatty foods is reduced and hence the risk of the condition getting worse is lessened. Patients are also advised that they should ensure that their intake of fat is reduced considerably. As matter of fact the required intake for people suffering from this condition is less than thirty percent of all foods taken on average by a person daily.
Regular exercise as part of treatment of the coronary heart disease is also highly recommended. The argument of medical practitioners is that when a patient engages himself or herself in regular exercises the cholesterol and the fats tend to melt hence making one more fit and hence reduces the risk that comes with this disease. Another major step that really works in helping in reducing the risks of this condition is to quit to smoking. This works as a great advantage in reducing the severity of the condition. Medical research shows that upon quitting smoke, within a period of 36 months the risk of a smoker drops considerably to that of a person who suffers the same condition but is a non-smoker. It is therefore of paramount importance to adhere strictly to personal discipline (Jean, L. 2000).
If a patient suffering from this condition is in addition suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes, one is advised to keep themselves in check all the time to ensure that their sugar levels and blood pressure are stable. By so doing the chances of this condition worsening is reduced considerably. Taking a dose aspirin on a daily basis helps reduce the frequent attacks that one may experience as result of the coronary heart disease. However one must ensure that the dose is low level and not high level.
Coronary heart disease can be fatal or manageable depending on how early it is diagnosed and how well one restricts themselves to the instructions of the medical practitioners. And as the saying goes prevention far much better than cure. It is therefore important to ensure that you avoid all habits that are likely to cause this condition. Most importantly one needs to strictly observe their diet. By so doing one is almost sure that they are safe from this defect of the heart.
Grace, M. Lindsay, Allan Gaw. (2004). Coronary heart disease prevention: London: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Jean, Lequime. (2000). Prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease and its complications. New York: University of Michigan.
Sandeep, Gupta, A. & John, Camm. (1999). Chronic Infection, Chlamydia and Coronary Heart Disease. London: Springer.