Cardiovascular disease remains our leading health problem despite numerous advances and a decade of declining results, it is still the leading cause of death in INDIA and many other countries. Millions of people have no symptoms, in fact, many do not know that they have potentially serious illness until they suffer a heart attack, stroke or sudden death.
What is coronary artery disease?
Coronary artery disease involves the progressive narrowing of arteries that nourish the heart muscle. The narrowing is due to the buildup of fatty plaque along the artery walls. The plaques are composed mostly of cholesterol, fibrous tissues and other lipids. If the narrowing is not critical, the patient may remain asymptomatic however when the narrowing becomes critical with inadequate blood supply to the heart muscle, the victim may experience chest pain on exertion. This is known as Angina. This heart condition is usually reversible without any permanent damage to the heart. As soon as the victim slows down, as soon as the victim takes rest, the sheer demand for oxygen and blood decreases and the pain is relieved.
Who gets heart diseases ?
Until the middle of this century, most people regarded heart disease as an inevitable part of aging or the result of events that people had no control over, such as rheumatic fever or congenital defects. This opinion has changed as a result of number of large scale population (Epidemiologic) studies in which life style and pattern of disease are investigated. One of the most notable and quoted of these has been the Framingham Heart Study, which have identified a number of life style habits and other factors that increase the risk of Cardiovascular disease.
How does someone know they are having a heart attack?
Heart attack is basically a common manifestation of coronary artery disease. This occurs when an artery becomes completely blocked, either by a clot or by atherosclerotic plaque. Severe crushing and suffocating chest pain stands as the major symptom of heart attack. The pain can in fact spread to one or both arms and even to the neck and jaw. In most of the cases the victim can experience vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath, weakness, feeling of cold, dizziness, weakness, sweating and fainting. Unlike angina, the symptoms tend to be rather severe. The symptoms also tend to last longer and also resist improvement even with rest.
Standard tests for early detection of heart diseases
Half of the heart attacks or cardiac deaths occur without any prior symptoms such as chest pain or chest tightness. There are a number of non invasive tests which can detect heart diseases with efficiency. The standard tests may include –
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Exercise Stress ECG
- Echo Cardiogram & Colour Doppler
- Stress Echo cardiogram
- Halter Monitor
- Myocardial perfusion scan
- CT – Coronary Angioplasty
Factors leading to cardiac diseases
- Food habits
- High BP
- High Cholesterol
- Lack of physical exercise
Therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) for managing metabolic syndrome
- Diet modification – Low Glycemic load
- Increased physical activity
- Body weight management
- Increased fitness levels
- Control of blood pressure
- Control of dyslipidemia
- Control of high triglycerides
- Controlling the insulin resistance
- Controlling the blood sugar
- Prevention of diabetes
The lifestyle modification is the simplest, cheapest and the most effective way for prevention and reversal of coronary artery disease (the progressive narrowing of the blood vessel that nourish the heart muscle). Not only that it improves the total health, enhances overall survival and better the quality of life.
Eating should be pleasurable and fun. Whilst there is no such thing as good or a bad food, some foods can be eaten more frequently that others. It is important that you have a sensible and balanced diet.
Eat Less Fat
Grill or baked food, If you want to try avoid frying and low mono-unsaturated fatty oil like olive oil, refined mustard oil, choose lean meat, poultry and fish. Eat less saturated fat i.e. dairy products and fatty meats, like skimmed milk.
Cholesterol Also called: HDL, Hypercholesterolemia, Hyperlipidemia, Hyperlipoproteinemia, LDL
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can stick to the walls of your arteries. This is called plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries or even block them.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high blood cholesterol, but it can be detected with a blood test. You are likely to have high cholesterol if members of your family have it, if you are overweight or if you eat a lot of fatty foods.
You can lower your cholesterol by exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables. You also may need to take medicine to lower your cholesterol.