Coronary Disease Prevention

Coronary heart diseases are primarily caused from hard plaque in the blood vessels, known as atherosclerosis. Hardening of the arteries restricts blood flow to the heart which can lead to an attack. The development of plaque is usually caused from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, or from smoking. A diagnosis is possible either through an electrocardiograph, a stress test, echocardiogram, a coronary angiography, or a positron emission tomography scan. Some symptoms to watch out for are breathlessness, fluid retention, chest pain, and fatigue. Coronary heart disease prevention includes eating healthy, exercising, lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, and not smoking.
The heart is considered the most important organ of the body because without it a person can not survive. The cardiac organ pumps the blood throughout the body supplying oxygen and nutrients to critical systems such as the brain and other vital organs. A person who experiences shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and heart palpitations should consider making an appointment with a physician for a physical. Coronary heart disease prevention such as exercise and eating healthy can reduce the strain on the organ. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaque buildup causes the arteries to narrow and constrict blood flow to the heart. When the blood flow is reduced the organ will not function properly resulting in coronary heart diseases. Angina failure can result eventually if restricted blood flow goes untreated. Untreated atherosclerosis can lead to angina failure and damage to the cardiac muscle. Some of the signs to watch out for are chest pain, pain in the neck and arms, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue.

High blood pressure can cause significant damage to the inner lining of the arteries. Generally there are no symptoms associated with high blood pressure. Blood pressure that consistently stays above 140/90 should be brought to a doctor’s attention. High blood pressure that goes untreated can eventually lead to cardiac organ failure. Before seeing a doctor it can be very beneficial to keep a log of daily blood pressure readings to be given to the doctor at the time of the visit. Coronary heart disease prevention needs to include careful monitoring of blood pressure and taking medication if needed.

High cholesterol and triglycerides can be lowered with medication, eating healthy, and exercising. Depending upon how high the blood lipids are will indicate what measures are necessary to lower them. A physician will normally start a patient out with diet changes and exercise if the blood lipid counts are not extremely high. However, someone who is chronically obese and has high cholesterol and high triglycerides will probably need medication as well as lifestyle changes.

Smoking is by far the most damaging substance to the cardiac organ; thousands of chemicals in cigarettes cause blood vessels to constrict and narrow. This has a negative affect on blood pressure and oxygen levels eventually impairing cardiac function. Coronary heart disease prevention should include the cessation of smoking as the number one most important thing to do. Smoking can cause changes in the lungs, cardiac organ, blood vessels, brain activity, and can cause esophageal and lung cancer.

Diagnostic testing can help a physician determine if a patient suffers with atherosclerosis or other coronary heart diseases. These include but are not limited to electrocardiograph, stress test, echocardiogram, a coronary angiography, or a positron emission tomography scan. An electrocardiogram is a blood test that checks for a substance called natriuretic peptide. The presence of this substance is often an indication that the patient is suffering from cardiac failure. An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the cardiac organ that helps to determine dysfunction or other problems. To determine possible blockages in the arteries a physician may order a stress test. A stress test allows the doctor to monitor the patient’s heart during physical activity. Another way to find blockages is for a doctor to perform a coronary angiography. A catheter is inserted into the bloodstream along with dye to look at all of the valves and arteries. In addition, a positron emission tomography can scan the body to determine if the cardiac muscle is working correctly and see if the blood flow is sufficient to keep it healthy.

After a diagnosis is made a physician will emphasize the importance of losing weight and eating healthy as well as daily exercise for optimal results regarding cardiac disease. To determine the best eating plan a physician may recommend a dietitian or nutritionist be consulted. Eliminating processed foods is important because they often contain chemicals, preservatives, and trans fats which can contribute to hardening of the arteries. A healthy diet should always include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, eating high fiber foods and low-fat dairy and meat products. Coronary heart disease prevention may also include taking prescription medication.

Prescription medications that can be beneficial in treating coronary heart diseases are nitroglycerin, and blood pressure medications. Nitroglycerin can help with angina pain by dilating the arteries and improving blood flow. Some high blood pressure medications help to reduce the stress on the cardiac organ by not only lowering blood pressure but by affecting the chemical and hormonal messages sent from the brain to the cardiac organ. These are called beta-blockers; they help to reduce strain so the cardiac organ doesn’t have to work so hard. Calcium channel blockers are another medication that lowers blood pressure and helps to reduce strain by relaxing the arteries. Treatments should be taken very seriously and the patient needs to be diligent in making the necessary lifestyle changes to return health and vitality.