According to the CDC, heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the US, responsible for about 1 in every 4 deaths. Heart disease is a general term that captures the several heart conditions that one might suffer. The most common heart disease in the country is coronary artery disease (CAD), whose complications include a heart attack. Below, we review all the facts you should know about this serious condition and explore how a Plano heart disease expert might help you if you have heart disease.
While there are several types of heart disease, including heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), (congenital heart defects), and heart valve disease, this article only focuses on CAD (most common).
What Causes Coronary Artery Disease
Your heart is made up of chambers, valves, and blood vessels, all of which work together to pump blood to your organs. Coronary artery disease occurs when fatty plaques build up in your arteries (blood vessels that carry blood from the heart). Typically, this buildup is attributed to factors like smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and a poor diet.
Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
It is important to note that the CAD symptoms may vary for men and women, with the former being more likely to experience chest pain and the latter, nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue. The tell-tale symptoms of CAD include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness, pressure, or discomfort (angina)
- Chest pain
- Neck, throat, jaw, back, or upper abdomen pain
- Weakness, numbness, pain, or coldness in the limbs
When Should You See a Doctor?
Most cases of CAD are not diagnosed until a patient suffers a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or angina. As such, it is crucial that you contact your doctor for an evaluation if you experience symptoms of CAD. You should also call your doctor immediately if you notice the following:
· Shortness of breath
· Chest pain
These symptoms might mean you are having a heart attack, which is a medical emergency. If you experience them, don’t drive to the hospital but call 911 immediately.
Available Treatments for Heart Disease
The treatment regimen your doctor recommends will depend on the type and advancement of the heart disease you have. The available options are grouped into the following categories:
To cure or control your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medication. The medication could also help slow or eliminate your risk of complications like stroke or a heart attack.
2. Lifestyle changes
Your doctor can recommend several lifestyle changes to protect you from heart disease, treat a present condition, or prevent it from worsening. Common changes include adopting a low-fat, low-sodium diet, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly.
Surgery (or another medical procedure) may become necessary in some cases to prevent your condition from getting worse.
Heart disease accounts for about 610,000 fatalities every year in the United States. If you are experiencing the symptoms described in this article or have any questions about your heart’s health, contact Dr. Rishin Shah of Prime Heart and Vascular today. Dr. Shah will advise you on real and effective solutions to help you lead a healthy life and reduce your risk of heart disease.