Heart disease or in medical terms is called coronary heart disease is one of the highest causes of death in the world. Coronary heart disease is a condition that occurs when the main blood vessels that supply blood to the heart (coronary arteries) are damaged. Cholesterol deposits in blood vessels and inflammation processes are thought to be the cause of this disease.
When there is cholesterol accumulation (plaque), the coronary arteries will narrow so that blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart will be inhibited. This lack of blood flow will cause pain in the chest and shortness of breath, until one day there is a total obstacle to blood flow to the heart or also called a heart attack.
Causes of Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease occurs when the blood supply to the heart through the coronary arteries is blocked by fat. This accumulation of fat in blood vessels is known as atherosclerosis and is a major cause of coronary heart disease.
Besides reducing blood supply to the heart, atherosclerosis can also cause blood clots. If this happens, blood flow to the heart is completely blocked and a heart attack occurs. Triggers for atherosclerosis include high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
Coronary heart disease is divided into two types which are categorized based on the level of inhibition of blood flow, namely angina and heart attack.
Heart disease that is not treated properly will lead to deadly complications. Lack of blood supply will reduce heart performance. This can make fluid accumulate in the lungs so that the patient will have difficulty breathing. This case is known as heart failure. This complication can occur suddenly or gradually.
Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease
In the initial stages, the doctor will usually ask about your symptoms, your family’s health history, and your lifestyle. If you are suspected of having heart disease, your doctor will advise you to undergo several examinations to confirm the diagnosis. For example blood tests, X-rays, electrocardiogram (ECG), coronary angiography, CT scan, or MRI scan.
Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease
Patients with heart disease are encouraged to change lifestyle such as maintaining diet, regular exercise, taking medication regularly according to doctor’s instructions, and stopping smoking. Coronary heart disease cannot be cured, but can be prevented from worsening. The doctor will recommend surgery to deal with this disease if needed. The goal in treating heart disease is to control symptoms and reduce the risk of fatal attacks such as heart attacks.
Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease
There are several simple preventive steps to avoid heart disease, including:
- Quit smoking.
- Applying a healthy lifestyle, such as avoiding high cholesterol foods, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, and exercising regularly.
- Control blood sugar levels.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Reducing consumption of liquor.