Ischemic Heart Disease, also known as Coronary Artery Disease, is a condition that affects the supply of blood to the heart. The blood vessels are narrowed or blocked due to the deposition of cholesterol on their walls. This reduces the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscles, which is essential for proper functioning of the heart. This may eventually result in a portion of the heart being suddenly deprived of its blood supply leading to the death of that area of heart tissue, resulting in a heart attack.
The major risk factors of ischemic heart disease include smoking, diabetes, and high levels of cholesterol in the blood. Those with Hypercholesterolemia have a much higher tendency to develop the disease. Additionally, genetic and hereditary factors may also be responsible for the disease, and stress is often a risk factor as well.
There are a variety of treatments for ischemic heart disease, which include heart-healthy lifestyle changes, medicines, medical procedures and surgery, and cardiac rehabilitation. The treatment is aimed to help lower the risk of formation of blood clots, which can cause a heart attack, and to reduce risk factors in an effort to slow, stop, or reverse the buildup of plaque. Treatment for ischemic heart disease also aims to prevent any complications that might lead to coronary heart disease, as well as to help widen or bypass clogged arteries, which can also result in heart attacks.
Ischemic heart disease, of coronary artery disease can be treated in a number of ways, which include heart-healthy lifestyle changes, medicines, medical procedures and surgery, and cardiac rehabilitation.
Heart healthy lifestyle changes include eating food that is healthy for the heart, managing stress levels, maintaining a healthy weight, doing regular physical exercise, and quitting habits such as drinking and smoking. While following a heart healthy diet, the patient is advised to eat fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as fat-free milk; fish high in omega-3 fatty acids; fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Intake of sodium has to be restricted as well.
Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can lower the risk for ischemic heart disease. Patients are required to maintain healthy BMI levels, as well as to try and lose weight, escepically for patients who are obese. Managing stress and taking part in routine physical activity are additionaly ways to help prevent onset of ischemic heart disease.
Medical procedures and suregries to treat ischemic heart disease include Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG). Percutaneous coronary intervention, commonly known as angioplasty, is a nonsurgical procedure that opens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. CABG is a type of surgery in which arteries or veins from other areas in your body are used to bypass the affected narrowed coronary arteries.
Lastly, your doctor may prescribe cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) for angina or after CABG, angioplasty, or a heart attack. Nearly everyone who has coronary heart disease can benefit from cardiac rehab. Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program that may help improve the health and well-being of people who have heart problems.
Ischemic heart disease means that the heart muscle is being deprived of the oxygen-rich blood it needs to function, as a result of clogged coronary arteries. People who experience chest pain during exercise or any kind of strenuous activity are at a risk of developing ischemic heart disease, and need to get themselves checked by a doctor.
Heavy or irregular breathing during exercise of any kind of strenuous activity is normal, and if you don not experience any chest pains, there is no need to get yourself checked or treated for ischemic heart disease.
Side effects while treating ischemic heart disease are generally side effects of medicines prescribed by the doctor. Many different types of medications are used to treat coronary heart disease, each of which have different kinds of side effects. Antiplatelet drugs can cause diarrhea, rash, or itching, abdominal pain, headache, chest pain, muscle aches, and dizziness. Side effects of anticoagulants are bleeding and necrosis (gangrene) of the skin. Side effects of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors include cough, elevated blood potassium levels (hyperkalemia), low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, weakness, abnormal taste, and rash. Taking vasodilators may cause lightheadedness or dizziness, increased or irregular heart rate, or headache. Side effects of calcium channel blockers include constipation, nausea, headache, rash, edema, low blood pressure, drowsiness, and dizziness. Anti-arrhythmics may cause dizziness, blurred vision, anorexia, unusual taste, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
Treating ischemic heart disease is not a one-time process. Apart from changing your lifestyle and indulging in heart healthy eating, even if your doctor has performed surgical procedures to help treat the disease, following it up is very important. Keep a lookout for any complications, including heart failure or arrhythmias. Also, patients need to keep an eye on risk factors such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and diabetes control. Make sure you follow the medication plan prescribed to you by your doctor. Order a stress test if you are having problems with new or worsening symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath.
In case your doctor has only prescribed lifestyle changes and medicines for treatment of your heart disease, then there is no recovery time as such. But in case you have to undergo surgical treatment, then a full recovery after CABG or PCI takes around 12 to 15 weeks, or even more.
While lifestyle changes don’t require any money, treatment of ischemic heart disease via medicines or surgical procedures is an expensive treatment, and cost anywhere between Rs. 2 to Rs. 10 lakhs.
If your doctor has prescribed medicines for the patient, and has asked him to maintain a proper and healthy lifestyle, then it is actually up to the patient to make sure that they do not develop symptoms of ischemic heart disease again. In case the patient has undergone surgery for ischemic heart disease, then the results are generally permanent, unless the patient goes back to their previous unhealthy lifestyle, and fails to follow up on medications and further visits to the doctor.
Ischemic heart disease treatment does not always require surgery. There are other methods to help treat coronary artery disease, such as heart-healthy lifestyle changes, maintaining a healthy weight. managing stress and taking part in routine physical activity, as well as quitting habits such as smoking and drinking. Surgical procedures such as PCI and CABG are always the last resort when it comes to treating ischemic heart disease.