What is coronary artery disease?
Excess cholesterol deposits on the blood vessels to form plaques or “blockages”. When these blockages develop in the coronary arteries (the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart) coronary artery disease develops.
Initially, coronary artery disease can show no symptoms.
Stress test: A stress test shows how your heart works during intense activities. It involves:
- 15-minute walk on treadmill
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) at rest and after walk
Angiography/Cardiac catheterization: During angiography, a special dye is injected into your blood through a thin tube or catheter which is inserted into a larger artery and then directed to the arteries of the heart. The dye clearly shows any blockages you might have.
Complications of coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease can progress into ischaemic heart disease where a part of the heart muscle becomes ‘cramped’ or starts dying due to lack of oxygen supply. This leads to more severe conditions like heart failure. Coronary artery disease also increases your chances of getting a heart attack.
Basics of coronary artery disease management
Simple lifestyle changes can help you to prevent the complications of coronary artery disease:
- Quit smoking
- Maintain optimum blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Keep diabetes under control
- Eat a healthy diet low in fat and salt
- Reduce weight if you are overweight
- Exercise regularly