Understanding Ischemic Heart Disease
The “silent” forms of heart disease
More than 3 million cases of ischemic heart disease are diagnosed each year in the United States. Most patients do not know this, until after suffering from a heart attack.
Part of what makes ischemic heart disease so mysterious lies in its name. Also known as coronary artery disease, this form of heart disease damages the heart’s major blood vessels. Ischemia is when blood flow (which includes oxygen) is restricted or diminished in the body part. Cardiac ischemia affects the heart muscle when decreased blood flow or lack of oxygen. According to the Mayo Clinic, the majority of patients with ischemic heart disease are over the age of 60, those aged 40 and 60 are also affected.
Dr. Brian Winston is a board-certified cardiologist with Capital Cardiology Associates, who performs clinical catheterizations and percutaneous interventions for heart and vascular disease at St. Peters and Albany Medical Center. When it comes to ischemic heart disease, he is a specialist.
“Lyrically speaking, I see most people before they have a heart attack. I see people who have high blood pressure, diabetes, or perhaps peripheral vascular disease, ”says Winston. “When you talk to a cardiologist, if you ask, ‘What is a heart attack?’, We generally agree that a blockage from plaque in an artery is most often caused by a sudden loss of blood and oxygen in the heart muscle.” Is lacking. That is why the most feared end point in ischemic heart disease. “
Ischemic Heart Disease : Silent Ischemia
Patients who have problems with ischemia have an episode without knowing it. This is why it is called “silent ischemia” – people have a heart attack with no pain or warning signs. For patients who go undiagnosed for heart disease or are at high risk, the chance for a heart attack develops over the course of several years as a blockage in their heart arteries. For those patients, Winston explains, “This low blood and oxygen in the heart muscle can cause chest pain. Often men would describe this as a tightness or heaviness of the chest, sometimes using their fists to describe the feeling. “
Since heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States, there is a difference on how men and women will present symptoms. Men display the classic signs as Winston described above, however, “It is common for women to have a feeling of low chest pain, sitting on their chest like an elephant.” Instead they may feel back pain, pain between the shoulder bones, or fatigue. The symptoms of women become less typical. “For this reason, this silent killer is so dangerous, you can’t feel anything developing as ischemia or warning signs for flu, muscle pain, or” old age. “
As with most forms of heart disease, treatment for ischemic heart disease includes lifestyle changes, medications, angioplasty, and surgery. Dr. Winston advises that one would start with living a heart healthy life to prevent the risk of heart disease. “People need to think of their heart as an organ and muscle that needs to work out rather than an inert limb that they have no control over,” noted Winston. “Like any muscle, your heart must be exercised. Like exercise will be about the most health: any and all of it! We have seen endurance training, timeout training, walking – a sign that we are more and more visible and that it is all healthy. Any activity is healthy for your heart. An interesting observance is dependent, ‘Is exercise going to make me live longer?’ Yes, and it helps our live better. “
Even for individuals with a family history of heart disease or those who are susceptible to heart health issues due to other genetic causes, people who exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet tent heart disease To recover faster than. I’ll give you an example of this, “Winston begins. “I have had over the course of my career many patients who were very healthy, as far as their diet and exercise goes. They could be a long distance cyclist or runner and be short and behold as a patient in their 60s or 70s, the arteries could be blocked and in need of bypass surgery. This may because of their genes, a family medical history that made them more susceptible to inherited blocked arteries. Or, maybe they smoked for the first twenty years or twenty years when they were young. Whatever be the reason, they do more to do better in their treatment, tolerated by-pass especially surgery. These individuals, who exercise regularly, bounce back sharply. They are out of the hospital in ten to four days. “