Ischaemic heart disease, or ischemic heart disease, sometimes also called myocardial ischaemia, happens when your heart muscle is damaged due to an insufficient amount of blood reaching your heart. This happens when deposits of fat and / or cholesterol, called plaque, build up in your coronary arteries and the arteries begin to narrow, restricting your blood flow. What causes Ischaemic heart disease to manifest is not unknown, but there are many risk factors that increase your chances of developing this disease. Ischaemic heart disease is the most common cause of death in most Western countries. This article will summarize the risk factors, signs and symptoms of Ischaemic Heart Disease. It is not meant to constitute or replace medical advice.
The most common symptoms of Ischaemic heart disease are:
Angina pectoris. Angina pectoris is chest pain. It may occur when you are stressed, when it is cold, and when you are engaged in physical activity. The pain tends to radiate from your under your chest bone to your jaw, shoulder blades, neck and left arm. You may also feel pain that is described as crushing or squeezing.
Heart failure. Heart failure can cause shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing, decreased exercise tolerance, or swollen ankles.
Other symptoms include decreased alertness, excessive urination at night, decreased urine output, heart palpitations, and an irregular or rapid pulse.
If you have any of the above symptoms and suspect you have Ischaemic heart disease, go the emergency room or call 911.
The most common risk factors for Ischaemic heart disease are:
• A family history of certain conditions. These include diabetes, coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and hypertension.
• Eating a lot of high fat food
• Having a heart attack at least once
• Being overweight.
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure or hypertension
• Lack of exercise
If you have any of the above risk factors, you should discuss your condition with your doctor. If you are treated for Ischaemic heart disease before a lot of damage is done to your heart, it is possible to halt and sometimes even reverse some of the damage done to your heart. Only a doctor can diagnose this heart disease and prescribe the appropriate treatment program.
The American Heart Association offers additional tips and information that can be found at www.heart.org/hbp and a cardiologist is available to talk through these tips and others to help people understand more about high blood pressure and other heart issues.