The term ischemic heart disease is one that describes a heart disease condition where the heart is not getting enough blood, therefore not enough oxygen. Ischemia means that tissue is not getting enough oxygen, which is essential for tissue to remain healthy. Ischemic heart disease is caused by coronary artery disease. The coronary arteries are the arteries that supply blood to the heart.
When these important arteries become clogged with fatty deposits, the walls of the arteries become narrower, and may harden, which impedes the flow of blood to the heart. When one of the coronary arteries becomes completely occluded, a heart attack occurs. No one knows exactly what causes ischemic heart disease, but it is thought that certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking and eating a diet high in fat and sugar may play a role. Being overweight, or obese, may be contributing factor, and there may be genetic links, such as is the case with high cholesterol problems that run in families.
Ischemic heart disease may be silent, especially in the early stages. That means that a person may have ischemic heart disease and feel no symptoms at all. Because of this, ischemic heart disease may be present for quite a long time without being discovered, making some heart attacks seem as if they came completely out of the blue. As ischemic heart disease progresses, and the blood flow to the heart is restricted more, a person may experience angina, or chest pains, but this is not always the case. People may have advanced ischemic heart disease and not have angina as a sign of impending problems.
There are certain things that increase the risk of developing ischemic heart disease. As has discussed, certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking and being overweight may contribute to ischemic heart disease. An overall unhealthy diet, full of bad fats and cholesterol, and junk foods, and low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can increase the risk for ischemic heart disease. Being a type A person, who does not relax easily, and leads a high stress life is at higher risk of getting ischemic heart disease. Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and having had a heart attack or a stroke already also makes you more likely to haveischemic heart disease.
Because ischemic heart disease can be silent, if you have a family history of heart disease, and have one or more of the risk factors, be certain to see your doctor for regular checkups, and make lifestyle changes if you need to. A stress test performed by a trained practitioner is the single best way to determine if you have ischemic heart disease. Seeing your doctor regularly will assure that if it is felt that a cardiac stress test is needed, that you will get one before it is too late.
Ischemic Heart Disease