As the most common cause of death in the U.S., heart disease essentially means your heart isn’t operating at its full potential.
Whether you have diseased blood vessels or severe blood clots, heart disease typically develops gradually, making old age one of the strongest risk factors associated with this life-threatening disease. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. When the arteries that are responsible for carrying blood to and from the heart become stiff and arrow, it causes CAD. As your artery walls continue to weaken and deteriorate over time, your heart has a harder time receiving the blood and oxygen it needs to function properly. This can lead to chest pain, breathlessness, or even a heart attack. While there are some risk factors associated with CAD that are hereditary, many of the causes of CAD are often due to lifestyle choices or environmental factors. To learn how to avoid coronary artery disease and keep your heart healthy and strong, you’ll first need to understand how this specific type of heart disease develops and affects your health.
What Is Coronary Artery Disease?
Similar to peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease is generally characterized by diseased arteries that make it hard for your heart to properly pump blood throughout your body. Your arteries are likely to become damaged or diseased when cholesterol begins to build up on their inner walls. This narrows the blood vessels in your arteries, making it more difficult for your heart to receive enough oxygen. For people over the age of 18, approximately 1 in every 13 Americans have CAD, making it the most prevalent disease of any kind in our country. Unfortunately, since CAD tends to develop gradually over time, it can often go undetected until it’s in a much later stage of development. This makes it all the more important to be wary of potential CAD warning signs and check with your doctor if you believe that your heart may be susceptible to damage.
Signs and Symptoms
While coronary artery disease symptoms may not be visible, there are other medical conditions that can increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease. High blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels can all contribute to a less healthy heart. If you’re already dealing with any of these conditions, you should take precautionary steps to ensure you’re positioning yourself for a long, healthy life.
Some of the visual symptoms that may indicate you have CAD include:
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of dizziness
- Chest pain
- Constantly feeling fatigued
- Ankle, leg and/or feet swelling
- Irregular heartbeat
Don’t write these symptoms off as minor speed bumps in your life. Though you may be getting older, you should still be taking your health and well-being seriously. Check with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms on a frequent basis. Coronary artery disease prevention depends on you being mindful of your health. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your family history is; everyone is susceptible to developing CAD. In order to promote a fulfilling, happy life for years to come, be conscious of your health and how your lifestyle can affect it.
Why It’s Important to Seek Treatment
The number of deaths from CAD in individuals who previously had no heart conditions is staggering, making early intervention and treatment all the more important. How you treat your specific case of CAD depends on when the diagnosis is made. The demographic most affected by CHF is elderly people, so if you’re in your later years of life and are worried about the health of your heart, be mindful of potential warning signs and treatment options. Every human deserves to have a high quality of life regardless of their age. Seniors especially need to act decisively in order to get a jump on treating CHF and mitigating its effects. Don’t wait until it’s too late to treat this potentially life-threatening condition. Speak with your doctor in order to give yourself the best chance of living with CAD.
How CAD is Related to Coronary Heart Failure
While coronary artery disease can often result in a heart attack after plaque has gradually built up in your arteries, coronary heart failure generally means your heart is having to work harder than it should to pump blood and oxygen throughout your body. Consisting of four varying stages of severity, heart failure is treated similarly to heart disease, as often times the effects of heart failure can be reversed by living a healthier, more mindful life. A coronary heart disease diagnosis usually follows a heart failure diagnosis. Speak with your doctor if you feel you may be at risk for heart failure, as catching this condition early on can greatly improve your chances of avoiding heart disease.
It can be frustrating to feel like you’re not energized to take on the day as a result of heart issues. Limited blood flow to the heart can slowly cause you to become more easily exhausted, making even the simplest of tasks difficult to accomplish. Luckily, by taking preemptive actions that center around your heart’s health, you can keep off CAD and continue living your best life. Always consult with your doctor for medical advice if you believe you’re at risk for developing coronary artery disease or heart failure.