Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
Coronary heart disease occurs when the coronary arteriesthat supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to plaque buildup. This plaque buildup, along with narrowing and hardening of the arteries, is called atherosclerosis. Plaques — a mixture of fatty substances including cholesterol and other lipids — may reduce or even block the blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. Plaques may also rupture and cause blood clots that block arteries.
Coronary heart disease can lead to a heart attack and angina — the most common symptom of coronary heart disease — causing chest pain or discomfort as a result of the heart not getting enough blood. Over time, coronary heart disease can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure, a serious problem where the heart cannot pump blood the way that it should. Also, irregular heartbeats, called arrhythmias, can develop.In some individuals, the first sign of coronary heart disease is a heart attack.
The experienced physicianson our staff can assess your risk by checking several indicators, including blood pressure, blood cholesterol and glucose, history of heart disease and other factors. Our Michigan cardiologists can perform several tests to assess coronary heart disease in patients who are at high risk or have symptoms.
Our heart doctors may perform one or more of the tests below:
- ECG or EKG (electrocardiogram) – Measures the electrical function, rate and regularity of your heartbeat
- Echocardiogram – Creates a picture of the heart.
- Exercise Stress Test – Measures how well the heart pumps at greater than usual workloads when it needs more oxygen
- Chest X-Ray – Takes a picture of the organs and structures inside the chest
- Cardiac Catheterization – Checks the inside of your arteries for blockage, measures pressure and blood flow in the heart’s chambers, collects blood samplesand examines the arteries of the heart
- Coronary Angiography –Usually performed with cardiac catheterization and an x-ray to see the flow of blood through the heart and check for blockages
Treatment for coronary heart disease involves addressing those factors that put patients at risk for a heart attack. Our Detroitcardiologists may recommend lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk.
Medication is available to treat high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, blood flow and other potential problems. Some advanced treatments and surgical procedures may be used to help restore blood flow to the heart muscle.
In principle, all people can take steps to lower their personal risk of heart disease and heart attack by addressing their risk factors— especiallythose individuals who havde already suffered from the condition.