Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease, where it accounts for 370,000 deaths each year. The disease occurs when the arteries, which are normally elastic and smooth, become restricted due to plaque, fat, and other substances. As the plaque grows, it pushes the artery walls inward and outward, causing the arteries to become narrow, rigid, and inflamed. The plague also restricts blood flow to the muscles, which can deprive the heart muscles of oxygen.
The symptoms of coronary artery disease can include the following:
1. Chest pain
Also known as angina, chest pain is described as chest discomfort, tightness, heaviness, pressure, burning, aching, fullness, numbness, or squeezing. It is often confused with indigestion or heartburn and occurs when the heart muscle does not receive the right amount of oxygen. Chest pain may be categorized as either stable or unstable.
2. Stable or chronic chest pain
Stable angina is brought on by an imbalance between the body’s need for oxygen-rich blood and the amount that is available in the heart. It means that the same activities are triggering, it feels the same each time, and is relieved by rest or medication. The pain usually lasts for only a few minutes, but can be a warning sign of heart disease.
3. Unstable chest pain
Unstable angina might be a change from stable angina or a new symptom. It might occur more frequently, occur easily during rest, last longer, or feel more severe. It is often helped with medication. A more serious medical treatment is usually required because unstable angina can lead to heart failure at any time.
4. Heart failure
A coronary artery that is completely blocked can cause a heart attack. The symptoms and signs of heart failure include pain in the arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, sweating, and excruciating pain in the chest. However, if you are chronically deprived of oxygen because of a reduction in blood flow and your arteries are too damaged to receive blood, it can cause heart failure.
5. Shortness of breath
Short of breath can happen for a number of reasons. But, when there is a pain in your chest, arm or shoulder, it is a sign that you are having a heart problem. If the heart cannot pump the required amount of blood to satisfy your body needs, you may develop extreme fatigue with minimal exertion or shortness of breath.
6. Risk Factors
There are important steps that you can take to prevent heart disease and that is knowing the risk factors. Risk factors are symptoms or illness that can increase the probability of getting coronary artery disease. The risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Some other factors include:
- Family history
- Overweight or obesity
- Physical inactivity
- High stress
- Unhealthy diet