What Are Ischaemic Heart Diseases?

26 Sep

Contrary to popular belief, acquiring heart diseases doesn’t happen in old age. With all the food available to us, the ease of doing tasks that were deemed impossible a century before, and the hundreds of stressors we encounter everyday, it’s not uncommon for people to develop heart diseases even before they reach 50.

Ischaemic Heart Diseases

Studies in Singapore indicate that ischaemic heart diseases lead the type of heart diseases among the population. Under this category, there are several types you should be aware of. Ischaemic heart diseases, also called coronary artery diseases, are characterized by the narrowing of the coronary arteries. These are the blood vessels that bring fresh blood from the heart to its parts. It is a branch off the aorta, the vessel which supplies fresh blood to other parts of the body. The effect of narrow coronary arteries is a decrease in blood supply to the heart.

Coronary Artery Disease

Sometimes this name is used instead of ischaemic heart disease to refer to the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Coronary artery disease is also similar to coronary heart disease, so don’t get confused if your cardiologist in Singapore uses all three names interchangeably. To be more specific, however, coronary heart disease is the result of coronary artery disease (CAD) or ischaemia. CAD is the buildup of plaque in the walls of the coronary arteries. The result is CHD which manifests in different symptoms from narrowing of the blood vessels over time to the rupture of the vessels.

    1. Atherosclerosis is caused by the thickening of the arteries. That is why it is important to get your heart checked by Harley in Singapore because this is the result of the fatty buildup called plaques. If the arteries are blocked, the blood supply is of course reduced. It’s also not limited to a particular part of the body. In Singapore, some patients also suffer from peripheral arterial diseases which is a restriction in the arteries found in the legs. Your cardiologist will advise you to quit smoking and reduce the bad cholesterol in your body. Even people with high blood pressure are at risk. Atherosclerosis is caused by the damage to the endothelium or a type of lining in the interior of the blood and lymphatic vessels.

    2. Angina is the pain experienced in the chest area, and sometimes on the left arm, jaw and shoulders, because there isn’t enough blood supply in the heart. Chest pain is called angina pectoris. Angina is a result of atherosclerosis and is usually experienced when the person exerts too much effort. You will feel out of breath and start to sweat as well. In severe cases, angina can lead to a heart attack. If you experience such symptoms, go to the nearest hospital in Singapore.

    3. Heart Attack is sometimes called myocardial infarction. The person experiences a heart attack when the blood supply to the heart stops. Not all attacks are fatal, however. But don’t take chances. Once you experience chest pain, pain in the shoulders, left arm and jaw, abnormal sweating, shortness of breath and the feeling of passing out or extreme tiredness, go to the nearest cardiologist in Singapore immediately. Delays could be fatal.

    4. Silent Ischaemia is found in some patients but they are not aware of the conditions. This is why it’s important to always have a check-up with your cardiologist especially if you are already hypertensive. The type of ischaemia that doesn’t include chest pain is called silent ischaemia. People with high bad cholesterol levels should be vigilant because this can lead to a sudden heart attack. If you are diagnosed with angina, you could also have silent ischaemia. Diabetics are also at high risk of such attacks. If you suspect that you have ischaemia, schedule an appointment with your heart doctor as soon as possible.

Diagnosing Ischaemia

People who are susceptible to ischaemic heart diseases are those with high blood pressure, diabetes, low HDL cholesterol, high LDL cholesterol, smokers, women in their post-menopausal stage, obese and those with family history of heart diseases. It’s not uncommon for some cases in Singapore where CAD begins in childhood.

HDL cholesterol refers to the “good” cholesterol or hypoalphaliproproteinemia and functions by removing the excess cholesterol in the blood. LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is often examined to determine the risk of having heart disease. It’s referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because it’s one of the lipoproteins responsible for carrying cholesterol. More LDL means more cholesterol.

Consult your best cardiologist in Singapore so that he or she will perform heart screening to determine if you have ischaemic heart disease. Usually the first heart screening test is the electrocardiogram or ECG. The cardiologist will also perform an echocardiogram. If there is an anomaly in the measurement, an exercise stress test is recommended. Others will also perform cardiac catheterization or angiogram, and heart scans such as computerized tomography and ST coronary angiogram.

Treating Ischaemia

Unfortunately, ischaemic heart disease cannot be cured but can treated. The patient will be advised by the heart doctor to watch the diet, control sugar levels and blood cholesterol, perform regular exercise, and to give up smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages. You should avoid food with saturated fats because they can increase the lipid levels in your blood. If you have hypertension, you should try to maintain a normal blood pressure through diet and medication.

The heart doctor will recommend any of the following medications for ischaemia: Beta blockers, organic nitrates, calcium channel blockers, aspirins and statins. The Beta blocker will reduce the oxygen consumption and cardiac work. Organic nitrates act as relaxers for the nonspecific smooth muscles. Calcium channel blockers will reduce the passage of calcium ions in the vascular smooth muscle, voltage-dependent L-type calcium channels and excitable tissues. Aspirin will reduce the likelihood of an occurrence of heart attack in people with angina. Statins also reduce heart attack and stroke.

A heart surgeon might recommend a bypass surgery for you or an angioplasty. If you are not sure, ask for a second opinion from another cardiologist about which procedure should be done by the heart surgeon.

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