Coronary artery disease is a commonly found heart issue. Cholesterol deposits, which are called plaque, in the heart arteries as well as inflammation are generally the main cause of this disease in a person. The symptoms of coronary heart disease occur when the heart does not get enough oxygen-rich blood. If a person is suffering from this disease, decreased blood flow to the heart may result in chest pain or angina and shortness of breath. A heart attack can happen in case of a complete blockage of blood flow. Coronary artery disease will develop over many years. This is why the symptoms often go unnoticed until a major blockage starts to cause issues or a sudden heart attack happens. As the coronary arteries continue to narrow down, less blood gets to the heart, and then the symptoms can become dangerous or frequent. That is why following a heart-healthy lifestyle can help in preventing coronary heart disease.
Coronary artery disease signs and symptoms may include the following –
- Chest pain (angina) – There may be pressure or tightness in the chest. The chest pain typically occurs on the center or left side of the chest. In some people, especially women, there can be sharp pain in the neck, arm, or back.
- Shortness of breath.
- Heart attack. A totally blocked coronary artery can cause a heart attack. The typical signs and symptoms of a heart attack are a crushing chest pain or pressure, pain in shoulder or arm, shortness of breath, as well as sweating. Women may have less typical symptoms like neck or jaw pain, nausea, and fatigue. Some heart attacks may not have any noticeable signs or symptoms.
Causes of coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease will happen when fats, cholesterols, and some other substances accumulate on the walls of the heart arteries. This buildup is called plaque which causes the arteries to narrow down and block the blood flow. Sometimes, the plaque may also burst, resulting in a blood clot. Other than high cholesterol, there can be other reasons for damage to the coronary arteries –
- High blood pressure
- Not enough exercise
- Smoking or use of tobacco
A screening test is performed to find the potential health issues or diseases in people who don’t show any symptoms. The objective of screening for disease is to find a problem early on to lessen the risk for that disease and to treat it before it gets worse.
When is a screening for disease helpful?
A screening test will work when the results are clearly seen. Screening for disease is not completely accurate in all the cases. Some screening tests may lead to more problems if they are used on people who are not at high risk for a disease. This is why recommended screening tests are not the same for every person and they should go for screening at the recommendation of the doctor.
Some of the common problems that the doctors will screen for are –
- Breast and cervical cancer in women
- Colorectal cancer
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Prostate cancer in men
The tests that a person will require depend on their age, their gender, family history, and whether there are any risk factors for certain diseases. After the screening exam, it is important to ask when you can get the results.
Preparing for a health screening
A conversation with the doctor will make you understand what screenings are required for you and how frequently you should get them done. Make note of any questions or doubts to ask the doctor. Tell the doctor about the family’s medical history and ask about the advantages and risks of the screening. If you are not able to understand the test results, you can tell the doctor to explain them.
Coronary artery disease is one of the main reasons of death all over the world. You can decrease the risk of getting coronary heart disease with the help of some simple lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, getting physical exercise, giving up smoking, etc. Make going for regular screening for disease a part of your routine to avoid any major illnesses and keep track of your health.