Predicting Coronary Heart Disease - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Health Education

Predicting Coronary Heart Disease

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 20 Mar 2013 - 17:46.

There are several risk assessment tools available that a doctor can use to assess or predict the risks of coronary heart disease. The famous one that all physicians use in America is called the ‘Framingham risk scoring system’.

It can be used by anyone who has not yet been diagnosed as having coronary heart disease. The Framingham risk scoring system helps to identify individuals at high risk. It is also a motivational tool so that patients can stick to a treatment plan. It also helps doctors to concentrate their efforts based on the severity of risk.
Primary tests needed to use the Framingham risk tool- Cholesterol and blood pressure levels of the patient.

Does any pain in the chest indicate coronary heart disease?
No. But if you have these symptoms:

• symptoms of chest pain that point out as angina (cardiac cause of chest pain)
• if you come under the high-risk profile (modifiable risk factors, behavioural risk  factors, non-modifiable risk factors)

Your doctor will recommend a few tests for the diagnosis

Tests recommended by a doctor to diagnose coronary heart disease

• ECG (to measure the electrical activity of heart)
• Cholesterol panel
• Stress test (to see if there is any evidence that the heart is not getting enough blood

supply to keep up with the demands of exercise)

• Ultrasound of the heart (Echocardiography)
• Angiogram (catheters  are placed in the arteries and a dye is squirted to visualize the inside of the arteries looking for blockages under x ray) if needed.

 

 

According to latest studies and reports, Indians seem to be more at risk. Their risk factors being:

• Have small size arteries
• Develop risk factors (modifiable risk factors, behavioral risk factors, non-modifiable risk factors) at a younger age
• Several unidentified genetic and environmental factors lead to increased risk of coronary heart disease.

Treatments available for coronary heart disease
Once diagnosed with coronary heart disease, treatment of risk factors is important to prevent further progression or worsening of the disease. 
Given below are the treatments that the doctor might recommend:


• If the patient is having angina but no major blockages then the doctor might recommend medications such as nitroglycerin to relieve pain
• If the patient is having a heart attack, angiogram with placement of a stent (opening the blocked blood vessels with metal struts) might be recommended. If you do get a stent then there are certain medications you have to take, to keep the stent open. These medications are commonly known as blood thinners ( anti platelet agents like aspirin, clopidogrel etc)
• If the patient has multiple blockages, in the main coronary arteries then coronary artery bypass surgery might be recommended
• Continued treatment of the patient’s risk factors too play an important part so that the disease does not become worse
• If heart is weakened from coronary heart disease there are certain medications that the patient needs to take such as beta blockers ( metoprolol), angiogtensin converting enzyme inhibitors (commonly known as ACE inhibitors such as lisinopril)

Steps needed to prevent coronary artery disease:

• Avoid smoking, exercising, eating healthy
• But if one has the risk factors then the best treatment is aggressively treating them
• If the patient has have high blood pressure, it needs to be treated to the goal based on your other medical illness, ideally normal blood pressure is better (less than 120/80)
• If the patient has high cholesterol (total cholesterol and bad cholesterol called LDL), it needs to be treated
• If the patient has diabetes (sugar disease) strict measures need to be taken to control it (fasting less than 100, and haemoglobin A1C less than 6.5)

It is always better to start controlling the risk factors even before they develop. Patients of coronary artery disease are at high-risk of a stroke. Therefore those who come under high risk factors should start imbibing a healthy lifestyle change for a better and healthy life.
 

*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.