Heart disease facts

Heart disease facts
Heart disease facts

Before you want to know all about heart disease facts, first of all, you need to know what heart disease actually is.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD) or also known as coronary heart/artery disease, is a medical condition caused by narrowing of the coronary artery, which supply oxygen and other nutrients to the heart muscle. As a result, the heart suffers from a shortage of oxygen and other nutrients which is called ischemia.

Some heart disease facts are described below:

Coronary artery disease can lead to:

1. Chest Pain (Angina Pectoris):

Angina is a kind of chest pain that occurs when there is decreased blood oxygen supply to an area of the heart muscle. In most cases, the lack of blood supply is due to a narrowing of the coronary arteries as a result of atherosclerosis. Most of the deaths are due to atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a condition of progressive degeneration of the artery wall. A healthy artery has a pale, smooth, glistening lining. In an unhealthy artery, there are yellow fatty streaks under the endothelium. A fat deposit called atheroma is build up in the artery from cholesterol taken up from the blood. This forms irregular raised patches that impede blood flow. A blood clot or thrombus is likely to form. A blood clot formed at an atherosclerotic site may accumulate and cause blockage of the artery.

This blockage in the artery reduces the blood flow of the heart. As a result, a region of the heart muscle is deprived of an adequate blood supply which leads to acute chest pain known as angina.

Symptoms of angina: Angina is usually felt as:

  1. Pressure, heaviness, tightening, squeezing, or pain across the chest, particularly behind the sternum.
  2. This pain often radiates to the neck, jaw, arms, back, or even the teeth.
  3. Patients may also suffer indigestion, heartburn, weakness, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath.
  4. Angina usually occurs during physical exertion, severe emotional stress, or after a heavy meal, when the heart muscle demands more blood oxygen which the narrowed coronary arteries cannot deliver.
  5. Angina typically lasts from 1 to 15 minutes and is relieved by rest or by placing a nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue. Both rest and nitroglycerin decrease the heart muscles demand for oxygen, which relieves angina.

2. Heart attack:

Myocardial infarction (MI) which is also known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die.

Cause of heart attack: Myocardial infarction occurs because of blockage of a coronary artery following the rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque, which is an unstable collection of lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids) in the wall of an artery. The resulting ischemia (restriction in blood supply) and oxygen shortage cause damage or even death (infarction) of the heart muscle tissue (myocardium). Hence the name, myocardial infarction.

Reason: Physical exertion, Psychological stress, acute severe infection such as pneumonia.

Symptoms: Typical symptoms of myocardial infarction include-

Sudden feeling of chest pain (typically radiating to the left arm or left side of the neck), nausea, vomiting tendency or vommiting, palpitations, sweating, and anxiety (often described as a sense of impending doom), loss of consciousness and sudden death.

3. Heart Failure:

Heart failure (HF), which is also called congestive heart failure (CHF) or congestive cardiac failure (CCF), which occurs when the heart is unable to provide the necessary pumping action to distribute sufficient amount of blood flow to meet the needs of the body.

Symptoms of Heart failure: Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including-

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Leg swelling
  3. Easy fatigue ability
  4. Exercise intolerance.

Risk factors of Coronary Heart Disease:

Age: The more you will age, the more the risk of damaged and narrowed arteries.

Sex: Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease than the women. However, the risk for women also increases after menopause.

Family history: A family history of heart disease is linked with a higher risk of coronary artery diseases. The risk is highest if a father or a brother was diagnosed with heart disease before age 55, or a mother or a sister developed it before age 65.

Smoking: Nicotine from cigar constricts blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis.

High blood pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be the result of hardening and thickening of arteries, narrowing the channel through which blood can flow.

High blood cholesterol levels: Excess amount of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of formation of plaques and atherosclerosis. High cholesterol can be caused by a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), bad cholesterol. A low level of high-density lipoprotein, known as the good cholesterol, also can promote atherosclerosis:

Diabetes: Diabetes is also associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and it is a very important factor.

Obesity: Excess weight typically worsens the other risk factors.

Physical inactivity: Lack of physical exercise also is connected with coronary artery disease and some of its risk factors, as well.

Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease:

Lifestyle changes can help to prevent or slow the progression of coronary artery disease-

  1. Stop smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and carbon monoxide reduces oxygen in the blood as well as damages the lining of the blood vessels.
  2. Control blood pressure: The ideal blood pressure is below 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, as measured in millimeters of mercury.
  3. Check and Control cholesterol
  4. Control diabetes: If somebody has diabetes, blood sugar control can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  5. Regular Physical exercise: Exercise helps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and control diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure – all risk factors for coronary artery disease. 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity most or all days of the week is enough.
  6. Healthy foods: A heart-healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium can help to control your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Eating one or two servings of fish every week also is beneficial.
  7. Avoid obesity: Being overweight increases the risk of coronary artery disease. Losing even just a little bit of pounds can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of coronary artery disease.
  8. Manage stress: Reduce stress as much as possible. Keep practicing for healthy techniques for managing stress, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing.

The Concept of the Treatment of Coronary Heart disease

Pace Maker Activities: The contraction of the heart muscle is initiated by electric impulses. The rate at which these impulses are given, controls the heart rate. The cells that create these rhythmical impulses are called pacemaker cells and they directly control heart rate. The SA node located in the wall of the right atrium is the natural pacemaker of human heart, also called the primary pacemaker.

Artificial pacemaker: This is a small battery operated medical device that uses electrical impulses to contact heart muscle and regulate the beating of the heart.

The need for artificial pacemaker:

  1. When a natural pacemaker is too slow and the heartbeat becomes slower.
  2. Block in the heart’s electrical conduction system.
  3. Heartbeat becomes irregular

Pacemaker insertion: A pacemaker is inserted into the patient under the skin using either local or general anesthesia. It is usually placed below the collar bone.


  1. A possible complication may be pacemaker mediated tachycardia or arrhythmia.
  2. Some electronic equipment way interferes with its activity.
  3. It may need to be replaced after a long time.

Mode of Action of Pace Maker: When the natural pacemaker is defective or there is blockage of the heart’s electrical pathways, the artificial pacemaker sends electrical impulses to the heart to pump it properly. An electrode/wire is placed near the heart through which electrical changes travel to heart from the pacemaker.

Open Heart Surgery:

Open heart surgery is a type of surgery, in which where the chest is opened and surgery is done on the heart muscle, valves, arteries or other parts of the heart. The term ‘open’ means that the whole chest is cut open in such a way that even the ribs are also separated.

A heart-lung machine (a special device) is usually used during the open heart surgery. It supplies oxygen-rich blood to the brain and other organs while the heart is stopped and the surgeon is working on the heart.

    Some common examples of open heart surgery:

  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Valve replacement surgery
  • Corrective surgery for congenital heart disease
  • Some operations of great vessels of the heart


It is the technique of mechanically widening narrowed or obstructed or atheroma affected arteries usually due to atherosclerosis.

Process of angioplasty

An empty and collapsed balloon known as a balloon catheter is passed into the narrowed segment of the vessel and then inflated to a fixed size. The balloon crushes the fatty deposits and opens up the blood vessel for improved blood flow, and then the balloon is deflated and withdrawn. A stent is inserted at the same time to ensure the vessel remains open.


Angioplasty is done to treat the narrowed coronary arteries of the heart in coronary heart disease.