Coronary Artery Disease & Familial Heart Disease: What you should know
What is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)?
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition in which plague builds up and sticks to one’s artery, preventing the blood flow and resulting in chest pain. If left unattended, CAD can lead to a heart attack or even death in some cases. CAD is a result of a high cholesterol diet and lack of exercise and is sometimes hereditary.
What are the symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease?
The most common and widely experienced symptom of CAD is Angina or chest pain. One may feel heartburn, pressure, numbness or heaviness in the chest. In addition to chest, discomfort can be felt in the arms, jaw, the left shoulder, back or neck. One may also experience some generic symptoms like sweating (cold sweat), nausea, indigestion, dizziness and shortness of breath. If a patient experiences these symptoms coupled with palpitations and increased heartbeat, he/she should see a doctor.
Read a detailed article on Diagnosis of CAD.
What are the risk factors?
According to an experienced cardiologist from Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi, following are risk factors for CAD
Age: Age is one of the most important factors when it Age: Age is one of the most important factors when it comes to CAD. A woman above 55 years of age and a man above 45 years of age, will have increased chances of Coronary Artery Disease.
Hereditary: People with family history of heart diseases are most susceptible to CAD. Reports state that South Asians in particular are at an increased risk.
Mental Health: People with anxiety or those who suffer from chronic stress have poor mental health in general and are more prone to heart ailments, this makes them more likely to suffer from the disease.
Poor Lifestyle: People who don’t exercise and lead a sedentary lifestyle, have unhealthy eating habits and sleep less, along with other factors (mentioned above)- run the risk of being more prone to cardiac ailments, including CAD. Cigarette smoking also contributes to this.
Other Diseases: Being a victim of other health ailments like diabetes, end-stage renal disease, HIV/AIDS, chronic inflammatory diseases etc, can also increase one’s chances of developing Coronary artery disease.
What is Familial Heart Disease?
As the name suggests a cardiac disease that runs in the family, is known as a Familial Heart Disease. The most common FHD are Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (when the heart valves have two edges instead of three), Marfan Syndrome (thickening of heart valves) and Bicuspid aortic valve disease (damage to cardiac connective tissues and blood vessels). The patient would require medical testing by an experienced cardiologist to diagnose the disease, and if confirmed, will be asked to make certain lifestyle changes and follow medical treatment or may be advised heart surgery (if one is required.)
While symptoms may vary from case to case, here are some common ones to help identify FHD:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest Pain
- Exercise Intolerance
Dr. Rajeeve Rajput is a Senior Interventional Cardiologist. He completed his Graduation, Post Graduation and Doctorate in Cardiology from KG Medical College, Lucknow. After completing his education Dr. Rajput worked as an Angioplasty and Heart Transplant surgeon in Sydney, Australia. Dr. Rajput is an accomplished professional in his field and his specialities include: Clinical Card, Interventional Cardiology and Heart Failure.
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