Coronary Heart Disease: The World’s Most Dangerous Disease
At Advanced Family Medicine (AFM) we think that modern medicine is truly a wonderful thing, but to truly appreciate where we are today, it is helpful to look back to where we have come from; and one the most dynamic examples of the progress of medicine is in regards to coronary heart disease (CHD).
Only a short two hundred years ago the primary method of treating CHD was by the crudest of methods; ‘bloodletting, a tincture of opium, (and) bed rest...’1 Since then–thankfully–leaps and bounds have been made in regards to our understanding of the disease; and now much can be done to both treat, and prevent this deadly disease. For the rest of this post we want to explore CHD and discuss some of the steps that can be taken to treat and prevent it.
What is Coronary Heart Disease?
Coronary heart disease is the interruption of the flow of blood to the heart, which deprives the body of the oxygen it needs to function, this, unless treated quickly, often results in death. But what exactly is it that stops the flow of blood to the heart? Simply put, it is the build up of plaque inside of the coronary arteries which over time cut off the flow of blood, this build up of plaque is known as atherosclerosis, and as it progresses the risk of CHD becomes greater. Click the following links for more information on CHD and atherosclerosis.
How Can it be Treated/Prevented?
While there is no one specific trigger for CHD, there is significant evidence that a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, family history, and a poor diet, are some of the main causes of the disease. Thankfully the majority of these risk amplifiers are lifestyle choices, and therefore can be avoided; and in some cases reversed, if changes are made before permanent damage can be done.
Currently the best treatment for CHD is prevention, and since there are often no symptoms of the disease until it is too late, there is extra incentive for undergoing screenings for CHD. AFM has the ability to run a comprehensive range of tests: these tests include; electrocardiogram, stress test, echocardiogram, cardiac scan, nuclear tests, and angiograms. As you age these tests become of greater importance, because they can catch the development of serious conditions before they strike.
These tests are crucial for anyone who has a family history of CHD and is over the age of 50.
If tests do show that you have a CHD condition the primary treatments consist of taking prescription drugs to ease the blockage of the coronary artery, and lifestyle changes that promote a healthy lifestyle.
What to do if You have Questions
If you have questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact any of the primary care physicians at AFM – (425) 453-6838. However, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a heart attack– chest pain, squeezing/pressing sensation in your chest, neck, back, and jaw pain, contact 911 right away.