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Coronary Heart Disease
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Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Hong Kong. According to the Centre for Health Protection, some 6,400 people died of heart disease in 2009, roughly 70 percent died of coronary heart disease.


What is Coronary Heart Disease? 

Coronary arteries are blood vessels surrounding the heart. They supply blood to the heart itself and provide oxygen and nutrients to maintain the heart’s function.


C
oronary artery disease is the result of atherosclerosis, a condition where plaque thickens the artery wall and narrows the lumen. Blood flow to the heart is hence reduced.

 


What are the symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease? 

Coronary heart disease could potentially show no or very few symptoms and cause sudden death. However, some of the more noticeable symptoms are as follow: 

1. Breathing difficulty: the patient could experience breathing difficulty with exercise
2.
Chest pain (angina): The chest pain with exercise or emotional stress can spread to the arms, shoulders, neck and lower jaw. This usually lasts for a few minutes and resolves on resting. More frequently, there is no actual pain but just a dull ache or pressure sensation. When heart attack happens, the pain is more severe, longer lasting and will not resolve with rest. It may be associated with dizziness, sweating, nausea and weakness. 


Are you at risk of Coronary Heart Disease?
 
Go to self tests "Are you at risk of heart disease?" to know more about the risk factors.

How to diagnose coronary heart disease?
High risk individuals and those who have symptoms of coronary heart disease should seek medical advice. Various tests may be performed:

ECG:
A simple preliminary test but not very sensitive
More sensitive test then ECG but still a lot of false positive and false negative results
Cardiac structure and function can be assessed but coronary arteries cannot be seen directly
Non-invasive cardiac imaging:
Cardiac MR scan – able to detect any ischemia to the heart. Severe disease will be detected but mild disease will not be revealed.
Cardiac CT scan – can show up the coronary arteries non-invasively, even early disease can be detected.
Coronary angiogram is the most accurate test but is an invasive procedure.

 

 
How to treat coronary heart disease? 
The patient must adopt a healthy lifestyle, i.e. quit smoking, adopt a balanced diet, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.

1. Medical treatment: various drugs in different combinations can be used.

Aspirin

An anti-platelet agent, prevents vessel occlusion

Beta-blocker
Slows the heart rate and lowers stress on the heart
Vasodilator
Dilates blood vessels and reduces stress on the heart. It comes in different forms, such as sublingual tablets, sprays, skin patches or oral tablets
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitor (ACEI)
Lowers stress on the heart
Calcium-Antagonist
Reduces stress on the heart and dilates blood vessels
Cholesterol-lowering drugs
Reduces blood cholesterol level
 
2. Catheter intervention treatment: Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), commonly known as coronary angioplasty. With the use of balloon catheters, narrowed vessels are opened up and frequently stents are implanted.
 

3. Coronary artery bypass surgery: For severe disease that cannot be treated by PCI, bypass surgery is the ultimate treatment.


Prevent Coronary Heart Disease

1.   Reduce the consumption of food that are high in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol

2.   Maintain a healthy body weight

3.   Exercise regularly

4.   Don’t smoke

5. Avoid being over-stressed 

The major risk of coronary heart disease is that patients can lose their precious lives in a short span of time without any warning. This explains the need for early prevention. High-risk groups and those who have symptoms of coronary heart disease should seek medical advice from specialist doctors at their earliest convenience. Regular screenings, early detection and appropriate treatment, together with a healthy lifestyle can all reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.


Pro-Cardio is equipped with advanced non-invasive equipments for the comprehensive assessment of heart and brain blood vessels. To learn more, please go to: screening facilities

If you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact us on 2779 8388 or email us at
info@pro-cardio.com. Alternatively, you can also leave your questions for our specialist doctors, registered dietitians and fitness trainer on our online Interactive Forum

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