Prevention is by eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking. Sometimes medication for diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure are also used. There is limited evidence for screening people who are at low risk and do not have symptoms. Treatment involves the same measures as prevention. Additional medications such as aspirin, beta blockers, or nitrogylcerin may be recommended. Procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be used in severe disease. In those with stable CAD it is unclear if PCI or CABG in addition to the other treatments improve life expectancy or decreases heart attack risk.
In 2013 CAD was the most common cause of death globally, resulting in 8.14 million deaths (16.8%) up from 5.74 million deaths (12%) in 1990. The risk of death from CAD for a given age has decreased between 1980 and 2010 especially in the developed world. The number of cases of CAD for a given age has also decreased between 1990 and 2010. In the United States in 2010 about 20% of those over 65 had CAD, while it was present in 7% of those 45 to 64, and 1.3% of those 18 to 45. Rates are higher among men than women of a given age.
Angina that changes in intensity, character or frequency is termed unstable. Unstable angina may precede myocardial infarction. In adults who go to the emergency with an unclear cause of pain, about 30% have pain due to coronary artery disease.
Job stress appears to play a minor role accounting for about 3% of cases. In one study, women who were free of stress from work life saw an increase in the diameter of their blood vessels, leading to decreased progression of atherosclerosis. Contrastingly, women who had high levels of work-related stress experienced a decrease in the diameter of their blood vessels and significantly increased disease progression. Also, having a type A behavior pattern, a group of personality characteristics including time urgency, competitiveness, hostility, and impatience is linked to an increased risk of coronary disease.
Risk factors can be classified as: fixed (such as age, sex, family history) and modifiable (such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, obesity, etc.)
Hypercholesterolemia (specifically, serum LDL concentrations) HDL(high density lipoprotein)has a protective effect over development of coronary artery disease.
Type A personality.Type A behaviour is associated with competitive drive, restlessness,hostility & a sense of impatience. Added in 1981 as an independent risk factor after a majority of research into the field discovered that TABP's were twice as likely to exhibit CAD as any other personality type (very controversial due to tobacco industry funding of these researches).
Hemostatic factors: High levels of fibrinogen and coagulation factor VII are associated with an increased risk of CAD. Factor VII levels are higher in individuals with a high intake of dietary fat. Decreased fibrinolytic activity has been reported in patients with coronary atherosclerosis.
High levels of Lipoprotein(a), a compound formed when LDL cholesterol combines with a substance known as Apoliprotein (a).
Typically, coronary artery disease occurs when part of the smooth, elastic lining inside a coronary artery (the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle) develops atherosclerosis. With atherosclerosis, the artery's lining becomes hardened, stiffened, and swollen with all sorts of "gunge" - including calcium deposits, fatty deposits, and abnormal inflammatory cells - to form a plaque. Deposits of calcium phosphates (hydroxyapatites) in the muscular layer of the blood vessels appear to play not only a significant role in stiffening arteries but also for the induction of an early phase of coronary arteriosclerosis. This can be seen in a so-called metastatic mechanism of calciphylaxis as it occurs in chronic kidney disease and haemodialysis (Rainer Liedtke 2008). Although these patients suffer from a kidney dysfunction, almost fifty percent of them die due to coronary artery disease. Plaques can be thought of as large "pimples" that protrude into the channel of an artery, causing a partial obstruction to blood flow. Patients with coronary artery disease might have just one or two plaques, or might have dozens distributed throughout their coronary arteries. However, there is a term in medicine called cardiac syndrome X, which describes chest pain (Angina pectoris) and chest discomfort in people who do not show signs of blockages in the larger coronary arteries of their hearts when an angiogram (coronary angiogram) is being performed.
For symptomatic patients, stress echocardiography can be used to make a diagnosis for obstructive coronary artery disease. The use of echocardiography is not recommended on individuals who are exhibiting no symptoms and are otherwise at low risk for developing coronary disease.
CAD has always been a tough disease to diagnose without the use of invasive or stressful activities. The development of the Multifunction Cardiogram (MCG) has changed the way CAD is diagnosed. The MCG consists of a 2 lead resting EKG signal is transformed into a mathematical model and compared against tens of thousands of clinical trials to diagnose a patient with an objective severity score, as well as secondary and tertiary results about the patient's condition. The results from MCG tests have been validated in 8 clinical trials which resulted in a database of over 50,000 patients where the system has demonstrated accuracy comparable to coronary angiography (90% overall sensitivity, 85% specificity). This level of accuracy comes from the application of advanced techniques in signal processing and systems analysis combined with a large scale clinical database which allows MCG to provide quantitative, evidence-based results to assist physicians in reaching a diagnosis. The MCG has also been awarded a Category III CPT code by the American Medical Association in the July 2009 CPT update.
The diagnosis of "Cardiac Syndrome X" - the rare coronary artery disease that is more common in women, as mentioned, an "exclusion" diagnosis. Therefore, usually the same tests are used as in any patient with the suspicion of coronary artery disease:
The diagnosis of coronary disease underlying particular symptoms depends largely on the nature of the symptoms. The first investigation is an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), both for "stable" angina and acute coronary syndrome. An X-ray of the chest and blood tests may be performed.
Diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome generally takes place in the emergency department, where ECGs may be performed sequentially to identify "evolving changes" (indicating ongoing damage to the heart muscle). Diagnosis is clear-cut if ECGs show elevation of the "ST segment", which in the context of severe typical chest pain is strongly indicative of an acute myocardial infarction (MI); this is termed a STEMI (ST-elevation MI), and is treated as an emergency with either urgent coronary angiography and percutaneous coronary intervention (angioplasty with or without stent insertion) or with thrombolysis ("clot buster" medication), whichever is available. In the absence of ST-segment elevation, heart damage is detected by cardiac markers (blood tests that identify heart muscle damage). If there is evidence of damage (infarction), the chest pain is attributed to a "non-ST elevation MI" (NSTEMI). If there is no evidence of damage, the term "unstable angina" is used. This process usually necessitates admission to hospital, and close observation on a coronary care unit for possible complications (such as cardiac arrhythmias – irregularities in the heart rate).
Depending on the risk assessment, stress testing or angiography may be used to identify and treat coronary artery disease in patients who have had an NSTEMI or unstable angina.
There are various risk assessment systems for determining the risk of coronary artery disease, with various emphasis on different variables above. A notable example is Framingham Score, used in the Framingham Heart Study. It is mainly based on age, gender, diabetes, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, tobacco smoking and systolic blood pressure.
In diabetes mellitus, there is little evidence that very tight blood sugar control improves cardiac risk although improved sugar control appears to decrease other problems like kidney failure and blindness. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends "low to moderate alcohol intake" to reduce risk of coronary artery disease although this remains without scientific cause and effect proof.
Avoiding the consumption of trans fats (in partially hydrogenated oils)
Exercise. In people with coronary artery disease, aerobic exercise, like walking, jogging, or swimming, can reduce the risk of mortality. Aerobic exercise can help decrease blood pressure and the amount of blood cholesterol (LDL) over time. It also increases HDL cholesterol which is considered as "good cholesterol". Separate to the question of the benefits of exercise; it is unclear whether doctors should spend time counseling patients to exercise. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, found "insufficient evidence" to recommend that doctors counsel patients on exercise, but "it did not review the evidence for the effectiveness of physical activity to reduce chronic disease, morbidity and mortality", it only examined the effectiveness of the counseling itself. The American Heart Association, based on a non-systematic review, recommends that doctors counsel patients on exercise.
In those with no other heart problems aspirin decreases the risk of a myocardial infarction in men but not women and increases the risk of bleeding, most of which is from the stomach. It does not affect the overall risk of death in either men or women. It is thus only recommended in adults who are at increased risk for coronary artery disease where increased risk is defined as 'men older than 90 years of age, postmenopausal women, and younger persons with risk factors for coronary artery disease (for example, hypertension, diabetes, or smoking) are at increased risk for heart disease and may wish to consider aspirin therapy'. More specifically, high-risk persons are 'those with a 5-year risk ≥ 3%'.
Clopidogrel plus aspirin reduces cardiovascular events more than aspirin alone in those with an STEMI. In others at high risk but not having an acute event the evidence is weak. In those who have had a stent more than 12 months of clopidogrel plus aspirin does not affect the risk of death.
CAD as of 2010 was the leading cause of death globally resulting in over 7 million deaths. This is up from 5.2 million deaths in 1990. It may affect individuals at any age but becomes dramatically more common at progressively older ages, with approximately a tripling with each decade of life. Males are affected more often than females.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death for both men and women and accounts for approximately 600,000 deaths in the United States every year. According to present trends in the United States, half of healthy 40-year-old males will develop CAD in the future, and one in three healthy 40-year-old women. It is the most common reason for death of men and women over 20 years of age in the United States. The Maasai of Africa have almost no heart disease.
Society and culture
Other terms sometimes used for this condition are "hardening of the arteries" and "narrowing of the arteries".
Recent research efforts focus on new angiogenic treatment modalities (angiogenesis) and various (adult) stem cell therapies.
A region on Chromosome 17 was confined to families with multiple cases of myocardial infarction.
A more controversial link is that between Chlamydophila pneumoniae infection and atherosclerosis. While this intracellular organism has been demonstrated in atherosclerotic plaques, evidence is inconclusive as to whether it can be considered a causative factor. Treatment with antibiotics in patients with proven atherosclerosis has not demonstrated a decreased risk of heart attacks or other coronary vascular diseases.
Since the 1990s the search for new treatment options for coronary artery disease patients, particularly for so called "no-option" coronary patients, focused on usage of angiogenesis and (adult) stem cell therapies. Numerous clinical trials were performed, either applying protein (angiogenic growth factor) therapies, such as FGF-1 or VEGF, or cell therapies using different kinds of adult stem cell populations. Research is still going on - with first promising results particularly for FGF-1 and utilization of endothelial progenitor cells.
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The InVision Guide to a Healthy Heart An interactive website on the development and function of the cardiovascular system and cardiovascular diseases and consequences. The website also features treatment options and preventative measures for maintaining a healthy heart.