The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. This is called coronary artery disease and happens slowly over time. It's the major reason people have heart attacks (Myocardial Infarction).
- High Blood Pressure
- High Blood Cholesterol
- High Stress
- Being Overweight
- Lack of Exercise
- Drinking Alcohol
Test & Diagnostics
You may need blood taken from a blood vessel in your hand, arm, or the bend in your elbow. More than one blood draw may be needed depending on the tests that are ordered.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
An electrocardiogram is a recording of the electrical currents that cause the heart to beat. From this recording, your doctor can detect many abnormalities including disturbances of heart rhythm and abnormal thickening of the heart muscle.
Cardiac Catheterization (Angiography)
A cardiac catheterization procedure provides your doctor with information about your heart's arteries, valves, blood flow, and pumping action. During the procedure, the doctor inserts a very thin tube called a catheter into your affected artery (usually in your groin area) and directs it through the artery into the aorta, then into your heart.
Also called an echo, this test involves ultrasound, using sound waves to show pictures of the size and shape of your heart. An echo also looks at how your heart moves when it is beating. This test can help identify problems such as narrowing or leaking of valves, heart defects such as abnormal communication between the right and left sides of the heart, and heart muscle malfunction.
Exercise Stress Test
This test helps your doctor see the changes that take place in your heart during exercise. It checks for blockages in the arteries of your heart. During the test, an EKG is done while you ride an exercise bike or walk on a treadmill.
- Diet Changes
- Lifestyle Changes
- Risk Factor Reduction
Angioplasty and Stenting
In the cardiac catheterization laboratory, you will have an angiogram, a test in which a dye is injected into a blood vessel to determine if it is blocked. If it is, you may then be treated with angioplasty. During an angioplasty, the doctor makes a small puncture hole into one or more of your blood vessels (usually in the groin area). A small wire with a balloon on the end is sent up into a blocked artery in your heart. The doctor inflates the balloon to push the plaque (fatty deposits) against the artery wall. This makes more room for blood to flow. If necessary, a stent is then placed in the artery to maintain blood flow. A stent is a metal, mesh tube that is placed in the artery to help it stay open after angioplasty.
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
This surgery is also known as CABG, heart bypass surgery, or open-heart surgery. A CABG can improve blood flow to the heart by using an artery or vein from your chestwall, arm, or leg. These vessels then send blood around the blocked artery. This surgery may also decrease your risk of having a heart attack in the future.