Common Heart Screenings For Detecting Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease or CAD is one of the most common kinds of heart disease. However, there is something we can do to prevent or treat it. CAD happens when plaque, which is a wax-like substance gets builds up in the arteries that are supplying blood to the muscles of the heart. This can cause heart failure eventually Coronary Artery Disease.
Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
- Pain in the chest, especially in the center of the chest or its left side, it can last for some time or come and go at regular intervals. You can feel some pressure, a feeling of fullness, or just pain.
- Discomfort in the upper body is felt. This can be in one or both the arms, the neck or shoulders, the jaw, or even the upper part of the stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or even without any chest discomfort.
- Vomiting or nausea with dizziness, or having cold sweat.
- Women may have different symptoms. The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is chest pain but there can be other symptoms, like extreme fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, and back or jaw pain.
Causes of coronary artery disease
One of the common causes of coronary artery disease is the plaque build-up inside the arteries. The decrease in blood flow will happen when these arteries become either partially or fully blocked. Other causes of damage or blockage to the coronary artery may also reduce the blood flow to the heart in some rare cases.
Risk factors of coronary artery disease
It is important to understand the risk factors for CAD which can help you to prevent or lessen the possibility of developing this disease –
- high blood pressure
- rising cholesterol levels
- smoking or use of tobacco
- lack of physical activity
- unhealthy eating habits
- irregular sleep
- emotional stress
- high alcohol consumption
- history of any preeclampsia at the time of pregnancy
Age is also a risk factor for coronary artery disease, men have more risk for the disease starting from 45 years of age while women have a bigger risk from 55 years of age. The risk for CAD is also high if there is a family history of the Coronary Artery Disease.
What is the purpose of heart screening tests for coronary artery disease?
The main symptom of coronary disease is a heart attack, sometimes with no chest pain or other symptoms as a warning. Doctors perform heart screening tests for detecting signs of coronary artery disease and the tests are developed in a way to detect plaque before a coronary artery has become completely blocked.
Screening tests are very important for people having risk factors for coronary heart disease. As we have seen, these risk factors will include a family history of coronary artery disease, an abnormal cholesterol profile, smoking, high blood pressure (called hypertension), as well as diabetes among others Coronary Artery Disease.
Some of the essential heart screening tests for checking cardiovascular health are –
- Electrocardiography (ECG) – It is one of the crucial heart screening tests because it will measure the activity of the heart to understand the heart rate as well as its rhythm.
- Exercise cardiac stress test – It involves exercising on a treadmill or bike at rising levels of toughness, while the blood pressure, heart rate, and rhythm, as well as electrical activity, are monitored to determine the blood flow to the heart.
- Coronary CT angiography (CTA) – This heart screening test will use a computed tomography (CT) as well as an intravenous contrast material to create 3-D images of the coronary arteries for understanding the exact location of plaque build-up.
- Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring – This test will study the coronary arteries for measuring the calcium in them which shows the amount of plaque present in the arteries. However, calcium scoring will measure the presence of plaque only and cannot evaluate the severity of how much the coronary artery has narrowed due to the plaque.
- Coronary catheter angiography – Photographs will be taken to show the blood flow through coronary arteries as well as any blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries. In catheter angiography, a catheter is inserted into an artery, and contrast material is injected through it, and images are taken using X-rays Coronary Artery Disease.
If you don’t meet the ideal test results after a heart screening test, it doesn’t mean that you will develop a serious cardiovascular disease. It can mean that you can manage your health in the best way.
In the case of coronary artery disease, plaque will grow inside the walls of the coronary arteries till the blood flow to the muscle of the heart is reduced. The problem can be detected by going for heart screening tests at regular intervals. Leading a healthy life that will includes healthy habits such as good nutrition, body weight management, and getting enough physical activity for the body can help to a great extent in avoiding Coronary Artery Disease.
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