“Healthy heart has been a major concern for India as a nation. According to reports (September 2016) by www.healthsite.com and www.heart.org, it is estimated that 17.5 million people die each year in India from cardiovascular diseases, amounting to a staggering 31% of all deaths worldwide. 80% of all cardiovascular deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, 74% of urban Indians are at risk of cardiovascular diseases. There are around 40 million heart patients in India of which 19 million reside in urban areas and 21 million belong to rural India. This suggests that heart diseases are fast becoming an epidemic in India and a structured solution is needed to combat this issue.”
Heart diseases can be classified into 5 major types:
- Coronary artery heart disease affects the arteries to the heart
- Valvular heart disease affects the functioning of valves which regulate the blood flow in and out of the heart
- Cardiomyopathy affects the heart muscle squeezes
- Heart rhythm disturbances (Arrhythmias) affects the electrical conduction of the heart
- Heart infections are the situations where the heart develops structural problems before birth
Coronary heart disease is a situation when the cholesterol plaque builds up inside the coronary artery walls. Gradually, this plaque blocks the artery reducing the blood flow through it. Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle and coronary artery disease occurs when there is a buildup of cholesterol plaque inside the artery walls. Over time, this buildup of plaque may partially block the artery and decrease blood flow through it. A heart attack occurs when a plaque ruptures and forms a clot in the artery causing a complete blockage. That part of the heart muscle that is denied blood supply starts to die.
Classic signs and symptoms of coronary heart disease may include:
- Chest pain (angina) – This pain may radiate or move to the arm, neck or back
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
Not all people with coronary artery disease have chest pain as a symptom. Some may have signs and symptoms of indigestion, or exercise intolerance where they cannot perform activities that they normally once could. Coronary heart disease is initially diagnosed by patient history and physical examination. ECG blood tests, and tests to image the arteries and heart muscle confirm the diagnosis. Treatment for coronary heart disease depends upon its severity. Many times lifestyle changes such as eating a heart healthy diet, regular exercise, no smoke along with a regular check on high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes may limit the artery narrowing.