Chest Pain & Coronary Artery Disease

When you have chest pain, the first thought that comes to your mind is that you may probably be experiencing a heart attack. Though chest pain maybe indicative of a heart problem, it can also be a sign of other less severe conditions.

When you have heart pain, you experience tightness in your chest as you engage in physical activities, such as running, walking, or jogging. You may also feel lots of discomfort on your shoulders as well as your jaw area. Other symptoms that come with heart discomfort include shortness of breath and excessive sweating. Some patients may also experience lightheadedness and nausea. Patients usually feel better when they slow down on their activities or take a rest. The medical term for heart pain is angina. As time passes by, without proper treatment worsening angina can lead to heart attack and put your life at risk.

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Your heart has blood vessels known as coronary arteries, whose primary function is to supply your heart with blood. Coronary heart disease is a condition that comes about when your coronary arteries get blocked or narrowed. This is usually as a result of cholesterol deposits also known as plaques build up inside the arteries. Consequently, it slows or stops adequate blood flow to the heart. This means that the heart does not get enough oxygen. It struggles to work properly. When the heart is deprived of enough oxygen, you start to feel chest pain or discomfort.

Following the chest pain or discomfort, naturally, you will slow down on your activities or sit down and rest. This allows your heart rate to slow down, and there is less demand for more oxygen. The chest pain and discomfort start to disappear slowly. Angina tend to increase gradually and reduce gradually. As mentioned earlier in this article, coronary heart disease may cause a heart attack. Whenever you feel that the symptoms of breathlessness and chest discomfort increase and fail to resolve; it is essential that you call a doctor immediately.

The risk factors of coronary heart disease include sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and unhealthy eating habits. Another risk factor of coronary heart disease is having a family history of the disease. This is especially if any of your family members have had the illness below fifty years. You are advised to go to a doctor for screening if you fall in any of the categories mentioned above. Prevention of coronary heart disease largely depends on keeping the risk factors at bay. This includes quitting smoking, limiting your intake of foods that cause heart problems, maintaining an average body mass index, living a healthy lifestyle, and effectively managing stress levels.

Treatment of Coronary Artery Disease

In a lot of patients, lifestyle modification and regular medication to control the risk factors are all that is needed. However, in more severe conditions, unblocking the arteries in the form of coronary angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery may be necessary.


Heart Diseases

Our Cardiologist

Dr. Paul Ong

Senior Consultant Cardiologist

BA (Cambridge)
MB BChir (Cambridge)
MA (Cambridge)
CCST Cardiology (UK)
FRCP (London)
FESC (Europe)