If your doctor has diagnosed you with, or suspects you may be developing, coronary artery disease, then it is very important that you take this news about your health seriously. Heart diseases is currently the cause of one-third of all deaths in the United States, and the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease. This type of heart disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on your artery walls. Not only can this plaque break off from the artery walls and become lodged in your heart or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke, but it also narrows your arteries.
If you have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease and are awaiting treatment recommendations from your doctor--someone at a place like Van Wert County Hospital--read on to learn what they may recommend you do to prevent blocked arteries and how doctors typically treat narrowed and blocked arteries when needed.
Coronary Artery Disease: Blocked Artery Prevention
The goal of coronary artery disease treatment is to reduce artery wall inflammation caused by plaque build-up, prevent further accumulation of plaque that could lead to blocked arteries, and, of course, prevent heart attacks and strokes.
The most important thing you can do to help control your coronary artery disease is take steps to lead a healthier lifestyle. In the past, you may have heard that a bad diet, smoking, and not exercising could lead to heart disease and decided to just "take your chances" due to the feeling that you, along with many others, have that your chances of developing heart disease were low; now you know that you have heart disease, it is time to take living a heart-healthy lifestyle more seriously.
Your diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, little saturated fat, and a moderate amount of the healthier type of fat called omega-3 fat. Contrary to popular belief, high blood cholesterol is not caused by eating too much dietary cholesterol, but instead caused by eating too much saturated fat. A good diet will help keep your blood cholesterol levels low to avoid further plaque build-up on your artery walls.
Smoking raises your blood pressure, so you need to quit now that you have an additional heart attack risk factor
Your doctor may prescribe medications to further lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, a blood thinner, and/or other medications they feel you need to improve your health. Take them every day and never skip doses.
Treatments for Narrowed or Blocked Arteries
Visiting your doctor on a regular basis is very important when you have coronary artery disease; he or she needs to perform regular tests on your heart to detect excessively narrowed or blocked arteries before they become deadly. If your doctor finds or suspects an excessively narrowed or blocked artery, then they may recommend surgery to restore your health.
The two most common types of surgeries used to treat blocked arteries include:
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting. During this procedure, your doctor will "re-route" the arteries near the blocked one to improve your blood flow. The blocked artery will then no longer be an active part of your cardiovascular system and less likely to cause any health problems. This is an open-heart surgery.
Angioplasty. During this procedure, your doctor will insert a tube called a catheter into the narrowed or blocked artery through a small incision in your skin. A device connected to the catheter, called a balloon, is then inflated to press the built-up plaque against your artery walls. This compresses the plaque tightly to keep it from interfering with blood flow. A stent is often then placed in the artery to keep it open.
If you were just diagnosed with coronary artery disease, then it is important to follow your doctor's advice to avoid further narrowing of your arteries and complete blockages. Leading a healthy lifestyle and taking any medications your doctor prescribes can help you avoid artery blockages that require surgical intervention.