Dr. Brajesh Kumar Mishra

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Dr. Brajesh Kumar Mishra

Consultant - Cardiology

Manipal Hospitals, Gurugram

The Silent Threat: Understanding Risk Factors and Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

Posted On: Mar 12, 2024

blogs read 5 Min Read

Risk Factors and Symptoms of Coronary Artery

Coronary artery disease (CAD), often referred to as heart disease, is a leading cause of death globally. It arises when plaque, a fatty substance, builds up on the inner walls of the coronary arteries, the vessels supplying blood to the heart muscle. This buildup narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow and potentially leading to chest pain, heart attack, or even heart failure. The problem is noticed at advanced stages due to two common reasons: one is not being aware of early coronary artery disease symptoms and second overlooking the symptoms till the time they cause any severe problem. This blog is a compilation of all the necessary information that you must know about coronary artery disease featuring risk factors, warning signs and prevention tips by our expert cardiologist in Gururgram

Understanding the Culprits: Risk Factors for CAD

While some coronary heart disease risk factors are non-modifiable, like age and family history, adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your overall coronary artery disease risk factors. Here's a breakdown of the key players:

Modifiable Risk Factors:

  • Unhealthy Diet

A diet high in saturated and trans fats, processed foods, and added sugar, and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can contribute to plaque buildup.

  • Physical Inactivity

Lack of exercise weakens the heart and increases your risk of developing other risk factors like obesity and high blood pressure.

  • Smoking

Smoking damages blood vessels and increases inflammation, significantly elevating your risk of CAD.

  • Excess Weight and Obesity

Carrying excess weight puts extra strain on your heart and increases your risk of other risk factors.

  • Diabetes

Uncontrolled diabetes can damage blood vessels and contribute to plaque buildup.

  • High Blood Pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder, increasing the risk of damage to the arteries.

  • High Cholesterol

High levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup, while low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol can't effectively remove LDL particles.

  • Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to unhealthy lifestyle choices and increase blood pressure.

Non-Modifiable Risk Factors:

  • Age

The risk of CAD increases with age.

  • Family history

Having a close relative with CAD increases your risk.

  • Gender

While men are generally at higher risk for CAD at a younger age, women's risk increases after menopause.

To know more about it visit the best cardiolgy hospital in Gurugram and consult with our team of experts. 

Warning Signs You Shouldn't Ignore: Symptoms of CAD

CAD can sometimes progress silently with minimal symptoms. However, here are some signs to be aware of:

  • Angina (chest pain)

This is the most common symptom of CAD, often described as a pressure, tightness, or squeezing sensation in the chest. It can be triggered by physical exertion, emotional stress, or cold weather and typically goes away with rest or medication.

  • Shortness of breath

You might experience difficulty catching your breath, especially during exertion or when lying flat.

  • Discomfort in the upper body

Pain, burning, or tightness may be felt in the arms, shoulders, back, neck, or jaw, along with chest pain.

  • Fatigue

Unexplained tiredness or weakness can be a sign of CAD.

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

This can occur due to reduced blood flow to the heart and brain.

  • Nausea or vomiting

These symptoms can be associated with a heart attack, especially in women.

Tips to Prevent Coronary Artery Diseases  

The good news is that you can significantly reduce your risk of developing CAD by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Here are some key strategies to incorporate into your daily routine:

  • Prioritise fruits, vegetables, and whole grains: These nutrient-rich foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre, all crucial for heart health.

  • Choose lean protein sources: Opt for fish, poultry, beans, and lentils over red meat and processed meats.

  • Limit unhealthy fats: Reduce saturated and trans fats found in fried foods, processed foods, and fatty cuts of meat. Choose healthy fats like those found in avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.

  • Minimize added sugar and refined carbohydrates: Excessive sugar and refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and pastries can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and other risk factors for CAD.

  • Increase potassium intake: Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, and fruits like bananas, and oranges are good sources.

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week: Engaging in regular physical activity strengthens your heart, improves blood flow, and helps manage weight. This can include brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, or any activity you enjoy that gets your heart rate up.

  • Incorporate strength training at least twice a week: Building muscle mass helps boost metabolism and improve overall cardiovascular health.

  • Smoking is a major risk factor for CAD: Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your heart health. Seek support from your doctor or a smoking cessation program if needed.

  • Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of heart disease: Moderate alcohol consumption, if any, should be discussed with your doctor.

  • Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar: Early detection and management of these conditions can significantly reduce your risk of CAD. You can enrol for any health checkup package from our wide range of packages to keep a check on your health. 
    Book a consultation with our experienced cardiologist for diagnosis or to know more about heart health. We also invite you to bookmark our blog page to access the latest blogs written by our expert doctors on various topics related to health and nutrition. 

By understanding the risk factors and symptoms of CAD, you can take proactive steps to protect your heart. This involves adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, managing existing health conditions, and getting regular checkups with your doctor. Early detection and intervention can significantly improve your chances of living a long and healthy life. Living a heart-healthy life is an investment in your future. By prioritizing your cardiovascular health, you can empower yourself to live a long and active life.

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