Treatments for Coronary heart disease


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Treatment list for Coronary heart disease: The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Coronary heart disease includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

Treatment of Coronary heart disease: medical news summaries: The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Coronary heart disease:

Treatments of Coronary heart disease discussion: Drugs used to treat CHD include:

Aspirin – Aspirin helps to lower the risk of a heart attack for those who have already had one. It also helps to keep arteries open in those who have had a previous heart bypass or other artery-opening procedure such as coronary angioplasty.

Because of its risks, aspirin is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for preventing heart attacks in healthy individuals. It may be harmful for some persons, especially those with no risk of heart disease. Patients must be assessed carefully to make sure the benefits of taking aspirin outweigh the risks. Talk to your doctor about whether taking aspirin is right for you.
 

Digitalis – makes the heart contract harder and is used when the heart's pumping function has been weakened; it also slows some fast heart rhythms.
 

ACE inhibitor – stops the production of a chemical that makes blood vessels narrow and is used to help control high blood pressure and for damaged heart muscle. It may be prescribed after a heart attack to help the heart pump blood better. It is also used for persons with heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.
 

Beta blocker – slows the heart and makes it beat with less contracting force, so blood pressure drops and the heart works less hard. It is used for high blood pressure, chest pain, and to prevent a repeat heart attack.
 

Nitrates – relaxes blood vessels and stops chest pain.
 

Calcium channel blocker – relaxes blood vessels and is used for high blood pressure and chest pain.
 

Diuretic – decreases fluid in the body and is used for high blood pressure. Diuretics are sometimes referred to as "water pills."
 

Blood cholesterol-lowering agents – decrease LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
 

Thrombolytic agents–also called "clot busting drugs," they are given during a heart attack to break up a blood clot in a coronary artery in order to restore blood flow.
 

Drugs can cause side effects. If side effects occur, report them to your doctor. Often, a change in the dose or type of a medication, or the use of a combination of drugs can stop the side effect.1

CHD is treated in a number of ways, depending on the seriousness of the disease. For many people, CHD is managed with lifestyle changes and medications. Others with severe CHD may need surgery. In any case, once CHD develops, it requires lifelong management. 2

Although great advances have been made in treating CHD, changing one's habits remains the single most effective way to stop the disease from progressing.

If you know that you have CHD, changing your diet to one low in fat, especially saturated fat, and cholesterol will help reduce high blood cholesterol, a primary cause of atherosclerosis. In fact, it is even more important to keep your cholesterol low after a heart attack to help lower your risk of having another one. Eating less fat should also help you lose weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower blood cholesterol and is the most effective lifestyle way to reduce high blood pressure, another risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease.

People with CHD can also benefit from exercise. Recent research has shown that even moderate amounts of physical activity are associated with lower death rates from CHD. However, people with severe CHD may have to restrict their exercise somewhat. If you have CHD, check with your doctor to find out what kinds of exercise are best for you.

Smoking is one of the three major risk factors for CHD. Quitting smoking dramatically lowers the risk of a heart attack and also reduces the risk of a second heart attack in people who have already had one. 2

What medications are used to treat coronary heart disease? 2

What types of surgery are used to treat CHD? Many patients can control CHD with lifestyle changes and medication. Surgery may be recommended for patients who continue to have frequent or disabling angina despite the use of medications, or people who are found to have severe blockages in their coronary arteries.

Coronary angioplasty or balloon angioplasty begins with a procedure similar to that described under angiography. However, the catheter positioned in the narrowed coronary artery has a tiny balloon at its tip. The balloon is inflated and deflated to stretch or break open the narrowing and improve the passage for blood flow. The balloon-tipped catheter is then removed.

Strictly speaking, angioplasty is not surgery. It is done while the patient is awake and may last 1 to 2 hours. If angioplasty does not widen the artery or if complications occur, bypass surgery may be needed.

In a coronary artery bypass operation, a blood vessel, usually taken from the leg or chest, is grafted onto the blocked artery, bypassing the blocked area. If more than one artery is blocked, a bypass can be done on each. The blood can then go around the obstruction to supply the heart with enough blood to relieve chest pain.

Bypass surgery relieves symptoms of heart disease but does not cure it. Usually you will need to make a number of changes in your lifestyle after the operation. If your normal lifestyle includes smoking, a high-fat diet, or no exercise, changes are advised2

There are three main treatments for heart disease:

  1. Medicine;
  2. "Balloon" angioplasty and other methods to open up the blockage in your arteries; and
  3. Coronary artery bypass surgery.

These treatments work to make the blood flow to the heart muscle better and to lower your chances of having a heart attack. None of these treatments can cure heart disease. In addition to these treatments, you also need to eat healthy, low-fat, low-salt foods and get lots of exercise.

1. Medicine. Taking heart medicine can help more blood flow to the heart muscle by relaxing the arteries that carry blood to your heart, lowering your heart rate, and lowering your blood pressure. Medicine is often the first step in treating heart disease. Some of the medicines used to treat heart disease are nitroglycerin, beta-blockers, and calcium antagonists. If medicine does not work, doctors will try other ways to help get more blood to your heart.

2. "Balloon" Angioplasty and other methods for opening blocked arteries. Balloon angioplasty and other methods are done to open up your blocked arteries. All of these methods are done by putting a small tube into one of the arteries in your leg, moving the tube up to your heart and into the coronary artery which takes blood to the heart. Balloon angioplasty stretches or breaks open the blockage and pushes it to the side of the artery wall. Other methods scrape away the blockage or use a small laser tip to burn or break down the blockage inside the artery. The tube is then removed from your body. Sometimes a stent (a small metal tube) is placed at the blockage site to keep the artery open. The stent stays in your body. With all of these methods, there is a chance that the blockage will return.

3. Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery. This is an operation in which a blood vessel is taken from your leg or chest and is put onto the blocked artery. The blood vessel bypasses or goes around the blocked area to bring blood to the heart. A bypass can be done for each blocked artery. Bypass surgery can make your chest pain better and lower the risk of heart attack, but it does not cure heart disease.3

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Heart Disease And Medications: NHLBI
2. excerpt from NHLBI, coronary heart disease: NHLBI
3. excerpt from Coronary Artery Disease (Easy to Read): NWHIC

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