What is ischemic heart disease? Symptoms and treatment options


heart disease

Ischemic heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and is caused by narrowed heart arteries.
The most common symptom is chest discomfort that feels like squeezing and gets worse with exertion; other symptoms are shortness of breath, pain in the jaw, or excessive sweating.
Most types of ischemic heart disease can be treated with lifestyle modifications, medications, or a pacemaker.
This article was reviewed by John Osborne, MD, PhD, and the Director of Cardiology for Dallas-based State of the Heart Cardiology.
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Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is the most common type of heart disease. It affects about 18 million adults over age 20 in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of ischemic heart disease, common symptoms, and the biggest risk factors.

What is ischemic heart disease

Ischemic heart disease (IHD) refers to heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries. This is commonly the result of plaque build-up in the arteries, resulting in a reduction of blood flow to the heart, which can cause a heart attack.

IHD can also contribute to abnormal and potentially dangerous heart rhythm problems, says Scott Maffett, MD, a cardiologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

There are three main types of ischemic heart disease:

Obstructive coronary artery disease is the result of plaque build-up that causes the heart’s large arteries to gradually narrow, reducing and eventually blocking the supply of blood flow to the heart.
Nonobstructive coronary artery disease occurs when large arteries are narrowed by plaque build-up, but not completely obstructed.
Coronary microvascular disease affects the heart’s smallest arteries and is typically the result of molecular changes in the blood vessels of the heart, preventing blood flow through the small arteries.

Symptoms of IHD vary, but the most common are chest discomfort, typically in the center or left side of the chest that may feel like squeezing or pressure and worsens with exertion, Maffett says. Some people may also experience shortness of breath, pain in their jaw, or excessive sweating.

These are similar to the symptoms of a heart attack, and if you are experiencing persistent or severe chest pain, you should seek immediate medical treatment.

You may not feel symptoms with ischemic heart disease


While most people with IHD do exhibit symptoms, …read more

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