Coronary heart disease has become a leading cause of death among men and women. Aim of treatment is to improve your symptoms and prevent further injury to the heart. Treatment for coronary artery disease includes:
- Lifestyle changes.
- Certain medical procedures (invasive and/or surgical procedures).
Lifestyle modifications can go a long way towards promoting healthier arteries and your heart health. Lifestyle changes that can improve your heart health and decrease the risk of coronary artery disease include:
- Weight reduction: Maintain a healthy body weight (body mass index in the recommended range of 18.5–24.9 kg/m2). If you are obese, aim to reduce your weight and achieve a BMI of < 24.9 kg/m2
- Eating healthy: Healthy diet includes 6-8 servings of bread, cereal or rice; 2-4 servings of fresh fruit; 3-5 servings of fresh or frozen vegetables; 2-3 servings of non-fat milk, yogurt or cheese; and 2-3 servings of lean meat, poultry, fish or dry beans. Limit the maximum calories from fat to less than 30% of total calories in every meal. Consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grain food products and low fat dairy products. Avoid processed foods, food high in fats (saturated and total fat) and salt (reduce dietary intake of sodium).
- Staying physically active: Exercising regularly has many benefits such as that of lowering blood pressure, increasing the level of good cholesterol (HDL) and controling weight. Any exercise (walking, swimming, biking or aerobics) for at least 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week is considered good enough to improve cardiovascular health.
- Limit consumption of alcohol and quit smoking.
Drugs: Drugs that are used to treat coronary artery disease include:
- Cholesterol-modifying medications: Medications aim to decrease the level of elevated bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and increase the level of good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol).Medications such as statins, niacin, fibrates and bile acid sequestrants can lower elevated blood cholesterol. Your doctor will recommend medication based on the level of your blood cholesterol.
- Aspirin: Daily aspirin functions as a blood thinner. It has been shown to reduce the risk of your blood to clot, which may probably prevent obstruction of your coronary arteries. After a heart attack, aspirin can help prevent future attacks. Your doctor may recommend aspirin or some other blood thinner to prevent obstruction of your coronary arteries.
- Beta blockers: These drugs may be prescribed after a heart attack as they decrease the strain or work of heart. It works by slowing your heart rate and decreasing the blood pressure, which reduces the heart's demand for oxygen.
- Nitroglycerin: Nitroglycerin is available as tablets, sprays and patches. It can prevent chest pain by opening up your coronary arteries and reducing your heart's demand for blood.
Other medications that may be used in people with coronary artery disease include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and calcium channel blockers. Your doctor will recommend the medications that are needed based on your symptoms and other factors such as blood pressure, function of the heart, blood cholesterol levels etc.
Procedures to restore and improve blood flow: Some people with significant symptoms and blockage of the coronary artery may need more aggressive treatment, which includes invasive medical and/or surgical procedures. Some options to treat blocked coronary artery are:
- Angioplasty and stent placement (percutaneous coronary revascularization).
- Coronary artery bypass surgery.
Read more articles on Coronary Artery Disease Treatment.