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Ischemic heart disease: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Most people know the symptoms and consequences of angina pectoris or a heart attack. However, few know the leading cause that causes them: ischemic heart disease. Also known as coronary heart disease, this disease reduces the amount of blood flow supplied to the heart due to a blockage of the arteries. Ischemic heart disease is divided into myocardial infarction and angina pectoris so the symptoms will vary in each of these. Treatment is essential in any case, but even more so in those with a greater risk of suffering severe consequences, such as a heart attack. At FastlyHealwe will explain the causes, symptoms and treatment of ischemic heart disease.

Causes of ischemic heart disease

The cause of ischemic heart disease is the formation of clots on the inner walls of the arteries responsible for supplying blood to the heart. This accumulation of plaque narrows the coronary arteries, making the passage of blood more limited and, as a consequence, the amount of oxygen that reaches it is also reduced. The factors that influence when suffering from ischemic heart disease are the following:

  • Age and sex. It is more common in older men, affecting women equally after menopause.
  • We have elevated harmful cholesterol levels.
  • Smoking . Smoking considerably increases the probability of suffering from ischemic heart disease.
  • Family history of premature ischemic heart disease.
  • Hypertension. It involves an increase in how fast the heartbeats, which is why blood pressure increases.
  • Obesity . Another of the factors that, together with tobacco, increase the risk of suffering from many cardiovascular diseases.
  • Sedentary . Do not exercise the body through physical activity.
  • Diabetes mellitus . A type of diabetes in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.

Types of ischemic heart disease

We can differentiate two types of ischemic heart disease:

Myocardial infarction

A thrombus or clot in one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart becomes blocked, preventing the blood supply to the core. The severity lies in the amount of heart muscle that dies, known as necrosis. It manifests as chest pain, and prompt medical attention is essential to increase your chances of survival.

Angina pectoris

Angina can occur in two different stages;

  • Stable angina pectoris . The person who suffers from it feels pain in the chest, radiating to other body parts, such as the jaw, shoulder, throat, arm, and left wrist. It appears after physical exercise, and its duration is from 1 to 15 minutes, after which it disappears.
  • Unstable angina pectoris. It is a sign that there is a high risk of a heart attack. Unlike a heart attack, in this case, the obstruction of the artery is not complete, so the heart tissue does not die because necrosis does not occur.

Symptoms of ischemic heart disease

Although the symptoms will vary depending on the type of ischemic heart disease suffered, we can group a series of them in a general way:

  • Pain and pressure in the chest.
  • Discomfort in other body parts such as the neck, jaw, back, shoulders, and left wrist.
  • Difficulty breathing, known as dyspnea.
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Sickness.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Arrhythmias Irregular heart palpitations.
  • Pain when exercising.


The diagnosis of ischemic heart disease can be made through different medical tests. The medical history will be a fundamental element in defining the problem accurately.

  • Electrocardiogram . It is done by placing patches that allow the heart’s activity to be measured using a machine that contains the electrodes (patches). This test can detect abnormal heartbeats, such as arrhythmias and other signs that indicate the presence of disease. It is a simple and painless test.
  • Ergometry . Also called a stress test, it consists of physical exercise by the patient to observe the functioning and reaction of the heart and detect possible alterations in this. It is a practical test when there are angina pectoris or other cardiovascular problems that are manifested with physical exercise.
  • Echocardiography . It allows visualizing an image of the heart in movement, knowing its size, shape, training, and other factors that indicate its state. This test is performed using ultrasound that does not generate radiation, so it does not have any side effects.
  • Hitler . It consists of applying a device externally for 24 hours to record the heart’s activity without having to stay in the hospital. After this period, this tiny device is connected to a computer to expose the record that has been taken from the heart and detect any abnormalities.
  • Blood tests . It allows the detection of cholesterol levels in the blood and other possible symptoms in the blood that could mean an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Treatment for ischemic heart disease

The best Treatment for ischemic heart disease and any other cardiovascular disease is prevention through a healthy lifestyle. These are the prevention factors that should be taken into account:

  • No smoking . One of the most critical factors in significantly reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Control other diseases . Diabetes, high cholesterol, and other conditions contribute to an increased risk of heart problems. Therefore, control of these will be essential.
  • Exercise . Exercise improves blood circulation, regulates blood pressure, helps maintain a proper weight, is good for the joints, and has other psychological benefits.
  • Power . A balanced and varied diet reduces suffering from ischemic heart disease.
  • Adequate weight . If obesity is a factor that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, no doubt maintaining a proper weight will help better health and well-being.

In addition to the guidelines to take into account to reduce the chances of suffering from ischemic heart disease, it is essential to go to the doctor to carry out regular monitoring of good health, and more if a heart problem has already been detected previously. In addition, some of the possible risk factors do not present symptoms, such as high cholesterol or low levels of diabetes, for which a blood test will be essential.

Sometimes it will be necessary to administer medications to reduce the risk of suffering from ischemic heart disease, such as aspirin, cholesterol-lowering drugs, etc. On the other hand, in those severe cases in which a heart attack has already occurred, or the patient has a very high probability of suffering from it, surgical intervention may be required:

  • Coronary artery bypass . It consists of grafting arteries or veins from a part of the body, such as the leg, chest, or wrist, together with a coronary artery to facilitate blood flow to the blocked area. Sometimes more than one bypass is needed.
  • Balloon angioplasty and seat placement. This procedure makes it possible to open the clogged arteries by placing a small swollen balloon. On the other hand, sent is something similar to a mesh that keeps the blocked artery adhering to the walls and improves blood flow.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Ischemic heart disease: causes, symptoms and Treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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