Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD)
Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, is a condition that occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked. This can reduce blood flow to the heart muscle, leading to chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. Ischemic heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and a leading cause of death worldwide.
The heart requires a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to function properly. The coronary arteries are responsible for delivering this blood supply to the heart muscle. However, when these arteries become narrowed or blocked due to the buildup of fatty deposits, known as plaque, blood flow to the heart can be reduced. Over time, this can lead to damage or death of heart muscle cells, resulting in a heart attack.
Ischemic heart disease is a significant health problem in India, with a high prevalence rate. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in India, accounting for over 28% of all deaths in the country. The prevalence of ischemic heart disease in India is also increasing, with a projected rise from 54.5 million cases in 2017 to 64.3 million cases in 2025.
Several factors contribute to the high prevalence of ischemic heart disease in India, including an aging population, rapid urbanization, lifestyle changes, and an increasing prevalence of risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, there are disparities in access to healthcare and preventive services between urban and rural areas, and between different socioeconomic groups.
Given the high prevalence and increasing burden of ischemic heart disease in India, there is a pressing need for effective prevention and management strategies. This may include interventions to address risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, as well as improving access to quality healthcare services, including preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment of ischemic heart disease.
Types of IHD:
Ischemic heart disease can manifest in different ways, depending on the severity and location of the blockages in the coronary arteries. The three main types of ischemic heart disease are:
- Stable angina: This type of ischemic heart disease occurs when the blood flow to the heart muscle is partially blocked, leading to chest pain or discomfort, known as angina. The pain typically occurs during physical activity or emotional stress and goes away with rest or medication.
- Acute coronary syndrome (ACS): This is a medical emergency that occurs when a sudden blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle results in a heart attack. The symptoms of ACS include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and fatigue. Prompt medical attention is essential for ACS, as it can lead to significant damage to the heart muscle or even death.
- Chronic total occlusion (CTO): This occurs when a coronary artery is completely blocked, and the blood flow to the heart muscle is severely restricted. CTO may lead to symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue, or it may be asymptomatic. In some cases, CTO may be treated with invasive procedures such as angioplasty or bypass surgery.
- Others: Other types of ischemic heart disease may include silent ischemia, which occurs when a person experiences a lack of blood flow to the heart without any symptoms, and variant angina, which is caused by spasms in the coronary arteries.
Causes of IHD:
Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is caused by a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. This reduction in blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle can lead to a range of symptoms, from mild chest pain to a heart attack. There are several risk factors that can contribute to the development of IHD, including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension): When blood pressure is consistently high, it can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
- High cholesterol levels: High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, which can narrow or block blood flow to the heart.
- Smoking: Smoking damages the lining of the blood vessels and can accelerate the development of atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing IHD due to the damage high blood sugar can cause to the blood vessels.
- Obesity and physical inactivity: Excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the development of hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes, all of which increase the risk of IHD.
- Family history: People with a family history of IHD are at increased risk of developing the condition themselves.
- Others: Other factors that may contribute to IHD include stress, alcohol consumption, and sleep apnoea. In addition to these risk factors, aging is also a factor that contributes to the development of IHD. As we age, our blood vessels become less flexible and more prone to damage, which can lead to the development of atherosclerosis.
Symptoms of IHD:
The symptoms of ischemic heart disease (IHD) can vary depending on the severity of the condition and which part of the heart is affected. Some common symptoms of IHD include:
- Chest pain or discomfort: This is the most common symptom of IHD. It can feel like a pressure, tightness, squeezing, or burning sensation in the chest, and may be accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, or light-headedness.
- Fatigue: Feeling tired or lethargic is a common symptom of IHD, as the heart may not be able to pump blood effectively to meet the body’s needs.
- Shortness of breath: This symptom is often associated with exertion or physical activity, but in more severe cases, it may occur at rest.
- Dizziness or light-headedness: Reduced blood flow to the brain can cause feelings of dizziness or light-headedness.
- Nausea: IHD can cause feelings of nausea or indigestion, particularly in women.
- Palpitations: This symptom refers to an irregular heartbeat, which can be a sign of IHD.
- Swelling: IHD can cause fluid to build up in the body, leading to swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet.
Complications of IHD:
Ischemic heart disease (IHD) can lead to several serious complications, some of which can be life-threatening. Some of the complications of IHD include:
- Heart attack: This occurs when a blockage in a coronary artery cuts off blood flow to a section of the heart, causing damage or death to the heart muscle.
- Arrhythmias: These are irregular heart rhythms that can be caused by damage to the heart muscle or electrical problems in the heart. Some arrhythmias can be life-threatening.
- Heart failure: This occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, and can result in fluid build-up in the lungs and other parts of the body.
- Stroke: Reduced blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke, which can result in permanent brain damage or death.
- Peripheral artery disease: This occurs when there is a build-up of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the limbs, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs and feet.
- Sudden cardiac death: This is a sudden, unexpected death due to a heart problem, such as an arrhythmia or heart attack.
- Aortic aneurysm: This is a bulge in the wall of the aorta, the body’s largest artery. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can cause life-threatening bleeding.
Prevention from IHD:
There are several steps you can take to help prevent ischemic heart disease (IHD) and reduce your risk of complications. Here are some strategies for preventing IHD:
- Healthy diet: A heart-healthy diet can help prevent IHD. Aim to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-fat, high-sodium foods.
- Regular exercise: Regular physical activity can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of IHD. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for IHD. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart health.
- Manage stress: Stress can increase the risk of IHD. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or relaxation techniques, can help protect your heart.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of IHD. Aim to maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Manage medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, can increase the risk of IHD. Managing these conditions through lifestyle changes and medications can help reduce the risk.
- Regular check-ups: Regular check-ups with your doctor can help detect and manage any risk factors for IHD early, before complications develop.
By taking these steps to prevent IHD, you can help protect your heart and reduce your risk of complications.
Role of Neurotherapy:
- Adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that is released into the bloodstream in response to stress or danger. It has a number of effects on the body, including increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. While adrenaline is a natural and necessary hormone that helps the body respond to stressful situations, chronic or excessive activation of the adrenaline system can have negative effects on the heart and cardiovascular system. In particular, prolonged exposure to high levels of adrenaline can contribute to the development of heart disease in several ways. Firstly, high levels of adrenaline can cause the heart to work harder and pump more forcefully, which can lead to the development of an enlarged heart or other types of heart damage over time. This can increase the risk of heart failure and other cardiovascular problems. Secondly, adrenaline can also cause the blood vessels to constrict, which can increase blood pressure and put additional strain on the heart. Over time, this can contribute to the development of hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. According to neurotherapy, controlling the secretion of adrenaline helps to prevent any problems in the heart and ensure smooth heart functioning, hence, adrenaline treatment is given.
- There is a well-established relationship between heart disease and liver. Several studies have shown that individuals with liver disease are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke. The liver plays a crucial role in maintaining overall cardiovascular health by regulating cholesterol levels, producing blood clotting factors, and processing fats and sugars in the blood. Thus, liver treatment is also provided by focusing on this concept.