Cardiac Ischemia

Many types of heart disease exist that cause a variety of problems with many of them leading to a heart attack. One of these heart diseases is called cardiac ischemia and affects the heart muscle itself.

What happens is that the blood flow to the myocardium aka the heart muscle is reduced or completely blocked by the clogging of one of the coronary arteries.

When the arterial blockage drastic and sudden, you may experience a heart attack or what doctors call a myocardial infarction. This condition called cardiac ischemia contributes to arrhythmia which is an abnormal heart beat. This abnormal heart beat could cause a number of problems from fainting to even death.

Symptoms and Signs of Cardiac Ischemia

There are some symptoms or signs of cardiac ischemia which could signal you have a problem, especially if you have no idea you have heart issues. These symptoms and signs include shortness of breath, clammy skin and arm pain (the stereotypical pain you might read about or see on television). Chest pain may occur which doctors call angina pectoris and vomiting or nausea may be present. Finally, jaw pain or neck pain is an issue as well.

If you have any metabolic conditions such as diabetes, the symptoms and signs above may not occur. Doctors typically make a diagnosis of cardiac ischemia based on a number of factors as not everyone displays the typical symptoms.

These factors include your medical history as well as that of your family, physical exam, study of your coronary angiogram, results of a stress test and even an electrocardiogram.

Factors that Lead to Cardiac Ischemia

While you cannot control your family’s medical history and genetics, you can control other aspects of your life that could contribute to cardiac ischemia. For instance, your diet plays a big part in heart disease.

You would need a diet low in fats and cholesterol and high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and more.

Exercise is important as it conditions the heart and keeps your body oxygenated and healthy. Plus, exercise can help keep off the weight which is another factor that can contribute to cardiac ischemia. Obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol levels are all contributors to heart disease so you have to do whatever you can to avoid them.

Treating Cardiac Ischemia

The primary goal in treating cardiac ischemia is to increase the blood flow to your heart. This could require an angioplasty to widen the artery in question and place a stent in there to keep it open.

Coronary artery bypass surgery is another option although it is saved for more serious cases when angioplasty could not help. Medications such as blood thinners, aspirin therapy or beta blockers can help. This help keep the blood from clotting in areas where the arteries are narrower.

Once good blood flow is re-established, this will enable you to better implement an exercise program as well as get started on other lifestyle changes. Cardiac ischemia may not be curable but it certainly is treatable.