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Overview of Coronary Artery Disease

Congenital heart disease
Heart is a muscular organ, which pumps the blood to circulate throughout the body. Your heart gets its own blood supply from a network of blood vessels called coronary arteries. Like any other organ of the body, your heart needs a continuous supply of blood and oxygen to work efficiently. Coronary arteries carry blood and oxygen to your heart.
The coronary artery has three main branches. Any one of these branches may be narrowed when cholesterol and other fatty substances build on the wall of the artery (plaque formation). This is called coronary heart disease, which is the most common type of heart disease. The plaque is known as atheroma. It is made up of fatty deposits, calcium, and dead cells. The plaque gradually builds on the wall of the artery and this is known as the atherosclerosis.
Coronary artery disease refers to a group of conditions that include angina (chest pain), myocardial infarction (heart attack), coronary thrombosis (blood clot in the coronary artery), and sudden cardiac death. Coronary heart disease is also known as the coronary artery disease or ischemic heart disease.
Narrowed coronary arteries do not supply all the oxygen that the heart muscle needs. This can result in chest pain. Heart attack occurs when these narrowed arteries are blocked. This leads to damage or death of the heart muscles due to lack of blood and oxygen supply. A severe disturbance in the heart rhythm can lead to sudden cardiac arrest or cardiac death. The plaque can also be detached from the wall of the artery to form a clot. This is called coronary thrombosis.
In India, coronary heart disease is more common among those living in urban areas than those in rural areas. You are more likely to get coronary heart disease, if you are overweight, obese or a smoker; or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes; or if any one of your family members has suffered from chest pain (angina) or has had a heart attack.

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