Coronary heart disease (CHD)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the outcome of arteriosclerosis of the arteries supplying blood to the heart (coronary arteries).

Overview

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the outcome of arteriosclerosis of the arteries supplying blood to the heart (coronary arteries). Because of changes to the artery walls, the heart muscle doesn't receive enough blood. This can trigger the main symptom of CHD, i.e. angina pectoris. Preventive measures include a healthy lifestyle.

Symptoms

Main symptom

  • Angina pectoris
    • Sudden attacks of pain and feeling of pressure behind the sternum (angina pectoris = “chest tightness”)
    • Pain can radiate to the left arm, lower jaw, upper abdomen or back
  • Possibly accompanied by anxiety, fear, nausea

Other symptoms

Causes and treatment

Cause

Outcome of atherosclerosis/arteriosclerosis in the arteries that supply the heart with blood (coronary arteries), calcification of artery walls due to the build-up of fatty deposits

Risk factors (for cardiovascular diseases)
  • Several risk factors combined lead to a corresponding increase in risk
  • Can't be influenced
    • First-degree relatives suffered heart attack/CHD before the age of 55 (men) or 65 (women)
    • Advancing age
    • Gender: men more often than women
  • Can be influenced

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • ECG (electrocardiogram)
  • Echocardiogram (heart ultrasound)
  • Blood test
  • Contrast radiography (coronary angiography using a heart catheter)
Possible therapies
  • Medication
  • Procedures
    • Balloon dilation of arteries, stent
    • Bypass operation

What can I do myself?

A healthy, risk-adjusted lifestyle can prevent or slow down the progression of the disease. This includes reducing the cardiovascular risk factors:

  • Low-fat, vitamin-rich and high-fibre diet
  • Sufficient exercise (in consultation with a doctor)
  • Normal weight (maintain or aim for)
  • Stop smoking
  • Regular relaxation, strategies for managing stress
  • Take medication (e.g. for diabetes and high blood pressure) conscientiously

When to see a doctor?

Further information

Schweizerische Herzstiftung (Swiss Heart Foundation)
www.swissheart.ch

Synonyms

coronary heart disease, CHD, coronary heart disease (CHD), ischaemic heart disease, coronary artery disease

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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