If you are currently feeling unwell or experiencing symptoms, call 000 immediately.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease relates to a group of conditions that affect the heart. These may include coronary heart disease (not enough oxygen to the heart), cardiovascular disease (disease affecting blood vessels and heart muscle), and acute coronary syndrome (a sudden loss of blood to the heart).
There are numerous causes of the disease, including aging, genetic and lifestyle factors. Coronary artery disease is often associated with a build-up of fatty deposits in the interior of the coronary arteries that reduces blood flow to the heart muscle.
The build-up may break free, creating a blood clot (thrombosis) that blocks blood flow to the heart. This is known as acute coronary syndrome, or more commonly known as a heart attack.
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Chest pain (angina)
- Feeling light-headed
- Cold sweats
- Pain in the arms or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmia)
- Heart valve disease
- Aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve)
- Atherosclerosis (narrowing or hardening of the heart’s arteries)
Prevention is better than cure
Heart related diseases are the leading cause of death in Australia. Despite this, it can be prevented in many cases.
To minimise your risk, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes activities such as:
- Staying active and going for regular walks
- Following a healthy diet by avoiding excess sugar, salt, fat and processed foods
- Drinking water
- Keeping an eye on your weight
- Avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol
- Maintaining a healthy mental and social state
- Going for regular check-ups with your GP
Diagnosing the disease is the first step to effectively treating it.
Coronary heart disease can be managed via a combination of lifestyle changes, medicinal treatment, and surgery. Your doctor will recommend specific actions to reduce risk in your own case. These may include:
Lifestyle changes are usually the first recommended course of action in preventing heart disease. These may include:
- Exercise and stay fit
- Maintain a healthy (Mediterranean diet)
- Stop smoking and reduce alcohol
Medications may be prescribed by your GP or cardiologist to manage the symptoms and progression of heart disease. These may include:
- Blood thinning medicine
- Statins (cholesterol medicine)
- Beta blockers
- ACE inhibitors / ARBs
- Calcium channel blockers
When lifestyle changes and medication are unable to effectively manage your disease, surgery may be recommended to address problems such as plaque build-up or faulty valves. The procedure used will depend on your individual condition and your overall health. Surgical treatments include:
- Coronary angioplasty
- Coronary artery bypass graft
- Advanced heart failure therapies such as heart transplant
If you are suffering from chest pain, shortness of breath, or you are having bouts of fainting, call 000 and seek emergency medical care as soon as possible.
If you have any concerns about your heart health, see your GP as soon as possible.
Consult A Cardiologist
Ready to see a cardiologist? Give us a call on 1300 765 865