Coronary artery disease - living with
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
Angina is chest pain or discomfort that most often occurs when you do certain activities or feel stressed. It is caused by poor blood flow through the blood vessels of the heart muscle.
If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, your doctor may advise you to:
Some controllable risk factors for heart disease are:
Good nutrition is important for your heart health. Healthy eating habits will help you control some of your risk factors for heart disease.
Your doctor may prescribe medicine to treat CHD, high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels. These may include:
To reduce your risk of a heart attack, your doctor may also advise you to take aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or prasugrel (Effient) every day. Follow your doctor's directions carefully to keep heart disease and angina from getting worse.
Always talk with your doctor before you stop taking any of your medicines. Stopping these drugs suddenly or changing your dose can make your angina worse or cause a heart attack.
Create a plan with your doctor for managing your angina. Your plan should include:
Know what can make your angina worse, and try to avoid these things. For example, some people find that cold weather, exercising, eating large meals, or getting upset or stressed worsens their angina.
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Mosca L, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, et al. Effectiveness-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women--2011 Update: a guideline from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123(11);1243-1262.
Peterson ED, Gaziano JM, Greenland P. Recommendations for treating hypertension: what are the right goals and purposes? JAMA. 2014 Feb 5;311(5):474-476.
Stone NJ, Robinson J, Lichtenstein AH, Bairey Merz N, Lloyd-Jones DM, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Nov 7. pii: S0735-S1097(13)06028-2.
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. A.D.A.M. Editorial Update: 05/14/2014
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