The main symptoms of coronary artery disease, chest pain and shortness of breath, can be managed through medication; by keeping other, related conditions under control; and by changing your everyday behavior in positive ways. Medications can be used to relax the heart muscle, reduce cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy blood pressure, and reduce the blood's tendency to clot. Keeping diabetes and cholesterol levels in check can help keep coronary artery disease from progressing. Quitting smoking, consuming a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress can also help you manage the symptoms of coronary artery disease.
A Answers (3)
Piedmont Heart Institute answered
First and foremost a visit to your primary care physician or cardiologist is a must. Before you think of managing anything, you must know "exactly" what you are managing or else you are taking a risk with your health. Your doctor may recommend treadmill test to evaluate what kinds of symptoms you develop (if any) with exercise/exertion. If you are further along the road with Coronary Artery Disease and have problems with chest pain that is often referred to as "angina" medications like Imdur or Nitroglycerin can help ease the chest pain. Your doctor also may recommend getting a heart catheterization to evaluate the blood flow through your heart and search for blockages. Once you have a well rounded view of what's going on with your heart the doctor can develop a self care regimen that will be safe and most effective for you.
There is no substitute for medical care when considering a serious—even potentially fatal—condition such as coronary heart disease. The first thing to do if you notice any symptoms of a heart problem, including chest pain, is to see your doctor. Medical treatment may be required to prevent a heart attack. However, your doctor may recommend nonmedical measures, such as:
- exercise conditioning,
- relaxation techniques such as yoga, and
- a low-fat diet.
Vitamin therapy may also work in conjunction with your medical treatment. High doses of niacin can lower blood cholesterol levels, reducing the buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. In addition, recent studies indicate that vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin that also inhibits blood clotting, may help reduce the risk of heart attack. However, do not take any more than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of any vitamin without first consulting your doctor; some vitamins in high doses can have toxic effects.
Other more controversial, alternative therapies include garlic, which may be consumed as deodorized pills, and fish oil (omega-3 fatty acid) supplements. Ongoing studies indicate that large amounts of garlic may have a modest cholesterol-lowering effect. Any benefits of fish oil supplements are offset by the increased caloric and fat intake. Thus, experts recommend eating one or two servings of salmon, cod, or other coldwater fish a week rather than taking fish oil pills.
Still other alternative therapies provide no benefit and should be avoided. These include chelation therapy, a technique used to remove heavy metals such as lead from the blood.