Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

Treatment for Cardiovascular disease is same for both women and men. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medicines, medical and surgical procedures, and cardiac rehabilitation.

Updated: August 18, 2020

Treatment for Cardiovascular disease is the same for both women and men. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, medicines, medical and surgical procedures, and cardiac rehabilitation.

The aim is to

  • Relieve symptoms.
  • Eliminate or minimize risk factors to slow down, stop, or reverse the buildup of plaque.
  • Reduce the risk of blood clots forming.
  • Widen or bypass plaque-clogged coronary arteries.
  • Prevent CVD complications.

Once plaque formation has started, it is possible to limit its progression by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, diet, and controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.


Lifestyle Changes:

Making lifestyle changes can help prevent or treat CVD. This includes few things to adopt and include in your lifestyle, such as:

  • Quit Smoking
  • Follow a Healthy Diet
  • Be Physically Active
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Avoid Stress and Depression


Medicines:

Medicines are required to treat CVD if lifestyle changes are not enough. Medicines can help:

  • Decrease your heart's workload and relieve CVD symptoms
  • Lower your chance of having a heart attack or dying suddenly
  • Reduce your LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose level, and other CVD risk factors
  • Prevent blood clots
  • Prevent or delay the need for a procedure or surgery, such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)

Some of the medications prescribed to prevent CVD are:
Aspirin may be used for its antiplatelet activity, which means making platelets less sticky and decreasing the risk of a heart attack.
Calcium channel blockers help the heart muscle contract and pump more efficiently. Beta-blocker medications help the heart beat more efficiently and decrease the oxygen requirements of the heart muscle during work.
Nitrates help dilate arteries and increase blood flow to the heart muscle. If a stent is placed, other antiplatelet medications, such as clopidogrel may be prescribed.


Procedures and Surgery:

A procedure or surgery may be required to treat CVD. Both angioplasty and CABG are used as treatments.


Coronary angioplasty:

This is also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) which is a non-surgical procedure that opens blocked or narrowed coronary arteries. 
Coronary angioplasty is a complex type of procedure where a tiny tube known as a balloon catheter with a sausage-shaped balloon at the end is put into a large artery in your groin or arm. The catheter is passed up to your heart through your blood vessels over a fine guidewire. Before being moved into the narrowed section of your coronary artery it uses X-rays for the guidance. PCI can improve blood flow to your heart and relieve chest pain.


Coronary artery bypass graft:

If there are too many narrow sections in your arteries or if there are lots of branches coming off your arteries that are also blocked, a coronary angioplasty may not be possible.
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is then suggested in such cases. A blood vessel from another part of your body such as from your chest or leg is taken to use as a graft in this procedure.
The graft bypasses any hardened or narrowed arteries in the heart. A new blood vessel will be attached to the aorta and the other to the coronary artery beyond the narrowed area or blockage. When it reaches the position, the balloon is inflated inside the narrowed part of the coronary artery to open it wide. A flexible metal mesh called a stent is then inserted into the artery to help keep it open afterward. CABG can improve blood flow to your heart, relieve chest pain, and prevent a heart attack.


Cardiac Rehabilitation:

For angina or after angioplasty, CABG, or a heart attack, cardiac rehabilitation is recommended. Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program that can improve the health and well-being of people who have heart problems. The cardiac rehab team may include doctors, nurses, exercise specialists, psychologists, dietitians or nutritionists, and physical and occupational therapists.
Cardiac rehab has two parts:


Exercise training:

This part of rehab helps you learn how to exercise safely, strengthen your muscles, and improve your stamina. Your exercise plan will be based on your personal abilities, requirements, and interests.


Education, counseling, and training:

This part of rehab helps you understand your heart condition and find ways to lower your risk for future cardiac issues. The rehab team will help you learn how to adapt and adjust to a new lifestyle and fight with your fears about the future.




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