Five ‘early’ signs of coronary heart disease to spot – ‘Speak to your GP’

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Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, with around 200 million people living with this condition around the world.

Also known as ischaemic heart disease or coronary artery disease, it occurs when a build-up of plaque in the coronary arteries blocks your blood supply to the heart muscle.

This mix of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances can narrow the arteries, reducing the flow of blood to your heart. 

Abbas Kanani, pharmacist at Chemist Click Online Pharmacy, explained the reduced blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart can lead to a variety of symptoms. 

The expert recommended looking out for the following “early” signs: chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, pain throughout the body, feeling faint, and nausea.

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He said: “Angina typically occurs when the heart is working harder and needs more oxygen, such as during physical exertion or emotional stress. 

“The chest pain may feel like pressure, tightness, squeezing, or heaviness, and it may radiate to the neck, arms, shoulders, jaw, or back.”

Furthermore, the reduced blood flow to your heart can trigger a build-up of fluid in your lungs, causing shortness of breath.

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The expert explained that the lack of oxygen-rich blood flowing through your arteries can also leave you feeling tired and weak.

Lastly, the inadequate blood supply to your brain due to coronary heart disease can also cause feelings of dizziness or light-headedness.

If you experience any of these warning signs, the expert recommended to “speak to your GP”.

Kanani said: “They may conduct a physical examination, a review of your medical history and further diagnostic tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), stress test, echocardiogram, coronary angiogram or blood tests to assess cholesterol levels and cardiac enzymes.

“You should follow any advice on lifestyle changes such as adopting a heart-healthy diet, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, managing stress and maintaining a healthy weight.”

Furthermore, your doctor may also prescribe you medication to manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of further complications.

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