Coronary Heart Disease

selective focus photography of heart organ illustration

Heart Issues: Are you Feeling Okay?

No, we do not mean in the sense where another person is responsible for unrequited love.

We’re talking about the one that truly affects your health, and might even lead to death if not detected earlier.

The name of this heart issue is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).

What is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?

To put into context, 19 people die from cardiovascular disease (heart diseases and stroke) in Singapore daily. In 2020, cardiovascular disease accounted for 31.7% of all deaths and this means that almost 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore, is due to heart diseases or stroke.

Heart disease is an umbrella phrase to explain a variety of conditions that affect the heart’s structure and function. 

Moving on to what is coronary heart disease (CHD), or also known as coronary artery disease (CAD), it is a type of heart disease when your coronary arteries become too narrow by a gradual build-up of fatty material/ cholesterol blockages develop within the walls.

When the artery walls are clogged, CHD describes how the blood supply is blocked or interrupted and will affect the heart functions, leading to serious health problems. 

Just to explain further what are coronary arteries: they are the blood vessels that supply oxygen and blood to the heart.

Be it chronic or acute, CHD is the most common type of heart disease and can lead to a heart attack.

Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

It is important to note that symptoms of coronary heart disease may differ from person to person, even if they have the same type of CHD. 

Unfortunately, not many people have symptoms and some might not have any symptoms at all and they will not know they have coronary heart disease until they have chest pain/ chest discomfort (the most common symptom), a heart attack, or sudden cardiac arrest.

Typical warning signs include

  • chest pain – aching, burning, heaviness, numbness, pressure, squeezing, tightness 
  • fatigue
  • palpitations
  • shortness of breath

    Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)It is important to note that symptoms of coronary heart disease may differ from person to person, even if they have the same type of CHD. Unfortunately, not many people have symptoms and some might not have any symptoms at all and they will not know they have coronary heart disease until they have chest pain/ chest discomfort (the most common symptom), a heart attack, or sudden cardiac arrest.Typical warning signs include
    • chest pain – aching, burning, heaviness, numbness, pressure, squeezing, tightness 
    • fatigue
    • palpitations
    • shortness of breath

      Risk Factors of Getting CHDThough it sounds rather horrifying, coronary heart disease is actually preventable. You might be at risk of CHD depending on your lifestyle so here are some of the traditional risk factors for coronary heart disease:
      • high LDL cholesterol (known as low-density lipoprotein and bad cholesterol)
      • low HDL cholesterol (known as high-density lipoprotein and good cholesterol)
      • age – the older you are, the higher risk it is to develop CHD (age >45 years in men and >55 years in women)
      • diabetes
      • family history
      • gender – men are more likely to develop CHD at an earlier age than women
      • high blood pressure
      • obesity
      • smoking
      Based on the number of risk factors you have, the more you have them, the more likely you are likely to develop CHD. You might want to try to reduce your risk factors and protect your heart

      CHD Diagnosis and Risk AssessmentsIf you or your family members are aged between 40 to 74 years old, it is high time that you require a health test and a heart check. Healthcare professionals will usually check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels while discussing your current lifestyle and create a diagnosis based on your family and medical histories, risk factors and other relevant results from physical tests.The types of physical tests that you may undergo include stress testing, where you are made to exercise to make your heart work harder and beat faster. This is to measure whether the increased heart activity affects the heart rate and blood pressure.




      Prevention and Treatments for CHDCoronary Heart Disease (CHD) is one serious heart condition that must not be overlooked, as there is no cure for it. Despite that, there are many ways to prevent it or to manage the condition.Checking the list of risk factors for CHD, its prevention is mainly involving lifestyle changes which include adopting a healthy diet, having regular physical activity or exercise,controlling obesity or adopting a diet with less sugar, salt, and saturated fats, limiting alcohol intake as well as cutting down and quitting smoking entirely.If you had a consultation, doctors may also prescribe you some medications to prevent the progression of CHD. These medicines can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, decrease the workload on your heart, decrease your chance of a heart attack, prevent blood clots etc.As for other treatments, some people might need to undergo medical procedures like surgery. Surgical procedures are carried out to open or replace blocked and narrow arteries, or if a person’s symptoms are not responding to medications.Types of surgery:
      • Coronary Bypass Surgery: Using a blood vessel from another part of the body to create a graft that bypasses the blocked artery. This blood vessel turned graft can come from the leg or an inner chest wall artery.
      • Angioplasty and Stent Placement: A catheter (a thin tube) is inserted into the narrowed part of the artery. Then, a deflated balloon is passed through the catheter to the affected area. When they inflate the balloon, it compresses the fatty deposits against the artery walls. They may also leave a stent, or mesh tube, in the artery to help keep it open.
      • Heart Transplant: This is on rare occasions, but is also only if the heart has severe damage and other treatments are not working.
      • Cardiac Rehabilitation: Also called cardiac rehab, is a medically supervised programme for people who have had a heart attack, heart failure, heart valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting, or percutaneous coronary intervention.
      Love Your Heart, It’s The Only One You’ve Got!Putting aside the metaphor and sometimes true condition of broken hearts, never brush away minor pains in your chest that may be small signs that you are having CHD or maybe it could be other heart issues. Always remind yourself and those around you to get themselves checked whenever there is any abnormality so you are able to detect the issues and tackle them as fast as possible; especially when it comes with issues with the heart.WhatsDoc has cardiologists available to provide you quality assessments and treatments where possible. Search them up now and ask more about coronary heart disease (CHD)!


      References:https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronary-heart-disease/#:~:text=Coronary%20heart%20disease%20is%20the,furred%20up%20with%20fatty%20deposits.https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-diseasehttps://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/184130https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16898-coronary-artery-diseasehttps://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/coronary_ad.htmhttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronary-artery-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350613https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/coronary-artery-diseasehttps://www.ijn.com.my/patient-care/coronary-heart-disease/https://www.nuhcs.com.sg/Heart-Health/About-Heart-Conditions/Pages/Coronary-Artery-Disease-Heart-Disease.aspxhttps://www.myheart.org.sg/my-heart/heart-statistics/singapore-statistics/https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/cardiac-rehabilitation#:~:text=Cardiac%20rehabilitation%2C%20also%20called%20cardiac,grafting%2C%20or%20percutaneous%20coronary%20intervention.