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Definition of Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD)
Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) – The consequential condition that results when coronary artery disease (cad) and other conditions that affect the heart’s blood supply deprive the heart of oxygen over an extended period of time.
Ischemia is the medical term for a temporary interruption of blood flow; in ischemic heart disease (IHD), the interruptions are temporary but recurrent. Cardiac ischemia occurs when the coronary arteries are unable to provide the heart with enough blood to meet its oxygen needs.
Coronary artery spasm, which often occurs with moderate to advanced CAD, also can generate ischemic episodes.
Ischemia often results in a specific kind of discomfort or pain, angina pectoris. However, many people who have IHD have what doctors call silent ischemia that causes no symptoms until heart attack, and sometimes not even then.
Silent heart attack can further contribute to the IHD when parts of the heart muscle are no longer functional. IHD may alternately improve and worsen according to the person’s activity level, as the heart’s oxygen needs increase with activity.
The diagnostic path seeks to identify the underlying condition of the symptoms, which is usually CAD though sometimes arrhythmia disorders are to blame. Treatment targets the causative condition, and may include angioplasty or coronary artery bypass graft (cabg) as well as medications to regulate the heart’s rate and workload. Ischemic heart disease generally improves with these measures.
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