Ischemic Heart Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

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By Dr. ( Maj) J. S Khatri, Cardiology

Ischemic heart disease is a condition wherein the heart’s blood supply gets affected. The supply of blood to the heart gets affected due to the changes in the structure of the blood vessels; they narrow down due to the cholesterol deposits on the walls of the blood vessels. This chokes the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the heart which may lead to a stroke.

As the heart supplies blood to other parts of the body, this condition severely impairs blood supply to important organs such as the kidneys and the liver.


Ischemic heart disease is caused due to the following risk factors:

  1. Exposure to excessive stress over a prolonged period of time.
  2. Hypertension or high blood pressure can also lead to Ischemic heart disease.
  3. Lifestyle factors such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  4. High cholesterol levels and diabetes.
  5. Genetics can also play a role in this disorder.


Impaired functioning of the heart can choke the supply of blood to various organs of the body. One might experience breathing difficulty, fatigue and dizziness. Angina, a condition wherein one experiences chest pain due to impaired blood supply, is also a symptom of this disorder. Swelling in the leg and stomach is also common.


If you are affected by Ischemic heart disease, then you can opt for the following treatment options:

  1. Medications: Medications may be prescribed to ease the symptoms of this disorder. Diuretics and blood thinners are given to reduce the amount of work that the heart needs to do. To widen the arteries and lower your blood pressure, calcium channel blockers are administered.
  2. Lifestyle Modifications: Certain lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption will have to be made. Apart from this, regular exercise combined with a healthy diet is also important to keep this disorder at bay.
  3. Surgery: If the above treatments do not work, then your doctor will recommend surgery. Procedures such as angioplasty, which is carried out to widen the arteries or pacemaker implantation, to regulate your heart rate may be recommended. Coronary bypass surgery may be advised wherein the affected artery is bypassed by a new healthy blood vessel, so as not to affect the blood flow.