Lack of regular physical exercise, high blood cholesterol levels, unhealthy eating habits, stress and even your genes have a role to play in your risk for developing coronary heart diseases that can lead to blockage of blood vessels that can cause heart attacks and result in untimely loss of life. If you have abnormal chest pains or other symptoms noted below, you should have your condition assessed by your doctor and seek timely treatment.
Heart blockage or blockage in the heart is said to have occurred when the body is unable to supply enough oxygen (through blood) to the heart. If the blood flow is blocked, the heart is deprived of oxygen which causes the heart cells to die. This is a symptom of coronary artery disease. It causes chest pains, heart attacks and in severe cases can even lead to death. Conditions of the heart should be taken seriously and timely treatment should be sought. Today, affordable heart surgeryis an option even for patients without health insurance.
Heart blockages are a result of accumulation of fatty material along the walls of coronary arteries. This fatty material or plaque, which is made up of cholesterol and other cells, thickens, hardens (forms calcium deposits), and eventually blocks the arteries.
The slow buildup of plaque may almost block one of your coronary arteries leading to a heart attack in situations when the heart needs more blood or oxygen (e.g. when you are exercising).
Sometimes, the plaque itself develops cracks (fissures) or tears to which blood platelets stick and form a blood clot. A heart attack can occur if this blood clot completely blocks the passage of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
Certain factors like old age (above 65), male gender, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, fat-rich diet, overweight (by 30%), etc. increase your risk for coronary artery disease.
Chest pain usually on the left side
Pain radiating to the arms, shoulders, neck, teeth, jaw, belly area, or back
Palpitations (irregular heart beat or the heart beating too fast)
Shortness of breath
Light-headedness or dizziness
Nausea or vomiting
Fatigue and weakness (especially if you are elderly)
Your doctor may perform one or more of the following tests:
Coronary angiographyto study how blood flows through your heart
Computed Tomography scan (CT scan) to create cross-sectional pictures of the chest
Echocardiographyto create a moving picture of the heart using sound waves
Electrocardiogram (ECG) to record the electrical activity of the heart
Electrophysiology Study (EPS) to determine the details of irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to take pictures of your body using magnetic and radio waves
Nuclear ventriculography to show the heart chambers using radioactive materials called tracers
Treatment option will depend upon the amount of blockage present. A minor blockage can be treated with the use of stents while a patient suffering from a severe heart blockage may need a heart surgery like a cardiac bypass. Following are some of the treatment options to treat blockages in the coronary artery:
Angioplasty: Also called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), it is a procedure to open narrowed or blocked blood vessels.
Stent placement: A small, metal mesh tube that opens up (expands) inside a coronary artery.
Thrombolytic therapy: Usage of drugs to break up the clot.
Other medications: To treat and prevent heart attacks.
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG): A cardiac procedure to reroute or bypass blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart.
COST OF TREATMENT
Depending upon the treatment required the cost can range anywhere from upwards of $20,000 in the US for a stent to approximately $10,000 in India for a bypass surgery. For a free quote for a specific surgery in the US or overseas, contact Healthbase, a US medical tourism facilitator.
PATIENTS OF HEART BYPASS OVERSEAS
David J, a father of five from Katy, Texas needed a life-saving triple heart bypass surgery costing $200,000 in Houston but carried no health insurance to cover the expenses. Faced with such a situation he chose India where his high quality heart surgery at a top-notch hospital cost only $12,000.
Yuma, Arizona resident, Steve S who also had three clogged arteries, traveled to India for his triple bypass surgeries for the same reasons. He says, "Going half way around the world for heart surgery creates a lot of anxiety and raises a lot of questions. But, the care I received while in India was beyond my greatest expectation. Physicians, nurses, hospital and Healthbase all attended to me like royalty. I don't know how the care could have been any better any place in the world."
If you do not carry sufficient health insurance, the medical costs of treating heart blockages can be financially straining. To learn about cheaper and high quality heart treatment overseas, check out medical tourism at Healthbase.