- A Visual Guide to Heart Disease
- Medical Illustrations of the Heart Image Collection
- Take the Heart Disease Quiz!
- Heart Disease FAQs
- Patient Comments: Heart Disease - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Heart Disease - Prevention
- Patient Comments: Heart Disease - Diagnosis
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
- What is cardiovascular disease?
- What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease?
- What causes cardiovascular disease?
- What are the symptoms of cardiovascular?
- How is cardiovascular disease diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for cardiovascular disease?
- What is the prognosis for cardiovascular disease?
- Can cardiovascular disease be prevented?
Quick GuideHeart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is the treatment for cardiovascular disease?
The goal of treating cardiovascular disease is to maximize the patient's quantity and quality of life. Prevention is the key to avoid cardiovascular disease and optimize treatment. Once plaque formation has begun, it is possible to limit its progression by maintaining a healthy lifestyle with routine exercise, diet, and by aiming for lifetime control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
An aspirin may be used for its antiplatelet activity, making platelets (one type of blood cells that help blood clot) less sticky and decreasing the risk of heart attack.
Medications may be prescribed in patients with heart disease to maximize blood flow to the heart and increase efficiency of the pumping function of the heart.
Beta blocker medications help block the action of adrenaline on the heart, slowing the heart rate. These medications also help the heart beat more efficiently and decrease the oxygen requirements of the heart muscle during work.
Calcium channel blockers also help the heart muscle contract and pump more efficiently.
Nitrates help dilate arteries and increase blood flow to the heart muscle. They may be short-acting (Nitrostat) to treat acute angina symptoms or long-acting preparations (Imdur) may be prescribed for prevention.
Should there be significant stenosis or narrowing of the coronary arteries, angioplasty and/or stenting (described above) may be considered to open the blocked areas. These procedures are performed in conjunction with cardiac catheterization. Depending upon the patient's anatomy and the extent of the blockage present, coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) may be required.