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Myocardial Ischemia


What is Myocardial Ischemia?

Cardiac dysfunction caused by an insufficient blood flow to the muscle tissues of the heart. The decreased blood flow may be due to narrowing of the coronary arteries (coronary arteriosclerosis), to obstruction by a thrombus (coronary thrombosis), or less commonly, to diffuse narrowing of arterioles and other small vessels within the heart. Severe interruption of the blood supply to the myocardial tissue may result in necrosis of cardiac muscle (myocardial infarction).

Causes:

Myocardial ischemia is caused by a temporary lack of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. This decrease in blood flow can happen for a number of reasons and will vary based on the type of myocardial ischemia. In most cases, the cause of myocardial ischemia is coronary artery disease (CAD), or what most people refer to as just heart disease. Sometimes, other types of heart disease (such as aortic stenosis) or uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) can cause myocardial ischemia.

Triggers of Myocardial Ischemia:

For a lot of people (especially those with stable myocardial ischemia), symptoms of myocardial ischemia are triggered by:
• Physical exertion, such as exercise, hurrying, or sexual activity
• Emotion (stress, anger, frustration, or fright)
• Exposure to very hot or cold temperatures
• Heavy meals
• Smoking.
Unstable and variant myocardial ischemia are not usually associated with triggers.

Risk Factors for Myocardial Ischemia:

Specific myocardial ischemia risk factors include:
• Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease
• Other heart diseases, such as aortic stenosis or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
• Previous heart attack
• Age factor
Stable and unstable myocardial ischemia occurs more often in older adults. People with variant myocardial ischemia are often younger than those with other forms of the condition.

Treatment:

The goals of myocardial ischemia treatment are to:
• Decrease how often myocardial ischemia symptoms occur and their severity
• Prevent or lower the risk of heart attack and related death.
Treatment for myocardial ischemia can include lifestyle changes and medicine might be needed if your symptoms are mild and are not getting worse. However, unstable angina is an emergency condition that requires treatment in the hospital.

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