Heart disease can be difficult to recognize yourself. It is likely that you will not have any symptoms until something goes seriously wrong. Heart disease is a phrase that describes all of the conditions that can affect your heart.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type and is the leading cause of heart attacks. When you have CAD, it means your arteries have become hard and narrow. It is difficult for blood to get to the heart once your arteries have hardened, so your heart does not get all the blood it needs.
CAD can cause a number of symptoms. Angina is chest pain that happens when the heart does not get enough blood. It may feel like a pressing or squeezing pain, often in the chest. Sometimes you feel the pain is in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. It can also feel like you have indigestion. Angina is not a heart attack, but having angina means you are more likely to have a heart attack.
A heart attack happens when an artery is almost completely blocked. The heart does not get the blood it needs for more than 20 minutes. Heart failure occurs when the heart is not able to pump blood through the body as well as it should. This means that other organs, which normally get blood from the heart, do not get enough blood.
Researchers have been searching for decades for ways to identify heart disease before it causes serious damage. A new study, recently published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology,” has some promising news. It reports that measuring levels of an enzyme called myleoperoxidase (or MPD) can predict whether or not apparently healthy individuals are likely to develop heart disease in the future.
The researchers explained that previous reports have shown MPD levels to be related to the development of serious problems in patients with chest pain or suspected coronary disease. Armed with that information, the researchers compared initial levels of MPD in 1,138 healthy subjects who developed coronary disease during eight years of the study. It was found that people with the highest MPD levels had a 36% increased risk of coronary disease than those with the lowest levels.
The research team concluded that the elevation of MPD levels precede the onset of heart disease by years. Researchers also hope that this encouraging discovery about MPD will result in strategies aimed at lowering inflammation that in turn will ward off heart disease.