Acute Coronary Syndrome
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Acute Coronary Syndrome is a term used to describe the clinical symptoms associated with acute myocardial ischemia, which results from the lack of sufficient blood supply to the heart muscles.


Acute Coronary Syndrome points toward an inevitable problem that has to do with a person's heart. This is particularly true when the heart muscles are unable to receive an adequate supply of blood, which in turn causes the symptoms of chest pain, among many other symptoms. When the arteries leading to the heart become too narrow due to a build-up of plaque, this blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. Eventually, this leads to the development of angina, or even a heart attack.


Acute Coronary Syndrome is a disease that develops over time stemming from a slow build-up of plaque that is composed of fatty deposits and cholesterol. This massive plaque coating that lines the coronary arteries is called atherosclerosis, and eventually, they prevent the heart from pumping the usual flow of oxygen-infused blood that the rest of the body needs, as well as preventing the heart from receiving the oxygen-rich blood it requires. Chest pain, also known as angina, is one of the primary symptoms of this occurrence.

Acute Coronary Syndrome is one of the signs of coronary heart disease, and it is the direct result of the damage caused by atherosclerosis to the arteries of the heart.

When a coronary artery becomes too clogged with plaque, the artery may rupture, which leads to a heart attack. A Coronary Artery Syndrome usually develops after one such rupture, caused by the inevitable blood clot that results from it, thus blocking the blood flow through the affected artery.

Other common ailments that signal the onset of Acute Coronary Syndrome include Q-wave myocardial infarction, non-Q-wave myocardial infarction, non-ST-segment elevation, and unstable angina. These symptoms are considered life threatening, and many people who exhibit them need to be subject to emergency medical attention. This is particularly true as coronary heart disease is responsible for high mortality rates in the United States.


People who have Acute Coronary Syndrome will usually experience tightness in the chest area that is known to circulate around the chest and spread to the left arm, as well as to the left part of the jaw. Other manifestations of this syndrome include shortness of breath, excessive sweating (diaphoresis), nausea, and vomiting. In some instances, the symptoms may be exhibited in other forms of pain, and may also be asymptomatic, particularly in female patients and patients who have diabetes. Other symptoms may include heart palpitations, extreme anxiety, a feeling of being very ill, and the sensation of imminent doom.
Acute Coronary Syndrome
Image: Acute Coronary Syndrome

Some or all of these symptoms may occur at the same time and require immediate medical attention, particularly if they are accompanied with a strong hunch that something is seriously wrong with a person's heart.

People who are at risk for Acute Coronary Syndrome are older adults ranging from the average age of 45 years for men and 55 years for women. Those who have been previously diagnosed with high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol are also at risk, as are smokers, people who have unhealthy eating habits, and those who lead sedentary lifestyles with a marked lack of regular physical activity. People with a family history of angina, stroke and heart disease are likewise at risk, as well as patients who suffer from Type 2 diabetes.


There are a variety of ways that the medical community uses to diagnose Acute Coronary Syndrome. One is through the use of an electrocardiogram in the case of acute chest pain. An electrocardiogram measures the extent of heart damage and can be used as a reliable measure of the various causes of chest pain (angina), or to determine whether the patient has had a heart attack. For instance, it can pinpoint acute heart damage, as in the case of elevation in the ST segment, and the cardiologist may recommend treatment via an angioplasty procedure, or thrombolysis.


The doctor will ask further questions about the patient's medical history to ascertain whether the symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome are present, and to determine whether the patient has a family history of heart problems, such as stroke, high blood cholesterol, hypertension, coronary artery disease, or related diseases such as diabetes.

Another method of diagnosis includes imaging and blood tests to determine the cause of the chest pain. Most hospital emergency rooms provide facilities for chest x-rays, as well as blood tests like myocardial markers, and even a D-dimer if the doctor suspects that the patient is suffering from a pulmonary embolism. The patient may also undergo telemetry, which is the monitoring of the heart rhythm, to determine the exact cause of the symptoms of chest pain.

The main goal in the emergency treatment of Acute Coronary Syndrome is to allow the flow of blood to and from the heart to resume at a normal rate as soon as possible. The doctor may order the use of medications that stimulate the normal flow of blood, such as nitroglycerin and heparin. Patients who suffer from angina are generally prescribed pain relievers for chest pain, and are given oxygen to relieve shortness of breath.

The advances in medical techniques today are such that a full recovery is possible for a greater number of people who suffer from Acute Coronary Syndrome. The use of defibrillators is more common, advanced medical equipment is more available in public places, and there are more medical personnel available who know how to use them.


Unfortunately, despite these advances in heart medicine and techniques, people continue to succumb to Acute Coronary Syndrome due to the kind of lifestyle they lead. The lack of regular physical activity, stress, smoking, and unhealthy eating habits are some of the leading causes of Acute Coronary Syndrome mortalities. People can improve their chances of avoiding this ailment if they make more appropriate lifestyle choices, particularly if they fall within the range of risk factors for this disease. This way, they will have a better chance of making a full recovery should they be diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

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