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How an Angioplasty Can Improve Your Heart Health

How an Angioplasty Can Improve Your Heart Health

Your heart’s primary responsibility is to deliver oxygen to your body, but what if it’s not getting its own good supply thanks to narrowing arteries? This is the case with coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the most common type of heart disease among Americans, affecting 1 in 20 age 20 years and older. 

One of the frontline treatments for CAD is an angioplasty, and Dr. Madaiah Revana and the team here at Humble Cardiology Associates offer this minimally invasive approach to improving your cardiovascular health.

Here’s a look at how angioplasty helps get more oxygen to the heart and who is a good candidate for this common procedure — nearly one million angioplasties are performed each year in the United States.

The road to CAD

When you have CAD, the arteries that deliver oxygen to your heart muscle are narrowed due to a condition called atherosclerosis.

The primary culprit behind this narrowing is cholesterol, minerals, and other substances that build up along the walls of your blood vessels. This is why we’re so concerned with cholesterol numbers, which are far too high in the United States. About 86 million adults in the US have total cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL, and 25 million have levels above 240 mg/dL.

To put these numbers in perspective, we want to see total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL for healthy people and below 150 mg/dL for anyone who has a preexisting health condition like diabetes or hypertension. For a clearer picture of cholesterol numbers, check out this previous blog post on the subject.

The bottom line is that if too much plaque is deposited on the walls of your arteries, it impedes blood flow. When this happens in the arteries that deliver oxygen to your heart, you have CAD, which places you at greater risk for having a heart attack.

Opening up your arteries with an angioplasty

If lifestyle changes and medication aren’t improving the situation in your coronary arteries, we may recommend angioplasty to get the blood flowing to your heart again. 

During an angioplasty procedure, we thread a catheter through a blood vessel in your thigh or in your arm. We guide the catheter through to where the blockage is in your coronary artery and, once in position, we inflate a balloon that’s attached to the end of the catheter.

This balloon opens up the artery again by compressing the plaque against the walls of the blood vessel to create more room for blood to flow through. In most cases, we place a stent in the area that maintains this open position after we remove the balloon and catheter.

Not only is the angioplasty not open surgery, we don’t use general anesthesia when we perform the procedure. Patients are often able to return home the same day.

To learn more about CAD and whether you might be a candidate for angioplasty, please contact us at one of our two offices in Humble or Houston, Texas. Click here to schedule an appointment.

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