“Coronary heart disease costs the US $108.9 billion each year and is the most common type of heart disease.”
– Nichols, Medical News Today. What are the top 10 leading causes of death in the US? 2014
Ischemic heart disease is the most common cause of death in the world and has been for the past decade. Coronary ischemia killed 7.4 million people in 2012 alone, according to the World Health Organization. Despite its prevalence both globally and in the United States, coronary ischemia, its causes and its treatments are not widely known by the American public.
Coronary ischemia is the reduction or restriction of blood flow and its oxygen to the heart, according to the American Heart Association. Symptoms may include angina, shortness of breath, fatigue, heart palpitations and swelling of the legs and feet. Silent ischemia occurs when there is no pain or other symptom. According to the Texas Heart Institute, silent ischemia affects three to four million Americans.
Coronary ischemia is caused by coronary artery disease. Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart & Vascular Institute defines coronary artery disease as “a narrowing of the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle, generally due to the buildup of plaques in the arterial walls, a process known as atherosclerosis.” Previous heart attacks, diabetes, smoking, obesity and drug/alcohol abuse are all risk factors for coronary ischemia.
Treatment for coronary ischemia includes lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, alcohol intake reduction, healthy eating and exercise. Medications can not only treat symptoms, but also improve function of the heart. Common medications are beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Implants, such as cardiac resynchronization therapy, and surgery, such as angioplasty and bypass surgery, are also treatment options.
Coronary ischemia is one of many negative clinical outcomes associated with inadequate pain management. To help prevent it, Orbis Biosciences has developed an injectable, multiday formulation of the analgesic tramadol. We hope that our work may add to recognition of this common health condition. We hope that quality of life will improve for people who live with ischemia and that one day, it may be eradicated completely.