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What are the effects of ischemic heart disease?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2024 | Physical Disabilities

Numerous conditions may qualify a person to receive Social Security Disability benefits, including ischemic heart disease. This condition occurs when the heart muscle experiences reduced blood supply, typically due to the narrowing or blocking of coronary arteries.

Because ischemic heart disease can have a major impact on a person’s life, it may prevent them from holding gainful employment.

Causes and risk factors

Ischemic heart disease often results from atherosclerosis. When plaque builds up on the inner walls of the coronary arteries, it can restrict blood flow. If left unchecked, accumulating plaque can eventually lead to a complete blockage.

Several risk factors contribute to the development of ischemic heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Effects on the heart

With compromised blood flow, the effects on the heart organ can be profound. The most common consequence is chest pain which occurs when the heart muscle does not receive enough blood. With severe restrictions or complete blocks, a heart attack can occur. The severity of potential health effects illustrates why the Social Security Administration frequently considers ischemic heart disease a disabling condition.

Chronic consequences

Over time, recurrent episodes of reduced blood flow to the heart can weaken the organ, leading to heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump blood efficiently, causing fatigue, shortness of breath and fluid retention.

Additionally, ischemic heart disease is a major contributor to the development of abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias, which can further complicate the health of the heart.

Treatment and management

Lifestyle changes and medications play an important role in the treatment and management of heart disease. Medications may include blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering drugs and medications to control blood pressure. In severe cases, surgical procedures may be necessary to restore proper blood flow to the heart.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5% of American adults aged 20 and older experience heart disease. For these individuals, accessing disability benefits can offer immense peace of mind when facing serious health issues.

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