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Government of Jamaica

Illnesses Covered

Ischaemic Heart Disease

What is ischaemia?

Ischaemia is a condition where the flow of blood, and therefore oxygen, to a part of the body is restricted. Cardiac ischaemia refers to lack of blood flow and oxygen to the heart muscle.

What is ischaemic heart disease?

This refers to heart problems caused by narrowed coronary arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood and oxygen reaches the heart. This is also called coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease. This can ultimately lead to a heart attack. Ischaemia often causes chest pain or discomfort known as angina pectoris.

What is silent ischaemia?

People have ischaemia without pain — or silent ischaemia. These persons may have a heart attack with no prior warning. People with angina also may have undiagnosed episodes of silent ischaemia. An exercise test or a 24-hour portable monitor of the electrocardiogram, are two of the various tests used to diagnose this problem.

How to prevent ischaemia

  • Reduce fat intake and salt intake
  • Eat more fibre and vegetables
  • Ensure you engage in physical activity
  • Screening for ischaemia

Screening for ischaemia may be done by having annual check-ups, especially for the over 40 years of age group.

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