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How can I be sure I have CHD?

Evidence That You Have CHD Although you can have coronary heart disease without knowing it, answering yes to any of the following questions is a fair indicator that you may have CHD.

  • Have you had a heart attack?
  • Have you experienced chest pain that has been diagnosed as angina?
  • Have you had heart bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty, sometimes called balloon angioplasty, or a stent?
  • Have you had angiography - a procedure to take a special X-ray of the heart - that showed blockage of any of your coronary arteries?

It isn't always easy to determine whether you have heart disease. CHD may produce no symptoms before you have a heart attack or even die due to sudden cardiac death. Even if you have warning signs that something is wrong, a number of conditions other than CHD can cause the same symptoms. For instance, chest pain that feels like angina may be heartburn, a pulled muscle, or another problem unrelated to your heart. Only a thorough evaluation by your doctor can lead to the right diagnosis and treatment.

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Unfortunately, there is no simple single test for CHD. Your doctor will want to do the following:

  • identify if you have CHD by examination and testing
  • if CHD is present, determine its extent and severity
  • if no CHD appears to be present, determine another cause for your symptoms

Your doctor will have to piece together a picture of what's happening, based on:

  • your symptoms
  • your personal and family medical history
  • a physical exam
  • diagnostic tests

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