Coronary Artery Disease

What is Coronary Artery Diseases?
Coronary artery disease is also called CAD, atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. It is a condition where plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart muscle. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to an area of your heart muscle is completely blocked. CAD is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.
CAD is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.

What causes CAD?
Coronary artery disease starts when certain factors damage the inner layers of the coronary arteries. These factors are: smoking, high amounts of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, and high amounts of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes.
When damage occurs your body starts a healing process that causes excess release of fatty tissues. The healing causes plaque to build up where the arteries are damaged. The build up of plaque starts when we are young and over time it can narrow or completely block some of your coronary arteries. Plaque can also crack, which causes blood cells called platelets to clump together and form a blood clot at the site of the crack. This narrows the arteries even more.
 
What are the signs and symptoms of CAD?
Coronary artery disease starts when certain factors damage the inner layers of the coronary arteries. These factors are: smoking, high amounts of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, and high amounts of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes.
When damage occurs your body starts a healing process that causes excess release of fatty tissues. The healing causes plaque to build up where the arteries are damaged. The build up of plaque starts when we are young and over time it can narrow or completely block some of your coronary arteries. Plaque can also crack, which causes blood cells called platelets to clump together and form a blood clot at the site of the crack. This narrows the arteries even more.
What are the signs and symptoms of CAD?
A common sign of coronary artery disease is chest pain. Sometimes it may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in your chest. You may also feel it in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. This pain tends to get worse with activity and go away when you rest. Another common symptom of CAD is shortness of breath this occurs when your heart can not pump enough blood throughout your body and fluid backs up in your lungs.
 
How is CAD diagnosed?

Your provider will diagnose CAD based on: your medical and family history, your risk factors and the results of a physical exam and diagnostic tests. Some diagnostic tests to diagnose CAD are an electrocardiogram or EKG, stress test, echocardiogram, coronary CT angiogram, and a cardiac catheterization. For more information about these tests see our services page.

   
What is the treatment for CAD?

Treatment of CAD may include lifestyle changes, medications, and medical procedures. Making lifestyle changes can often help prevent CAD. Follow a heart healthy eating plan to prevent or reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol and to maintain a healthy weight. Increase your physical activity. Quit smoking. Learn to cope with and reduce stress. You may need medications to treat CAD if lifestyle changes aren’t enough. Medicines can reduce the workload on your heart and relieve symptoms, decrease your chance of having a heart attack or dying suddenly, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure or prevent blood clots. The medical procedures to treat CAF are both angioplasty and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) also known as heart bypass surgery.

   
How can coronary artery disease be prevented?

Take action to control your risk factors. Your chance of developing CAD goes up with the number of risk factors you have. The major risk factors are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, elevated blood sugar, being overweight, lack of physical activity, age, family history of heart disease. Other factors that contribute to coronary artery disease include high stress levels and alcohol.

   
*Please consult your doctor if you have any further questions.