Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
What Is Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the most prevalent heart diseases in the U.S., currently affecting over 18 million Americans. CAD results from plaque buildup in the arteries around your heart. Reduced blood flow to your heart and the rest of your body can lead to complications like a heart attack or stroke. Early detection and management are critical for patients with CAD.
At Modern Heart and Vascular, our focus is on prevention. Learn more about the symptoms, causes, treatments and preventive measures you can take to manage or avoid coronary artery disease and live a longer, healthier life.
Your coronary arteries are major blood vessels that bring blood, oxygen and other nutrients to and from your heart. Adequate blood flow is important to ensure your heart works properly. Over time, however, cholesterol and other fatty deposits build up in the coronary arteries. As this plaque accumulates, it restricts blood flow in a process known as atherosclerosis. An insufficient blood supply to the heart can cause problems like chest pain (angina), ischemia and heart attacks.
Coronary Artery Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of coronary artery disease can vary between individuals and may present differently in men and women. The most common symptom is angina, a type of chest pain or shortness of breath. Angina might feel similar to heartburn, indigestion or a heart attack. You can feel angina in your chest, neck, back, jaw and arms.
Other typical symptoms of CAD include:
If symptoms last more than five minutes or appear suddenly and without explanation, seek emergency medical care.
Causes of Coronary Artery Disease
Atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in your arteries, is the most typical cause of CAD. Several risk factors increase your chances of developing coronary artery disease due to atherosclerosis:
Coronary Artery Disease Treatment
Your cardiologist or health care provider may use several tests to determine your coronary artery disease diagnosis. Electrocardiograms (ECGs), various stress tests and minimally invasive procedures like coronary catheterization will evaluate your overall heart health and identify possible next steps.
Treatment of coronary artery disease typically consists of medication and, if necessary, more aggressive surgical intervention. Drugs that lower your cholesterol and blood pressure or blood thinners can reduce the risk of CAD complications. Surgeries like angioplasty and coronary artery bypass can help restore blood flow to the heart.
Preventing Coronary Artery Disease
You can make several lifestyle changes to prevent or slow the development of coronary artery disease. Controlling your blood pressure and checking your cholesterol, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce your risks. You can also lose weight, quit smoking and practice effective stress management to lessen the daily strain on your heart and avoid coronary artery disease.
For more information on coronary artery disease, including treatment and prevention options, reach out to Modern Heart and Vascular for an appointment.
This page does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need cardiovascular care, please call us at 832-644-8930.