Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and the number one cause of death in the United States in both men and women.
It occurs when the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to a build up of cholesterol and other material, called plaque. This condition also is known as atherosclerosis.
As this build up increases, less blood can flow through the arteries. The heart muscle can't get the blood or oxygen it needs. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot develops at the site of plaque in a coronary artery and suddenly cuts off most or all blood supply to that part of the heart muscle.
Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure (failure to pump enough blood to the rest of the body) and arrhythmias. Arrhythmias are changes in the normal beating rhythm of the heart.
For more information on CAD or to schedule an appointment, call MoBap at 314-996-3627 or contact us online.
Important Risk Factors You Can Control or Treat:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Overweight or obesity
- Lack of physical activity
Risk Factors You Cannot Control:
- Age -- As you get older, your risk for CAD increases
- In men, risk increases after age 40
- In women, risk increases after age 55
- Family history of early heart disease
- Heart disease diagnosed before age 55 in father or brother
- Heart disease diagnosed before age 65 in mother or sister
Signs and Symptoms
Chest pain or chest discomfort (angina)
This discomfort may last more than a few minutes, or can be pain that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, tightness, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Shortness of breath
This can occur with or without chest pain and may include extreme fatigue with exertion and swelling of the feet and ankles.
Most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
A range of diagnostic tests are available to assess your heart health.
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Coronary Angiography
- Intracoronary Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS)
- Intravascular Distal Blood Flow Velocity
- Coronary Artery Stent Placement
- Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)
- Coronary Rotablator
Risk Factor Modification
Preventing and treating Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) first involves identifying risk factors and making lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and controlling conditions that contribute to CAD, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol or diabetes.
Various medications can also help to slow the progression of CAD and improve heart function. These include cholesterol-lowering drugs to reduce plaque build up, aspirin to thin the blood and reduce the risk of blood clot formation, and medication to control high blood pressure and diabetes.
For more information on coronary artery disease treatment or to schedule an appointment, call us at 314-996-3627 or contact us online.