Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis. Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. It also makes it more likely that blood clots will form in your arteries. Blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow. When your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked, oxygen-rich blood can't reach your heart muscle. This can cause angina or a heart attack. CAD is the most common type of heart disease. It's the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women.
Signs & Symptoms
A common symptom of coronary artery disease (CAD) include:
Angina - chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen-rich blood. Emotional stress also can trigger the pain.
Shortness of breath.
However, some people have no signs or symptoms. This is called silent CAD. It may not be diagnosed until a person shows signs and symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia. The severity of these symptoms varies. The symptoms may get more severe as the buildup of plaque continues to narrow the coronary arteries.
Major risk factors
High blood cholesterol levels
High blood pressure
Insulin resistance, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
Overweight or obesity
Lack of physical activity
Family history of early heart disease
Treatment for CAD may include lifestyle changes, medicines, and medical procedures. Lifestyle changes include following a heart healthy eating plan, increasing physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing stress.Taking action to control your risk factors can help prevent or delay CAD. You can take action by making lifestyle changes and/or taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor.