Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) occurs when major blood vessels that supply the heart struggle to send enough blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle.
What is Coronary Heart Disease?
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition in which the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle, become narrowed or blocked. This can reduce blood flow to the heart and cause a range of symptoms, including chest pain or discomfort (angina), shortness of breath, and fatigue.
What causes Coronary Heart Disease?
CAD occurs when fatty deposits, called plaques, build up on the walls of the coronary arteries. Over time, these plaques can harden and narrow the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. In some cases, the plaques can rupture, leading to the formation of a blood clot that can completely block the artery and cause a heart attack.
There are several risk factors for CAD, including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, a family history of heart disease, and a sedentary lifestyle. Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and quitting smoking, can help reduce the risk of CAD. Medications, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure-lowering drugs, and aspirin, may also be prescribed to manage CAD.
What are some symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease?
Symptoms may go unrecognized at first, or they may only occur when the heart is beating hard like during exercise. As the coronary arteries continue to narrow, less and less blood gets to the heart and symptoms can become more severe or frequent.
Coronary artery disease signs and symptoms can include chest pain or discomfort (angina), shortness of breath, fatigue, and even a heart attack.
How is Coronary Heart Disease Treated?
While lifestyle changes can help to manage symptoms of coronary heart disease, in some cases, procedures such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass surgery may be necessary to restore blood flow to the heart. These procedures involve opening or bypassing the blocked or narrowed arteries to improve blood flow.
A coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgical procedure used to improve blood flow to the heart when the coronary arteries become blocked or narrowed. During a CABG, a healthy blood vessel, usually taken from the leg, arm, or chest, is grafted onto the blocked or narrowed coronary artery. This new blood vessel, or graft, bypasses the blockage and allows blood to flow more freely to the heart.
It is important to receive appropriate medical care for coronary heart disease to manage risk factors and improve outcomes. Regular follow-up with your doctor is important to monitor the condition and adjust treatment as needed.
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