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Coronary Artery Disease Quiz

Coronary artery disease is …

The correct answer is all of the above. Coronary artery disease (CAD) and coronary heart disease describe the same condition: the buildup of plaque in the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart. These are called the coronary arteries. Over time, they can become narrow, slowing or stopping blood flow to the heart.

What causes plaque to build up in the arteries?

The correct answer is all of the above. Any of these factors cause damage to the inside walls of the coronary arteries. Cholesterol and other chemicals in the blood then build up on these injured areas as plaque. This process is called atherosclerosis.

You can have CAD and not have any symptoms.

The correct answer is true. Plaque buildup occurs slowly over time, so you can have the disease and not have any symptoms. This is especially true in the early stages of heart disease. Sometimes, a heart attack is the first sign of CAD.

What are the noticeable symptoms of CAD?

The correct answer is all of the above. Angina (chest heaviness, pressure, or pain) is the most common symptom. It often occurs during activity or stress and goes away with rest or when you take an angina medicine (most often nitroglycerin under your tongue). You also may feel shortness of breath, fatigue, or weakness.

Angina is another name for a heart attack.

The correct answer is false. Angina is a sign that your heart isn't getting enough oxygen. A heart attack occurs when heart muscle cells die due to a blocked artery. Having angina means you are at risk for a heart attack. If you have angina, and your chest pain doesn't go away minutes after rest or medicine, call 911.

Which heart problems can be caused by CAD?

The correct answer is all of the above. Reduced blood flow can damage the heart in different ways. Heart failure occurs when the weakened heart muscle can't pump enough blood to the rest of the body. CAD can damage the heart's electrical system, causing arrhythmias. A blocked artery can cause a heart attack.

If you have heart disease, you are at higher risk for depression.

The correct answer is true. It's unclear why, but there is a link between depression and heart disease, angina, and heart attack. Being depressed may make it harder to follow your treatment plan, and treating depression can help you better manage heart disease. If you think you may be depressed, talk with your doctor.

How may CAD be treated?

The correct answer is all of the above. Your treatment depends on your symptoms and how much artery blockage you have. For some people, lifestyle changes alone can treat CAD. Others may need medicine, angioplasty, or surgery. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for you.

Which lifestyle change WON'T help treat CAD?

The correct answer is following a gluten-free diet. Most people don't need to follow a gluten-free diet, and avoiding gluten certainly won't help treat CAD. Follow a plant-based diet low in sodium, cholesterol, and trans and saturated fats. Talk with your doctor about other changes that can help your heart.

Plaque buildup can begin in childhood.

The correct answer is true. It may seem hard to believe, but plaque starts building up on artery walls in our childhood and teen years. That's why it's never too early to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and manage stress. And if you never start smoking in the first place, you never have to quit!

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