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Coronary Artery Disease

Also called: CAD, Coronary arteriosclerosis, Coronary atherosclerosis
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Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women.

CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. This buildup is called atherosclerosis. As it grows, less blood can flow through the arteries. As a result, 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 suddenly cuts off the hearts' blood supply, causing permanent heart damage.

Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias. Heart failure means the heart can't pump blood well to the rest of the body. Arrhythmias are changes in the normal beating rhythm of the heart.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Causes of Coronary Artery Disease

CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls.

Diagnosis of Heart Disease

There is no one test to diagnose coronary artery disease. If your doctor suspects you have it, they may perform an EKG, a stress test, a chest x-ray, blood tests, or an echocardiography.

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

As your arteries become blocked over time, you may experience angina, shortness of breath, or heart attacks.

Complications from Coronary Artery Disease

Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias.

Treatment for Coronary Artery Disease

Treatments for coronary heart disease include heart-healthy lifestyle changes, medicines, medical procedures and surgery, and cardiac rehabilitation.

Lifestyle Changes for Better Heart Health

Lifestyle changes are an important part of managing coronary artery disease and avoiding complications.



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National Institutes of Health

The primary NIH organization for research on Coronary Artery Disease is the NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute