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Feature: Coronary
Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease

David Cravedi

David Cravedi is once again jogging three miles a day. And the high cholesterol that led to a heart attack is now under control.
Photo: Kathleen Cravedi

Our nation's number one killer. And high cholesterol is a major cause.

At age 55, David Cravedi of Bethesda, Md., was in perfect health. Or, so he thought. He didn't smoke, drank moderately, ate a balanced diet, wasn't overweight, and exercised daily. And he did not have a family history of heart disease. The only early symptom of a potential heart problem was an elevated cholesterol reading from a physical exam.

So, in September 2005, no one suspected that Cravedi was having a heart attack when he awoke one morning with numbness in his left arm. His wife drove him to a nearby emergency room to be checked. He was immediately placed in a helicopter and flown to a hospital specializing in heart surgery. There, he was found to have had a heart attack. Further tests indicated the need for immediate bypass surgery. Within 24 hours of his first symptoms, Cravedi awoke in a hospital intensive care unit following a successful six-bypass surgical procedure.

Today, David is on a daily regimen of cholesterol-reducing medication, eats a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and is back to his daily 3-mile run.

"Don't wait to have a heart attack, like I did, to take the necessary action to reduce your high cholesterol," said Cravedi. "I thought diet and exercise could take care of it, and it did not. However, I have been told that there was little damage to my heart. Perhaps my daily exercise routine produced a strong heart!"

Fast Facts

  • Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body.
  • Atherosclerosis (ATH-er-oskler-O-sis) is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries.
  • One atherosclerosis-related disease, coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common heart disease and the number one killer of men and women in the United States.
  • Many people don't know they have CAD until they have a heart attack, stroke, or other medical emergency.
  • Controlling your risk factors can help prevent or delay atherosclerosis and its related diseases. This includes making lifestyle changes and/or taking medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

To Find Out More

Read More "Coronary Artery Disease" Articles

Coronary Artery Disease / Understanding Arteries / Signs and Symptoms of Artery Disease / Diagnosis & Treatment

Fall 2010 Issue: Volume 5 Number 3 Page 23