Also known as heart disease or atherosclerosis, it is caused by the build-up of fatty deposits, or plaque, in blood vessels of the heart. In order to work well, the heart get oxygen and nutrients. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the heart through vessels called arteries. As plaque builds up in the arteries, blood flow to the heart muscle decreases. As blood flow decreases, chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs may occur. If blood flow stops or is blocked, it causes a heart attack.
Signs of Coronary Artery Disease
You might not have any signs. Or you may have:
• Pain or pressure in your chest, arm, jaw, shoulders, or neck; also called angina.
It may spread from one area to another.
• Feeling of tightness, heaviness, squeezing or burning
• Shortness of breath
• Nausea, vomiting
• Abdominal pain
• Fatigue, dizziness, fainting
A person may be at higher risk for coronary disease with:
• A family history of the disease
• High cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure
• Smoke or use tobacco
• Inactivity, Sedentary lifestyle
• Stress-filled lifestyle
• Obesity, Being overweight
Changing just one risk factor can improve one’s heart health, helping prevent the disease from getting worse and may even improve upon it.
If your doctor thinks you have coronary disease, you may seek tests such as:
• An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to check the electrical activity of the heart.
• A cardiac magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) to photograph
• A stress test to look for problems with your heart’s rate, rhythm, or electrical activity.
Blood pressure and signs such as shortness of breath or angina are also checked.
• If tests indicate you are likely to have coronary artery disease, other tests or procedures may be
done to treat the disease.
The goal is to improve blood flow to your heart muscle and decrease the risk of heart attack.
Treatment may include:
• Low fat diet
• Procedures or surgery
• Cardiac rehabilitation program
No matter which treatment is done, it does not ‘cure’ the disease. Individuals must reduce their specific factors and follow a care plan.
Talk to your doctor about your care or any questions you may have.