Coronary Artery Disease

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in the world. CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the build-up of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. This build-up 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.
Angina, or chest pain and discomfort, is the most common symptom of CAD. Angina can happen when too much plaque builds up inside arteries, causing them to narrow. For many people, the first clue that they have CAD is a heart attack. Symptoms of heart attack include
  • Chest pain or discomfort (angina)
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), or a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle. This may lead to heart failure, a serious condition where the heart can’t pump blood the way it should.
  • Overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Smoking tobacco
  • A family history of heart disease at an early age (50 or younger).
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get regular exercise
  • Limit alcohol
  • Don't smoke
  • Manage stress
  • Control diabetes
  • Make sure that you get enough sleep
  • How it is diagnosed?

    The doctor will ask questions about your medical history, do a physical exam and order routine blood tests. He or she may suggest one or more diagnostic tests as well, including:
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG
  • Echocardiogram
  • Exercise stress test
  • Nuclear stress test
  • Cardiac catheterization and angiogram
  • Cardiac CT scan
  • How it is treated?

    Various drugs can be used to treat coronary artery disease, including:
    Drugs
  • Cholesterol-modifying medications

  • Aspirin
  • Drugs
    Other Drugs
  • Beta-blockers:These drugs slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure, which decreases your heart’s demand for oxygen. If you’ve had a heart attack, beta-blockers reduce the risk of future attacks.
  • Calcium channel blockers:These drugs may be used with beta blockers if beta blockers alone aren’t effective or instead of beta blockers if you’re not able to take them. These drugs can help improve symptoms of chest pain.

  • Calcium channel blockers: These drugs may be used with beta blockers if beta blockers alone aren’t effective or instead of beta blockers if you’re not able to take them. These drugs can help improve symptoms of chest pain.

  • Ranolazine: This medication may help people with chest pain (angina). It may be prescribed with a beta blocker or instead of a beta blocker if you can’t take it.

  • Nitro-glycerine: Nitro-glycerine tablets, sprays and patches can control chest pain by temporarily dilating your coronary arteries and reducing your heart’s demand for blood.

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). These similar drugs decrease blood pressure and may help prevent progression of coronary artery disease.
  • Other Drugs
    Surgical
  • Angioplasty and stent placement (percutaneous coronary revascularization)

  • Coronary artery bypasses surgery
  • Surgical

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