Coronary Artery Disease: What You Need to Know

Coronary Artery Disease; Man having chest pain, heart attack - body pain concept

When it comes to thinking about the health of our arteries, it is important to understand what we need to do and what the potential consequences could be if we don’t approach it right. Since arterial disease is so closely associated with heart complications, it is essential to do everything possible to minimize the risks to guarantee a long and healthy life.

While it will normally develop later on in life, coronary artery disease (CAD) may start at a young age if a healthy lifestyle is not being maintained. When this happens, one must fight an uphill battle with their health for much of their life to minimize their risks for coronary heart disease.

Before understanding how the disease happens and who gets it, it’s important to understand just what exactly it is. Coronary artery disease is the build-up of plaque in the arteries, decreasing blood flow to the heart eventually and causing excessive strain.

Risk Factors of Coronary Artery Disease

Similar to many health issues, there are many risk factors that can predispose an individual to develop CAD. Most of these risk factors are associated with lifestyle factors such as diet, activity level, and social behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco usage.

The risk factors for CAD include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Extreme stress levels
  • Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Inactivity
  • A diet high in trans fats
  • Increase in age
  • Gender (males more likely than females)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Alcohol use and abuse
  • Preeclampsia

Prevention

Working to live a healthier lifestyle can reduce most risk factors, aside from those that are genetic in nature. This will often include cessation of tobacco and alcohol use in addition to switching over to a diet low in fat and higher in fiber and minerals. Making these lifestyle adjustments is the best and most effective way to reduce the risk of developing CAD.

Symptoms

Usually, symptoms will consist of issues commonly associated with other forms of heart disease such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Abnormal rhythm

Treatment

The first line of treatment for coronary artery disease is often prescribed lifestyle changes. In many cases, this includes losing weight. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to drop weight in a healthy manner with a nutritionist and personal trainer as a part of the process so as to not cause other health issues or injuries.

In addition to lifestyle changes, medications may be prescribed to help control CAD. These medications will often look to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, or thin the blood so less blockage is occurring with less arterial build-up.

In severe cases, surgery to repair an artery or bypass the artery entirely may be necessary if less invasive measures are not effective.

When to Seek Help

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, call (941) 629-2111 to schedule an appointment at Pulse: The Heart, Valve and Vascular Institute. Founder and interventional cardiologist Dr. Farhan Majeed specializes in providing comprehensive and state-of-the-art care in all aspects of cardiac, vascular, and structural heart disease for those in the Port Charlotte, Florida area.  

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