CAD, Coronary Artery Disease

What Is Coronary Artery Disease(CAD)?

Wondering how a sudden Heart attack happens? It might be the first sign of Coronary Artery Disease CAD. Plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that deliver blood to the heart causes coronary artery disease (called coronary arteries).

Cholesterol deposits make form plaque. Over time, plaque formation causes the insides of the arteries to constrict. Atherosclerosis is the medical term for this condition. The most frequent type of cardiac disease in the United States is coronary artery disease(CAD). It’s also known as ischemic heart disease or coronary artery disease.

Causes of CAD

Plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that carry blood to the heart (called coronary arteries) and other regions of the body causes coronary artery disease (CAD). Coronary artery disease occurs when your heart’s primary blood arteries become damaged or diseased. Coronary artery disease is caused by cholesterol-containing deposits (plaques) in your coronary arteries and inflammation.

Plaque is made up of cholesterol and other chemicals that have accumulated in the artery. Plaque formation causes the inside of the arteries to constrict over time, obstructing blood flow partially or completely. Atherosclerosis is the medical term for this condition. 

The coronary arteries supply your heart with blood, oxygen, and nourishment. Plaque development can restrict these arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. Reduced blood flow may eventually result in chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease. A heart attack might be caused by a total blockage. 

You may not detect a problem until you have a large blockage or a heart attack since coronary artery disease commonly develops over decades. However, there are things you may do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. A healthy way of living can have a significant impact. 

Coronary Artery Disease Symptoms

If your coronary arteries constrict, they won’t be able to provide your heart with enough oxygen-rich blood, especially when it’s working hard, as it is during exercise. Reduced blood flow may not create any symptoms at first. However, as plaque builds up in your coronary arteries, you may experience the following signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease: 

  • Breathing problems: Shortness of breath or excessive weariness may occur if your heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs.
  • Pain in the chest (angina): As if someone were standing on your chest, you may feel pressure or tightness in your chest. Angina is a type of chest pain that typically appears on the middle or left side of the chest. Angina is most commonly brought on by physical or emotional strain. After ceasing the stressful activity, the pain normally goes away within minutes. The pain may be brief or sharp, and it may be felt in the neck, arm, or back in certain persons, particularly women.
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), or a cold sweat are all signs that something is wrong. 
  • Discomfort or pain in the arms or shoulder
  • A heart attack can occur: A heart attack is caused by a clogged coronary artery. Crushing pressure in your chest, pain in your shoulder or arm, and shortness of breath and perspiration are all classic indications and symptoms of a heart attack. Women are slightly more likely than males to suffer less conventional heart attack signs and symptoms, such as neck or jaw pain. They may also have other symptoms like shortness of breath, exhaustion, and nausea. A heart attack can happen without any warning signs or symptoms.

Risk factor for CAD

Following are risk factors for CAD and other heart-related problems:

  • Obesity

Excess body fat is referred to as obesity. Obesity is associated with greater levels of “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as lower levels of “good” cholesterol. Obesity can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, among other problems. Discuss a weight-loss strategy with your doctor.

  • Blood Pressure 

Blood pressure that is too high. Heart disease is caused by high blood pressure, which is a key risk factor. It is a medical disorder in which the blood pressure in your arteries and other blood vessels becomes excessively high. If your blood pressure isn’t under control, it can harm your heart and other vital organs in your body, such as your kidneys and brain. 

Because it frequently has no symptoms, high blood pressure is referred to as a “silent killer.” Measuring your blood pressure is the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure. To lessen your risk of heart disease and heart attack, you can lower your blood pressure by lifestyle modifications or medication. 

  • Unhealthy Cholesterol level

Cholesterol levels in the blood are unhealthy. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like molecule produced by the liver and contained in several foods. Your liver produces enough cholesterol to meet your body’s requirements, but we often consume too much cholesterol from the foods we eat. 

Extra cholesterol can build up in the walls of arteries, especially those of the heart if we consume more cholesterol than our bodies can use. The arteries narrow as a result, reducing blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys, and other organs of the body.

  • The Sugar level in blood

Diabetes mellitus is a kind of diabetes. For energy, your body needs glucose (sugar). Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that aids in the transport of glucose from your diet to your body’s cells for energy. If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t utilize it as well as it should. Sugar builds up in the bloodstream as a result of diabetes. Adults with diabetes have a higher chance of dying from heart disease than adults without diabetes.

Cardiac rehabilitation and recovery

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a crucial therapy for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or another heart disease that necessitated surgery or medical attention. Cardiac rehab can assist these folks to improve their quality of life and preventing another heart attack. Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that incorporates a variety of activities. 

  • Physical activity is important. 
  • Education about how to live a healthy lifestyle, including how to eat well, take medications as recommended, and quit smoking. 
  • Counseling helps people cope with stress and enhance their mental health.

References:

  • https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/coronary_ad.htm
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronary-artery-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350613
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