What is Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease appears when the main blood vessels that supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart (coronary arteries) become a risk or diseased.
Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in the arteries and inflammation are generally responsible for coronary artery disease. Over time, decreased blood flow can lead to chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other signs and symptoms.
Because coronary artery disease often manifests itself after decades, you may not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or heart attack.
But there are many things you can do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. A healthy lifestyle can have an extraordinary impact.
What are the Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease?
It is small they cannot supply enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart, wildly when it is beating hard, such as during exercise. At first, the decreased blood move may not cause any symptoms of coronary artery disease.
However, as plaque continues to construct up in the coronary arteries, you can develop signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease, including:
1. Chest Pain (Angina)
- You may suffer pressure or tightness in your chest as if someone is standing on your chest.
- This pain, known as angina, usually occurs in the centre or left side of the chest. Angina usually triggers by physical or emotional stress.
- The pain commonly goes away within minutes after stopping the stressful activity.
- In some people, especially women, this pain can be fleeting or sharp and felt in the neck, arm, or back.
2. Difficulty Breathing
- If your heart can’t pump sufficient blood to meet your body’s requirements, you may experience shortness of breath or extreme fatigue with exertion.
3. Heart Attack
- A completely stop up coronary artery will cause a heart attack. Classic signs and symptoms of a heart attack include crushing pressure in the chest and pain in the shoulder or arm, sometimes with shortness of breath and sweating.
- Women are somewhat more suitable than men to experience less typical heart attack signs and symptoms, such as neck or jaw pain.
- Sometimes a heart attack occurs with no apparent signs or symptoms.
What are the Causes of Coronary Artery Disease(CAD)?
Coronary artery disease begins with damage or injury to the inner layer of the coronary artery, sometimes from childhood. Several factors can cause damage, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol level
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Sedentary lifestyle
Once the artery’s inner wall is damaged, fatty deposits (plaque) formed from cholesterol and other waste products from cells tend to accumulate at the site of injury in a process called atherosclerosis.
If the plaque’s surface breaks down, blood cells called platelets will collect at the site to try to repair the artery. This buildup can block the artery and lead to a heart attack.
Risk factors of Coronary Artery Disease
Risk factors for coronary artery disease include:
Age: Just getting older increases the risk of your arteries being damaged and narrowed.
Sex: In general, men are at a higher risk of coronary artery disease. However, women’s risk increases after menopause.
Family Background: A family story of heart disease is associated with a higher risk of coronary artery disease, especially if a close relative had heart disease at a young age.
Your risk is higher if your father or brother diagnoses heart disease before age 55 or whether your mother or sister developed it before age 65.
Smoking People: Who smoke have a significantly higher risk of heart disease. Exposing other people to passive smoking also increases your risk of coronary artery disease.
High Blood Pressure: Unchecked blood pressure can lead to hardening and thickening of the arteries, narrowing the channel through which blood flows.
High Levels of Cholesterol: High cholesterol levels in the blood can increase the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis. It can cause a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as “bad” cholesterol.
A short level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, called “good” cholesterol, can also contribute to atherosclerosis development.
Diabetes: Diabetes is associated with increased damage to it: diabetes type 2 and coronary artery disease are similar risk factors.
Overweight or Obese: In general, being overweight worsens other risk factors.
Lack of Physical Activity: Lack of physical activity is also related to coronary artery disease and some of its risk factors.
High Level of Stress: The unrelieved stress in your life can damage your arteries and worsen other risk factors for it.
Unhealthy Eating: Eating too many foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, salt, and sugar can increase your risk for it.
Complications of Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease can lead to:
1. Chest Pain (Angina)
- When your coronary arteries narrow, your heart can stop receiving enough blood when the demand is most significant – particularly during physical activity.
- It can cause chest pain (angina) or trouble breathing.
2. Heart Attack
- If a cholesterol plaque ruptures and forms a blood clot, your heart artery’s complete blockage can trigger a heart attack. Lack of blood flow can damage the heart muscle.
- The amount of risk depends in part on how fast you receive treatment.
3. Heart Failure
- In many areas of the heart chronically deprived of oxygen and nutrients due to reduced blood flow or a heart attack damage your heart, it may become too weak to pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs.
- This disease is known as heart failure.
4. Abnormal Heart Rhythm (Arrhythmia)
- Inadequate blood supply to the heart or risk to heart tissue can interfere with your heart’s electrical impulses and cause arrhythmia.
Prevention of Coronary Artery Disease
The same lifestyle habits that can aid in treating it can prevent it from developing in the first place. Living a healthy lifestyle can help keep your arteries strong and plaque-free.
To improve your health, you can do the following:
- Give up smoking
- Manage situation like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Staying physically active
- Eat a diet low in fat and salt and with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- keep a healthy weight
- Reduce and manage stress.
When to See the Doctor
If you suspect you have a heart attack, immediately call 100 or your local emergency number.
If you cannot access emergency medical services, ask someone to drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only as a last option.
Whether you have risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, a strong family story of heart disease, or obesity, talk to your doctor.
They may tell you to take some tests to detect the disease, especially if you have signs or symptoms of narrowing the arteries.
Everyone’s outlook for CAD is different. You have improved chances of preventing extensive damage to your heart the earlier you can start your treatment or implement lifestyle changes.
It is essential to follow your doctor’s order. And also, take medications as directed and make the recommended lifestyle changes. If you have a higher risk for it, you can help prevent the disease by reducing your risk factors.
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