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Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
   -Definition of Coronary Artery Disease-
  • It is when one or more of the coronary arteries becomes narrowed or totally blocked by a gradual build-up of fat (cholesterol) within the artery wall, which reduces blood flow to the heart muscle.
  • The heart muscle does not get the oxygen rich blood that it needs.

-Factors That May Increase Risk-

  • Family history of coronary heart disease
  • High fat/high cholesterol diet
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity (being overweight)
  • Diabetes
  • Stress

-Signs and Symptoms-

If the build-up within the artery reduces blood flow only mildly, there may be no noticeable symptoms at rest. However, symptoms such as chest pressure may occur with increased activity or stress. These are signals that your heart may be having difficulty. Other symptoms that may be experienced include:

  • heartburn

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • shortness of breath

  • heavy sweating

When flow is significantly reduced and the heart muscle does not receive enough blood flow to meet its needs (cardiac ischemia), sever symptoms can occur. These symptoms include:

  • chest pain (angina pectoris)

  • heart attack (myocardial infarction)

  • rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias)


   -Measures to Prevent Coronary Artery Disease-
  • do not smoke

  • review personal and family medical history and lifestyle habits with your health care provider

  • eat a healthy diet

  • stay fit with the right kind of exercise for you

-Links To Other Informative Sites- dci/Diseases/Cad/CAD_WhatIs.html pub/guide/disease/cad/understandingcad.htm



Last updated: 3-4-2008