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Coronary Artery Disease - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

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Experience: 17 years

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Experience: 40 years

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Summary about Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease, which is also termed ‘coronary heart disease’, usually appears as the coronary arteries become dangerously narrow. Coronary arteries basically provide the heart with nutrients and oxygen via blood.

The condition usually begins as the artery walls slowly build up due to cholesterol. This building up results in plaque formation which in turn narrows the arteries. As the arteries become narrow, the blood supply also becomes more inhibited. Furthermore, the source of obstruction could also sometimes be a clot.

The role that coronary arteries play is very crucial. They make up a web which surrounds the heart’s surface. This web is responsible for the blood and oxygen supply to the heart. Hence, if coronary arteries become narrow, it can certainly happen that the heart becomes deficient in oxygen. This could become a problem, especially if the person is very physically active.

The even worse consequence is heart attack or cardiac arrest. This heart complication is a very common heart condition all over the world.

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

The narrowing coronary arteries supply lesser and lesser oxygen to the heart as the blood which carries oxygen would gradually reduce in volume. This is particularly problematic during physical exertion which makes the heart beat faster. Initially, no symptoms may manifest as the blood flow decreases. However, with the continual building up of plaque, coronary artery disease will eventually exhibit its symptoms.

The signs and symptoms consist the following:

  • Pain in the chest, or angina. One could sense a pressure or tight sensation in the chest. They might feel as if someone is forcefully pressing their chest in typically the center or left side. Usually angina is caused by stress, either or both physical and emotional.
  • Pain Pangs. This sensation normally subsides following a few minutes, once the stressful event has passed. It might also appear in certain people, particularly females, as momentary or nagging outbursts in their limbs or neck or back.
  • Shortened breaths. The individual becomes regularly short of breath. This is because the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently to the body, in enough quantity as to meet its expenditure.
  • Heart attack. If the coronary artery is totally blocked, then a heart attack will occur. An individual can identify a heart attack by the unbearable pressure they feel on their chest or the pain they feel in their arm or shoulders. Their breath might shorten even further and they begin to sweat a lot.

Men face more common symptoms when it comes to heart attack than women. Conversely, women report pain in neck or jaw area as symptoms. In certain cases, a person might experience heart attack without experiencing any important symptoms.

Causes of Coronary Artery Disease

As the name suggests, coronary artery disease pertains to the condition in which the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart are somehow blocked by a plaque.
As time progresses, the artery walls might be majorly obstructed by fatty buildups. The medical term for this issue is atherosclerosis. So, atherosclerosis is a very common cause associated with coronary artery disease.

One could avoid it by not smoking, not consuming foods with a high cholesterol level and not stressing out too much which results in hypertension. Diabetes is also another condition that scientists link to coronary artery disease.

Risk Factors of Coronary Artery Disease

There are a number of factors that significantly increase an individual’s vulnerability to coronary artery disease. People with higher blood pressure are at a higher risk; so are those who have higher bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol levels in their body. Those who have diabetes or are overweight or obese are also at an elevated risk level.

Other risk factors include smoking; this inflames the blood vessels and results in more cholesterol depositing in the arteries. Lastly, not properly exercising or living an overly sedentary lifestyle can also significantly make the individual more vulnerable to coronary artery disease.

Preventive Measures of Coronary Artery Disease

Doctors recommend a diet that is high in fiber and low in fats. It should also contain an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, one should divide this diet into five small portions a day.

Exercise on a regular basis is also recommended as it makes the circulation of blood more efficient. At the same time, it lessens the cholesterol levels and can play a crucial role in avoiding hypertension.

The individual should also try not to smoke as much and, in fact, should try to secede this behavior, as to avoid any chance at all.

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