Yakima Heart Center

What is your Diagnosis?

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

The following information contains excerpts from the website cardiosmart.org which we recommend as a resource for more information regarding heart disease.


WHAT IS IT?

Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries supplying the heart with oxygen and nutrients narrow and become blocked.

Also Known As: Atherosclerosis, Hardening of the Arteries

BASIC FACTS

The heart requires oxygen and nutrients so it can keep pumping, and this fuel is carried to the heart muscle within the blood that flows through the coronary arteries. So, the coronary arteries serve as fuel pipelines to the heart muscle. 

Atherosclerosis (the build up of “plaque”) is by far the commonest cause of blockages in our arteries.  When atherosclerosis affects the coronary arteries, it is referred to as “coronary artery disease” or CAD.

Patients with one or more risk factors for CAD are susceptible to the increased buildup of fatty deposits known as “atheroma”. This buildup begins to encroach upon the inner channel through which blood is flowing. 

CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS

Risk factors for developing CAD include:

  • Hyperlipidemia-high cholesterol level, particularly the "bad" component known as Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Obesity
  • Poor dietary habits
  • Lack of exercise
  • Strong family history of CAD
  • Increasing age
  • Stress and tension

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is “angina” or chest pain. If you have angina or any of the symptoms listed below that last for more than 5 minutes, CALL 9-1-1. These symptoms could be the signs of a heart attack (also called myocardial infarction or MI).

  • Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body including the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sweating or “cold sweat”
  • Fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (may feel like “heartburn”)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Light-headedness, dizziness, extreme weakness or anxiety
  • Rapid or irregular heart beats
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