The following information contains excerpts from the website cardiosmart.org which we recommend as a resource for more information regarding heart disease.
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
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.
Risk factors for developing CAD include:
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).