Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is a disease that occurs due to the build-up of plaque within the artery walls. This build-up of plaque causes the arteries to narrow resulting in inadequate oxygen supply to the heart.
Coronary artery disease progresses over the years. Therefore, symptoms appear gradually as the plaque builds up. These symptoms may be experienced under stress, during physical activity or even at rest. Symptoms are not common for all and may be different for men and women. Symptoms included are:
Risk factors may be divided into two categories: modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors.
1. Non-modifiable risk factors are those factors which cannot be changed. These include:
age above 45 years for men and 55 years for women
family history of heart disease
2. Modifiable risk factors are those factors which may be changed through lifestyle changes. These include:
high blood pressure
high cholesterol levels
high alcohol intake
lack of physical activity
high stress levels
Risk factors occurring together increase the risk for coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease may be diagnosed through:
Treatment of coronary artery disease may be done through:
If you experience the symptoms of coronary artery disease, it may be time to see a doctor. The doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms, the duration and what physical activity was being carried out when it occurred. Diagnostic tests will then be performed to confirm a diagnosis. If the symptoms are ignored, the disease may progress fast and result in a heart attack and cause permanent damage.