Coronary Artery Disease – Symptoms, causes, types

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a disease that shrinks blood vessels due to the growth and deposition of fatty material (known as plaque) in the blood vessels. Coronary heart disease, ischemic heart disease, and heart disease are all different names for coronary artery disease. Coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle to keep it pumping. Chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and Heart attack are signs of CAD.  Other symptoms are – lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, weakness, cold sweat, anxiety, and heartburn. 

The risk of coronary artery disease is increased when someone has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, and also affects women after their menopause. Also, heredity, physical inactivity, smoking, and drinking alcohol cause heart blockage.

Symptoms or signs to make you alert:

  • Chest pain – The patient may feel pressure or tightness in the chest, usually occurring in the middle or left chest – Some people may feel a sharp pain and felt in the neck, arm, or back along with the chest pain
  • Shortness of breath – Catching breath becomes very difficult
  • Fatigue – When the heart is unable to pump enough blood as per the body’s requirement, you may feel extremely tired
  • Heart attack – Some attacks don’t show any noticeable signs or symptoms

Types of Coronary Artery Disease:

  • Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease

Obstructive coronary artery disease is the slow down or closing of arteries that supply blood to the heart.  The build-up of plaque is the main cause of this. It begins at an early age. Physical exams and minimally invasive tests help to detect.

  • Non-Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease

Instead of blockage, Non- Obstructive Coronary Artery disease develops endothelial dysfunction), inappropriate malfunctions in their tiny branches, and squeezing from the overlying heart muscle. Symptoms are almost similar to Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease.

  • Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

This causes a heart attack. This blocks blood circulation in the muscle and causes a sudden heart attack.

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?

Diagnostic tests may include:

  • Electrocardiograph tests 
  • Exercise stress tests
  • Stress test
  • Coronary calcium scan
  • Echocardiogram
  • Blood tests
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Nuclear imaging
  • Computed tomography angiogram

Treatment for surgery

  • Coronary angioplasty and stent placement
  • Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)

How you can manage:

  • Manage cholesterol
  • Stop smoking
  • Check blood sugar
  • Eat healthy food
  • Be physically active

Regular health checkup is the most important step toward a healthy life.

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