What is Coronary Artery Disease ‘commonly known as Heart Disease‘?
Coronary artery disease develops when the coronary arteries (the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients) become damaged or diseased. Plaques on the arteries are usually the cause for coronary artery disease.
When plaques build up, the coronary arteries narrow and cause your heart to receive less blood. Eventually, diminished blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath or other coronary artery disease symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.
Coronary artery disease often develops over decades and can go virtually unnoticed until it produces a heart attack.
Signs or Symptoms
Chest pain (angina). Chest pain or angina is usually triggered by physical or emotional stress. It typically goes away within minutes after stopping the stressful activity. It may be fleeting or sharp and noticed in the abdomen, back or arm.
Shortness of breath. Can also lead to extreme fatigue with exertion.
Heart attack. Symptoms include crushing chest pressure and pain in the shoulder or arm, sometimes with shortness of breath and sweating. Sometimes, however, there are no apparent signs or symptoms.
Coronary artery disease is thought to begin with damage or injury to the inner layer of a coronary artery. The damage may be caused by various factors, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Radiation therapy to the chest
- Gender. Men are generally at greater risk of coronary artery disease. The risk for women increases after menopause.
- Family history. If a close relative developed heart disease at an early age, your risk increases. Your risk is highest if your father or a brother was diagnosed with heart disease before age 55, or your mother or a sister developed it before age 65.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Physical inactivity
- High stress
Coronary artery disease can lead to:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
Lifestyle changes can help you prevent or slow the progression of coronary artery disease.
- Stop smoking
- Control your blood pressure
- Maintain desirable cholesterol levels
- Control diabetes
- Eat healthy foods
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower your blood pressure and may reduce your risk of heart attack. Fish and fish oil are the most effective sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Flax and flaxseed oil also contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, though studies have not found these sources to be as effective as fish.
Walnuts, canola oil, soybeans and soybean oil contain smaller amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than do fish and fish oil.
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