Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease, is a condition in which plaque (plak) builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.

Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. It also makes it more likely that blood clots will form in your arteries. Blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow.

Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances found in the blood. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the arteries harden.

CAD is the most common type of heart disease.

It's the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Lifestyle changes, medicines, and/or medical procedures can effectively prevent or treat CAD in most people.

Chest Pain

When your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked, oxygen-rich blood can't reach your heart muscle. This can cause chest pain or a heart attack.
 
Chest pain occurs when not enough oxygen-rich blood is flowing to an area of your heart muscle. This may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest. The pain also may occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to an area of your heart muscle is completely blocked. This prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching that area of heart muscle and causes it to die. Without quick treatment, a heart attack can lead to serious problems and even death.

Over time, CAD can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure and irregular heartbeats. Heart failure is a condition in which your heart can't pump enough blood throughout your body. Irregular heartbeats are problems with the speed or rhythm of your heartbeat.

Helpful Documents

View and print these helpful coronary artery disease handouts

CAD: Topic Overview
Coronary Artery Disease: Exercising for a Healthy Heart
Healthy Eating: Heart-Healthy Fats
Healthy Eating: Eating Heart-Healthy Foods
Healthy Eating: Overcoming Barriers to Change
Heart Attack and Stroke in Women: Reducing Your Risk
Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
Heart Health: Walking for a Healthy Heart
Heart Medicines: Statins
Heart Medicines: Beta-Blockers
High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet
Coronary Artery Disease: Lifestyle Changes To Lower Heart Attack Risk
Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
CAD ACE Inhibitors and ARBS
CAD Angina
CAD Angioplasty
CAD Antiplatelet Treatment
CAD Breathing Problems Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
CAD Cardiac Rehab: How It Can Help
CAD Coronary Angiogram
CAD Quick Tips Taking Care of your Angina
CAD Quick Tips Taking Medications Wisely
CAD Quitting Smoking