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Coronary Artery Disease

CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE (CAD)

What is CAD?

Coronary artery disease occurs when plaque builds up within the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other material that deposits to varying degrees in the arteries to minimally, partially or completely block the arteries that the heart depends on to keep pumping normally. Coronary artery disease includes stable plaque that builds up gradually over time to cause symptoms and/or heart dysfunction, and unstable plaque that ruptures suddenly to cause a heart attack (damaging heart muscle).

What are the Signs/Symptoms of CAD?

Coronary artery disease may present with chest discomfort (angina), of which there are many variants (arm, neck, jaw, back discomfort). Some patients do not experience discomfort at all, but experience fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and/or sweating. Others may experience sudden death and/or no symptoms at all.

How is CAD Diagnosed?

Coronary artery disease is diagnosed by a combination of the patient’s history and testing including:

What is the Treatment for CAD?

Treatment for coronary artery disease is multi-faceted including risk factor modification such as controlling blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol with a diet/exercise and sometimes medicine. In cases of significant blockage, stents and/or bypass may be indicated in conjunction with risk factor management described above.