Coronary artery disease (CAD), often referred to as coronary heart disease (CHD) or ischaemic heart disease, develops when the body's main blood arteries that supply the heart struggle to supply adequate blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the cardiac muscle.
CAD typically develops from an accumulation of plaque in the arteries, which causes them to get inflamed. Plaque is made up of deposits of cholesterol and other materials. The blood flow might become partially or completely obstructed as the arteries gradually narrow as a result of plaque build-up. Atherosclerosis is the term used to describe this process.
Signs and symptoms
- Chest pain or pressure: Angina, or chest pain along with a feeling of heaviness or tightness in the chest, may also spread to the neck, back or arm
- Shortness of breath
- Heart attack: Typical indications of a heart attack include sweating, shortness of breath, shoulder or arm pain, and chest pain
Early symptoms might not appear since plaque build-up might take years or decades.
- Poor diet: Diet high in sugar, salt, trans fats, and saturated fats
- Family history: Having a close family member who experienced heart disease at an early age or a family history of the condition.
- Gender: Men are more likely to develop CAD than women, while women's risk rises after menopause.
- Obesity or overweight
- Older age
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Your cardiologist may advise you to have one or more of the following tests in addition to a physical examination:
- Electrocardiograph tests (EKG)
- Computed tomography angiogram (CTA)
- Exercise stress tests/ treadmill tests (TMT)
- Pharmacological stress test
- Blood tests (to measure cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, glucose, HbA1c, etc.)
- Cardiac catheterisation
- Coronary calcium scan
- Nuclear imaging
- Medications: Heart-related medications e.g., medications to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, medicines to manage angina and antiplatelet and anticoagulants to minimize blood clots
- Non-surgical procedures:g., balloon angioplasty and stenting
- Surgical procedures: e.g., coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)
Consider adopting these lifestyle alterations:
- Quit smoking or refrain from picking up the habit
- Make adjustments to your diet to manage conditions like high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- Keep a healthy weight
- Control and reduce stress
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Increase your level of physical activity and exercise
Visit your nearest Gleneagles Hospital to learn more about our Cardiology Services
- Coronary artery disease (CAD). Available at https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/coronary_ad.htm [Accessed on 29 April 2022]
- Coronary artery disease. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronary-artery-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350613?p=1 [Accessed on 29 April 2022]
- Coronary artery disease. Available at https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16898-coronary-artery-disease [Accessed on 29 April 2022]