Acute Coronary Disease | Risk Factors + Symptoms + Diagnosis +Treatment

With the increase of medical conditions amongst the younger population groups, adaption of sedentary lifestyles and the increase of tobacco and alcohol consumption, conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and dyslipidemia have become far more common leading to more individuals becoming susceptible to developing coronary artery disease.

If no preventable action is taken, this can lead to angina, heart attacks, dysrhythmia, heart failure, cardiogenic shock and sudden cardiac arrest.

So today we will discuss:

1. What is CAD?
2. 4 coronary arteries
3. What happens to the arteries in CAD?
4. How’s does plaque build up in the arteries?
5. Who is at risk?
6. Clinical Presentation
7. What should you do if you have symptoms?
8. Diagnosis
9. Treatment
10. Prevention
11. Can CAD be cured?

Coronary artery disease is a narrowing or blockage of your coronary arteries usually caused by the buildup of fatty material called plaque. Coronary artery disease is also called coronary heart disease, ischemic heart disease and heart disease.

The 4 main arteries are:

The right coronary artery.

The left coronary artery.

The left anterior descending artery.

The left circumflex artery.

Coronary artery disease is caused by arteriosclerosis. Plaque consists of cholesterol, fatty substances, waste products, calcium and the clot-making substance fibrin.

Risk factors:
Have a high cholesterol  level (especially a high LDL “bad” cholesterol level and a low HDL “good” cholesterol level).

Have high blood pressure

Family history of heart disease.

Have diabetes.

Are a smoker.

Are a man over 45 years of age or a post-menopausal woman.

Are overweight.

Are physically inactive.

Are Black, Mexican American, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Asian American. The increased risks are caused by higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes in these populations.

Symptoms resemble a heart attack:

Chest discomfort (angina) described as heaviness, tightness, pressure, aching, burning, numbness, fullness, squeezing or a dull ache. The discomfort can also spread to or only be felt in your left shoulder, arms, neck, back or jaw.

Feeling tired.

Dizziness, lightheadedness.



Diagnostic tests include EKG, exercise and pharmacological stress test, echocardiogram, coronary calcium scan, nuclear scan, cardiac catheterization.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes (stop smoking, manage health conditions, eat Mediterranean and Dash diets), medication (reduce cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stop angina), surgical (balloon angioplasty, coronary artery bypass graft, enhanced external counterpulsation)
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