As a person ages, fatty deposits and scar tissue form plaque that clings to the inside of the arteries. This makes them narrower and lets less blood flow through. Without enough oxygen, the heart muscle becomes strained. This is especially so when a person is emotionally stressed or involved in physical activity.
In addition, blood clots sometimes form. They can become attached to the plaque deposits. This blocks the arteries bringing oxygen to the heart even more.
Eating healthy, exercising, keeping your weight down, controlling your blood pressure and quitting smoking are all essential to preventing this condition that causes narrowing of the arteries and increases the risk of heart attack.
Prevention of coronary artery disease involves modifying atherosclerosis risk factors:
- Smoking cessation
- Weight loss
- Healthful diet
- Regular exercise
- Modification of serum lipid levels
- Reduction of salt intake
- Control of hypertension and diabetes
In its early stages, coronary artery disease may have little to no symptoms, though some people experience fatigue, chest pain or shortness of breath. The most common symptom of coronary artery disease is angina (also called angina pectoris). Angina is often referred to as chest pain. It is also described as chest discomfort, heaviness, tightness, pressure, aching, burning, numbness, fullness, or squeezing. It can be mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. Angina is usually felt in the chest, but may also be felt in the left shoulder, arms, neck, back or jaw.
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Medical Therapy including antiplatelet drugs, lipid-lowering drugs eg, statins), and beta-blockers
- Percutaneous coronary intervention
- For acute thrombosis, sometimes fibrinolytic drugs
- Coronary artery bypass grafting
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