Coronary artery disease (CAD) is where the coronary arteries are obstructed by atherosclerosis (plaque formed due to high amounts of cholesterol). It is also often referred to as Coronary Heart Disease.
It is one of the most common heart problems and is a leading cause of heart attacks. The condition refers to supplying blood to the heart wholly or partly blocked by fatty deposits, making it difficult to supply oxygen.
This buildup can cause pain, create angina (chest pains), cause heart attacks, and even result in death. Coronary artery disease is rare in people under 40, but as we age, it becomes more and more common.
Coronary Artery Disease and Recent Statistics
The most common cause of death in the U.S. and throughout the world is coronary artery disease (CAD).
The number of adults in the United States with coronary artery disease has grown to over 18 million. The population is about the same as the combined populations of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.
As of 2019, coronary artery disease has killed 360,900 Americans in the United States. In 2020, there were 382,820 deaths reported.
A total of 20.1 million adults in the US live with CAD (around 7.2%). Approximately two out of ten deaths resulting from CAD will occur in adults under 65 in 2020. This data shows how unaware we are about CAD worldwide and how bad lifestyle we’ve pursued.
Symptoms Of Coronary Artery Disease
There may be no symptoms of coronary artery disease for a long time. The process of plaque buildup can take many years, even decades. Your arteries may narrow, however, as time goes on, and you may begin to experience mild symptoms.
As a result of these symptoms, your heart is pumping harder to supply oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body. The most common symptom of CAD is angina, or chest pain and discomfort. Plaque buildup inside arteries can cause angina. Some other symptoms are:
- Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Heart palpitations.
- Vomiting, nausea, or stomach discomfort. Indigestion may be felt as a result of this.
- Lack of strength.
There is a possibility that CAD may cause a heart attack as the first symptom. So the symptoms of a heart attack can be symptoms of CAD too. If you experience any of the symptoms for a longer period, it is better to discuss with your doctor about your health condition.
Risk Factors Of Coronary Artery Disease
Several factors can cause coronary artery disease (CAD). It’s not possible for you to control all of them. Some of these disorders can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medications.
Others may not be as controllable. Discuss your risk factors and how you can manage them with your healthcare provider if you have any questions. The risk factors of CAD are –
Getting older increases your risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD). After the age of 45, men and people who are AMAB are at a higher risk of developing cancer. The risk of cardiovascular disease increases after the age of 55 for both women and people with AFAB. Young people with good lifestyles and health are usually not seen developing CAD.
Family history may play a role in developing heart diseases like CAD. In addition, if both of your parents have suffered from heart disease before the age of 55, it is also likely that you are going to be at a higher risk of developing heart disease before the age of 55.
You are more likely to develop heart disease if a close family member has it. A heart disease diagnosis at your father’s or brother’s age before age 55 or your mother’s or sister’s age before age 65 increases your risk further.
Overweight and Stress
Being overweight increases the risk of heart diseases like CAD. Stressing regularly may also trigger your heart health. BMI counting can help you to ensure your risk. Diabetes type 2 and hypertension can be caused by obesity. Not controlling weight can increase the risk of heart diseases like CAD.
High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Diabetes
High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, and High Cholesterol significantly increase the risk of CAD in both men and women. Patients who are already affected by these diseases and do not try to control them are at a high risk of getting affected by CAD. Patients with these three diseases had to take care of themselves with higher priority to protect him/herself from CAD.
Prevention Of Coronary Artery Disease
The key to preventing coronary artery disease is largely to control the risk factors that contribute to it. No matter how late it is in your life, you can still affect change, and the earlier you do that, the greater your future advantage.
Necessary steps to take from today-
Modify Food Habits
Many foods with high levels of fat and cholesterol will increase your chances of getting heart disease if consumed in large quantities. High saturated fat and refined carbohydrates should be avoided mostly.
Please consult your doctor or nutritionist for further information regarding this matter. You need to have a proper diet plan of what foods you can consume. Take foods that protect your heart and make it healthy,
Get Physically Active
Ideally, you should aim for at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate exercise per week or at least 75 minutes (1.25 hours) of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. Make a weekly or monthly exercise plan and include this as a daily goal. Or you can try to be active for 30 minutes daily, most days of the week, to maintain a healthy weight.
Note: You must consult your doctor before starting a new workout program if you have never worked out before. Even if you have worked out before, it is recommended that you contact your doctor if you are a risk of CAD.
It has been identified that smoking is one of the key factors that increase the risk of having a heart attack. Make sure that you stay away from secondhand smoke as well. If your family member is a chain smoker but wants to quit, take him to rehab or contact the doctor and support him to quit.
Maintain Stress and Weight
Being overweight increases the risk of CAD and heart attack. Calculate your BMI and check if your BMI score is at a good level. If it is not, you must decrease the weight to prevent CAD.
Stress is also one of the silent killers of CAD and heart diseases. Lowering stress will help and assist you a lot. If you cannot control stress, it is recommended that you seek professional help. Psychiatrists and counseling may be needed if you are going through serious trauma.
FAQ Coronary Artery Diseases
Q: Can you tell me the three main risk factors for coronary artery disease?
Ans: Smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Q: In the case of coronary artery disease, what are the things you cannot do?
Ans: You can’t lead a random life. Patients need to have proper guidelines for a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding high-sodium and high-fat foods are often recommended. Alcohol and smoking are also untouchable.
Q: How can coronary artery disease be detected early?
Ans: Chest pain and discomfort are the most common symptoms of CAD.
Q: Which age group is most likely to suffer coronary heart disease?
Ans: Compared with younger people, those 65 and older are much more likely to suffer a heart attack, have a stroke, or develop coronary heart disease (also called heart failure).
Q: Can coronary artery disease be cured?
Ans: There is no cure for coronary heart disease, but treatment can help manage symptoms and reduce the likelihood of problems such as heart attacks. Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and quitting smoking, can be included in treatment.