Blocked arteries, clogged arteries, artery disease-no matter what you call it, coronary artery disease is a major concern for your heart's health. But how much do you know about coronary artery disease and the available treatments? Understanding the condition better will help you have meaningful conversations with your doctor and alleviate some of the stress that comes with a diagnosis. When you're an informed participant of your own care team, you can develop a treatment plan together.
Watch this video to understand coronary artery disease and risk factors:
About Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease, and happens because of a buildup of fatty deposits called plaque in your arteries. When your arteries become blocked, it's harder for them to carry blood to your heart. Coronary artery disease also is a cause of heart attacks.2
A common misconception is that only men get coronary artery disease. It's true that men are at greater risk. But coronary artery disease is a leading cause of death for women, too. Once a woman reaches menopause, her risk increases.1 Aging in general is a risk factor for both men and women.1
Coronary Artery Disease Symptoms May Include:2
- Chest pain (also called angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Heaviness in the chest
- Pain in the jaw or down the arms
- Heavy sweating
Controlling Your Risk for Coronary Artery Disease
If coronary artery disease runs in your family, your own risk is higher.3
- Did your father or brother have heart disease before age 55?
- Did your mother or sister have it before age 65?
Bring this up with your doctor. You can't control family history. But you can use the information to get the treatment you need.
Other risk factors for coronary artery disease include:2,3
- Being overweight
- Lack of physical activity
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Fortunately-unlike age and family history, you can take control of these coronary artery disease risk factors. Sometimes doing so requires planning with a care team.
Coronary Artery Disease Treatment Options
Treatment for coronary artery disease usually starts with lifestyle changes4 and medications that improve blood flow to the heart. Some people may be candidates for permanent stents.
Stents open up and support the artery and allow restoration of blood flow. Angioplasty is a "minimally invasive" procedure to implant a coronary stent. Most patients go home the very next day, allowing you to look forward to a future with renewed possibilities.
Watch this video to learn about coronary artery disease treatment options: