At Riverview Cardiac Surgery, we reguarly answer the question what is coronary artery disease and how is it treated. When your coronary arteries, the major blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, become damaged or diseased, coronary artery disease develops.
These essential blood vessels usually become damaged from plaque that forms on the arteries. Plaque narrows the passageway for blood to reach the heart causing your heart to receive less blood, oxygen and nutrition.
The severity can range from reduced blood flow to a total blockage. The latter is a very serious condition and almost always results in a heart attack.
In most cases, coronary artery disease is a condition that takes time to develop and the decreased blood flow may not cause any symptoms. In fact, many patients don’t experience any symptoms at all prior to having a heart attack.
As the disease worsens, you may experience symptoms, including:
If you suspect you’re having a heart attack – Call 911 immediately.
As stated above, coronary artery disease is caused when your coronary arteries are damaged and the heart’s blood supply is reduced or blocked. When the wall of an artery is damaged, plaque and blood cells tend to accumulate at the site of the injury to try and repair it. This clump can narrow or even block the artery leading to a heart attack.
Some common factors thought to contribute to coronary artery disease are:
In addition to taking a complete medical history, Riverview Cardiac Surgery will do a complete physical exam and order blood work. In addition, your doctor may recommend one or several of the following tests to reach a firm diagnosis:
Once you’ve been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, your doctor will usually recommend a combination of lifestyle changes, drugs and medical procedures to treat your condition.