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Home >> Specialities >> Cardiology >> Understanding Coronary Artery Disease

Understanding Coronary Artery Disease

Understanding Coronary Artery Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a prevalent and potentially life-threatening cardiovascular condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Sanar Hospital is committed to providing comprehensive information about CAD to raise awareness and ensure patients receive the best care possible. This article will delve into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for CAD.

Causes of Coronary Artery Disease
CAD occurs when the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle, become narrowed or blocked. The primary cause of CAD is atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the accumulation of plaque within these arteries. Plaque consists of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances that gradually build up over time. As plaque accumulates, it can narrow the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart.

Risk factors for CAD include:

  • Smoking: Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for CAD as it damages blood vessels, lowers HDL (good) cholesterol, and increases the risk of blood clots.
  • High Blood Pressure: Uncontrolled hypertension puts added stress on the heart and arteries, increasing the risk of CAD.
  • High Cholesterol: Elevated levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol can contribute to plaque buildup.
  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of CAD due to blood vessel damage and elevated blood sugar levels.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight, especially abdominal fat, increases the risk of CAD.
  • Physical Inactivity: A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity and other risk factors for CAD.
  • Family History: A family history of CAD increases the likelihood of developing the condition.
  • Age and Gender: As individuals age, the risk of CAD increases. Men are more likely to develop CAD at a younger age, while women's risk rises after menopause.

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
CAD often progresses without noticeable symptoms, a condition known as silent CAD. However, when symptoms do occur, they can be severe and life-threatening. Common symptoms include:

  • Angina: Chest pain or discomfort, often described as a squeezing or pressure-like sensation, which may radiate to the arms, neck, jaw, or back.
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity or when lying down.
  • Fatigue: Unexplained and persistent fatigue, even after resting.
  • Palpitations: Irregular heartbeat or a feeling of rapid, strong, or irregular heartbeats.
  • Dizziness or Fainting: These symptoms can occur if the heart isn't pumping enough blood to meet the body's needs.

Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease
Early diagnosis of CAD is crucial for effective management. Sanar Hospital employs a range of diagnostic tools, including:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): This records the heart's electrical activity, helping to identify irregularities.
  • Stress Tests: These tests assess the heart's performance under physical stress, either through exercise or medication.
  • Echocardiography: This uses sound waves to create images of the heart's structure and function.
  • Coronary Angiography: A contrast dye is injected into the coronary arteries, allowing X-ray imaging to identify blockages.
  • CT Angiography (CTA) or MRI: These non-invasive imaging techniques provide detailed images of the heart and blood vessels.

Treatment Options for Coronary Artery Disease
We offer a range of treatment options tailored to each patient's needs. Treatment may involve lifestyle modifications, medications, or invasive procedures.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Patients are encouraged to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, smoking cessation, and stress management.
  • Medications: Various medications can help manage CAD, including antiplatelet drugs, statins, beta-blockers, and nitroglycerin to relieve angina symptoms.
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI): Commonly known as angioplasty, this procedure involves opening blocked arteries using a balloon-like device and placing a stent to keep the artery open.
  • Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG): This surgery involves creating bypasses using blood vessels from other parts of the body to reroute blood around blocked coronary arteries.
  • Lifestyle Counseling: Sanar Hospital provides guidance on diet, exercise, and stress management to help patients make lasting lifestyle changes.

Coronary Artery Disease is a serious condition that requires timely diagnosis and treatment. At Sanar Hospital, our dedicated healthcare professionals are committed to providing comprehensive care for CAD patients, ranging from prevention strategies to advanced interventions. By raising awareness and offering the latest treatments, we aim to improve the quality of life for those affected by CAD and reduce its impact on our community. Early detection, lifestyle modifications, and personalized treatment plans are the keys to managing CAD and enjoying a heart-healthy life.

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