Coronary artery disease (CAD) causes impaired blood flow in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Also called coronary heart disease (CHD), CAD is the most common form of heart disease and affects approximately 16.5 million Americans over the age of 20.

It’s also the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It’s estimated that every 36 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.

A heart attack can come from uncontrolled CAD.

When your heart doesn’t get enough arterial blood, you may experience a variety of symptoms. Angina (chest discomfort) is the most common symptom of CAD. Some people describe this discomfort as:

These symptoms can also be mistaken for heartburn or indigestion.

Other symptoms of the computer aided design are listed.

You may experience more symptoms when your blood flow is more restricted. If a blockage cuts off blood flow completely or almost completely, your heart muscle will start to die if not restored. This is a heart attack.

“If they are long lasting, don’t ignore them. Immediate medical treatment is needed.”

Symptoms of CAD for women

Women are more likely to have the same symptoms.

Men have a higher risk of developing heart disease than women, however.

Your heart may also be affected by decreased blood flow.

  • Become weak.
  • develop abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) or rates
  • Your body needs blood.

Your doctor will detect these heart problems.

The most common cause of CAD is a vascular injury with cholesterol plaque buildup in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. Reduced blood flow occurs when one or more of these arteries becomes partially or completely blocked.

Other rare causes of damage or blockage to a coronary artery also limit blood flow to the heart.

Understanding the risk factors for CAD can help with your plan to prevent or decrease the likelihood of developing the disease.

Risk factors include:

The risk for CAD also increases with age. Based on age alone as a risk factor, men have a greater risk for the disease beginning at age 45 and women have a greater risk beginning at age 55. The risk for coronary artery disease is also higher if you have a family history of the disease.

Diagnosing CAD requires a review of your medical history, a physical examination, and other medical testing. These tests include:

  • Electrocardiogram: This test monitors electrical signals that travel through your heart. It may help your doctor determine whether you’ve had a heart attack.
  • Echocardiogram: This imaging test uses ultrasound waves to create a picture of your heart. The results of this test reveal whether certain things in your heart are functioning properly.
  • Stress test: This particular test measures the stress on your heart during physical activity and while at rest. The test monitors your heart’s electrical activity while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. Nuclear imaging or echocardiographic imaging may also be performed for a portion of this test. For those unable to perform physical exercise, certain medications can be used instead for stress testing.
  • Cardiac catheterization (left heart catheterization): During this procedure, your doctor injects a special dye into your coronary arteries through a catheter inserted through an artery in your groin or wrist. The dye helps enhance the radiographic image of your coronary arteries to identify any blockages.
  • Heart CT scan: Your doctor may use this imaging test to check for calcium deposits in your arteries.

“The four primary arteries are located on the heart’s surface.”

These arteries bring oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your heart. Your heart is a muscle that’s responsible for pumping blood throughout your body and needs oxygen all the time. A healthy heart moves approximately 3,000 gallons of blood through your body every day.

Your heart needs an adequate supply of blood in order to function. Symptoms of the disease can be caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.

If you are diagnosed with a heart attack or stroke, it is important to reduce or control your risk factors.

Treatment also depends on your current health condition, risk factors, and overall wellbeing. For example, your doctor may prescribe medication therapy to treat high cholesterol or high blood pressure., or you may receive medication to control blood sugar if you have diabetes.

The most common treatment for CAD is medication. You can learn more here.

Changes to lifestyle can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. For example:

“If your condition doesn’t improve with lifestyle changes and medication, your doctor may recommend a procedure to increase blood flow to your heart. These procedures may be different.”

Everyone’s outlook for CAD is different. You have better chances of preventing extensive damage to your heart the earlier you can start your treatment or implement lifestyle changes.

It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions. Take medications as directed and make the recommended lifestyle changes. If you have a higher risk for CAD, you can help to prevent the disease by reducing your risk factors.