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Coronary Heart Disease: How People Can Develop It

    Coronary artery disease or CAD happens when plaque blocks the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart. As a result, the heart won’t get the oxygen it needs to function normally. Also, when the plaque breaks off, it can result in a heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke. CAD also results in other issues such as arrhythmias and heart failure. 

    How CAD Develop

    According to experts in coronary artery disease in Tomball, CAD begins with injury or damage to the coronary artery’s inner layer. Such damage can occur at a young age. Plaque can accumulate along the blood vessel walls when a person is young and build up as they get older. Because of this buildup, the walls get inflamed, increasing one’s risk of heart attacks and blood clots. 

    Due to the plaque, the blood vessels’ walls become sticky, making it possible for calcium, lipoproteins, and inflammatory cells to attach to the plaque. Another material that can build up is cholesterol, pushing the artery wall out and making it narrower. 

    CAD impacts both men and women. Factors such as age, poor diet, family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle increase one’s risk of developing CAD. 

    Diagnosing CAD

    A patient will undergo a physical exam during which their doctor will listen to their heart. Also, the doctor will discuss their symptoms, diet, family history, activity level, and medical conditions. Diagnosing CAD involves more than one test. If a doctor suspects that the patient has it, they may order other tests such as the following:

    • Electrocardiogram or EKG- This test monitors the beat and rhythm of the heart as well as tests the strength and timing of its electrical signals. 
    • Stress test- This test involves the patient being asked to exercise to provide their heart with a workout. Their body is connected to blood pressure, heart, and oxygen monitors that detect changes in their heart rate, electrical activity, rhythm, or blood pressure. 
    • Blood tests- These include testing for proteins, sugar, fats, and cholesterol tests for some conditions that increase the patient’s risk of CAD.
    • Chest X-rays- This test is focused on the heart area to detect signs of heart failure.

    Treatment for CAD

    CAD sufferers usually take medications such as calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, and nitrates to relieve angina. Also, they may take aspirin to minimize the chances of a second heart attack if they had it before. Doctors may prescribe angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors to lower blood pressure and decrease heart workload.  For some patients, angioplasty or heart bypass surgery may be necessary to treat their CAD.