Coronary Artery Disease(CAD)
Welcome to our explanation (and links) for CAD. We hope it will help you prevent and understand heart disease a little better.
The heart is composed of four chambers: two upper chambers called atria and two lower chambers called ventricles. There are three main coronary arteries that branch into thousands of small arteries--like a tree trunk branches into limbs--bringing oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle cells. Coronary artery disease is a narrowing or blockage of these arteries and vessels.
CAD occurs when the arteries are blocked, or clogged. The blockage limits the flow of blood from the coronary arteries. These arteries expand when the heart is working harder (i.e., when a person is climbing stairs, exercising, or having sex). If the arteries cannot expand, the heart is deprrived of oxygen (myocardial ischemia). When the blockage is limited, chest pain or pressure called angina may occur. When the blockage cuts off the flow of blood, the result is a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
* * * *Causes & Symptoms:
CAD is usually caused by atherosclerosis--cholesterol and other fatty substances accumulate on the inner wall of the arteries and harden into plaques.
Major Risk Factors:
Heredity--People whose parents have cad are more likely to develop it --and, also African-Americans are at increased risk because they experience more severe hypertension (high blood pressure) than whites do.
Sex--Men are more like to have heart attacks at a younger age, over age 60, however, women have CAD at a rate equal to that of men.
Age--Men, who are 45 and older and women who are 55 and older are more likely to have CAD.
Major Risk Factors that can be changed:
Smoking --- High Cholesterol --- High blood pressure
Lack of Physical activity ---Diabetes melitus
Contributing Risk Factors:
Obesity --- Stress ---and Anger
Chest pain (angina) is the main symptom of coronary heart disease, but it is not always present. (This article was based on the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine.)
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Links to More on CAD:
Prevention of CAD
Links to Other Sites to Learn More:
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Last Modified on October 14, 2001
Please note: We are not medical doctors
nor are we in the healthcare field!
Whatever you read here, or at any website
should not be misconstrued as medical advice.
ONLY your doctor can prescribe what is best for you.