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Coronary Artery Disease

The Silent Threat: A Closer Look at Coronary Artery Disease

Welcome to Manhattan Medical Arts blog, where we dive deep into the realm of cardiovascular health, with the objective to guide and support you all in your journey towards a healthy life.

In this edition, we‘ve turned our attention to a silent threat that affects millions of people all over the United States: Coronary Artery Disease. Often lurking in the shadows, this insidious condition is reported to have a profound impact on one’s well-being.

Join us as we take a closer look at the causes, risks, symptoms, complications, diagnosis, and mortality rate for this silent but deadly “Coronary Artery Disease”.

Together, let’s shed light on this in detail and empower ourselves with enough knowledge to be able to safeguard our cardiovascular health.

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What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), also known as Ischemic Heart Disease is a prevalent and serious condition that affects the heart’s blood vessels. It occurs when the coronary arteries, responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle, become narrow or blocked due to the buildup of plaque. This buildup, consisting of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances, restricts blood flow and can lead to various complications.

As a result, the heart may not receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients, leading to symptoms such as chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, and in severe cases, heart attacks. Understanding the basics of Coronary Artery Disease is essential for recognizing the risks, taking preventive measures, and seeking timely medical care.

The Most Common Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

The most common symptoms of Ischemic Heart Disease include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort (angina) – characterized by pressure, tightness, or squeezing sensation in the chest
  • Radiating pain to the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath, particularly during physical exertion or stress
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Increased risk of heart attacks

Recognizing these symptoms is crucial for early detection and timely medical intervention. If you experience any of these symptoms or suspect you may have Coronary Artery Disease, it is important to consult our experts at Manhattan Medical Arts for proper evaluation and management.

Risk Factors of Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) can affect individuals from all walks of life, but certain risk factors can significantly increase the likelihood of developing this condition. By understanding these risk factors, we can take proactive steps to reduce our chances of developing Ischemic Heart Disease and improve our cardiovascular health overall.

Some of the key risk factors of Coronary Artery Disease include:

  • Age: Advancing age increases the risk, with CAD being more common in individuals over the age of 65.
  • Family History: Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with CAD puts you at a higher risk.
  • High Blood Pressure: Uncontrolled hypertension can damage the arteries, making them more susceptible to plaque buildup.
  • High Cholesterol Levels: Elevated levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduced levels of HDL (good) cholesterol contribute to the formation of plaque.
  • Smoking: Tobacco use damages blood vessels, reduces oxygen supply, and accelerates the progression of CAD.
  • Obesity and Sedentary Lifestyle: Being overweight or inactive increases the risk of CAD and other cardiovascular conditions.
  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing CAD due to elevated blood sugar levels damaging blood vessels.
  • Unhealthy Diet: Consuming a diet high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and processed foods increases the risk of CAD.
  • Stress: Chronic stress and unhealthy coping mechanisms can contribute to the development of CAD.
  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions: Conditions such as chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, and autoimmune disorders may increase the risk of CAD.

How is Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosed?

Diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) involves a combination of medical evaluations, diagnostic tests, and assessments. Healthcare professionals utilize various methods to accurately diagnose Ischemic Heart Disease and determine the extent of its impact on an individual’s cardiovascular health.

Here are some common approaches used in diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease:

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Healthcare providers gather detailed information about the patient’s medical history, including risk factors, symptoms, and lifestyle habits. A physical examination may also be conducted to assess vital signs and detect any visible signs of CAD.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG): This non-invasive test measures the electrical activity of the heart. It helps identify abnormal heart rhythms, detect signs of previous heart attacks, and assess the overall heart function.
  • Stress Tests: Stress tests evaluate how the heart performs during physical exertion. These tests may involve exercising on a treadmill or receiving medication to mimic the effects of exercise. They help identify any abnormal changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG patterns that may indicate CAD.
  • Cardiac Catheterization and Angiogram: This invasive procedure involves the insertion of a catheter into the heart to assess the blood flow and detect any blockages or narrowing in the coronary arteries. A contrast dye is used to visualize the arteries in an angiogram, providing detailed images for diagnosis.
  • Imaging Tests: Imaging techniques like echocardiography, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide detailed pictures of the heart, helping to identify structural abnormalities, assess heart function, and evaluate blood flow.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests may be conducted to measure certain markers, such as cholesterol levels, lipid profiles, and cardiac enzymes, which can indicate the presence of CAD or complications such as heart attacks.

The diagnostic process for Coronary Artery Disease is tailored to each individual’s specific circumstances. A comprehensive evaluation at Manhattan Medical Arts is essential for an accurate diagnosis.

What Are The Complications You Can Face with Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease can result in various complications, including:

  • Angina: When the coronary arteries narrow, the heart may not receive sufficient blood during periods of increased demand, such as during exercise. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath.
  • Heart attack: If a cholesterol plaque ruptures and triggers the formation of a blood clot, it can obstruct blood flow. This lack of blood supply can cause damage to the heart muscle, resulting in a heart attack. The extent of the damage depends on the promptness of treatment.
  • Heart failure: The narrowing of coronary arteries or high blood pressure can gradually weaken or stiffen the heart, impairing its ability to pump blood effectively. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump blood adequately to meet the body’s needs.
  • Arrhythmias: Insufficient blood supply to the heart can disrupt normal heart rhythm, leading to irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias. This can manifest as palpitations, lightheadedness, or fainting.

How Many People Are Affected by Coronary Artery Disease in The United States and New York State in Specific?

  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing approximately 382,820 people in the United States, every single year.
  • An estimated 7.3% of adults present in New York State reported they had angina/coronary heart disease in 2020.

What is The Mortality Rate of Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) alone accounts for approximately 610,000 deaths annually i.e. an estimated 1 in every 4 deaths – and has become the leading cause of mortality in the United States.

Conclusion

In conclusion, addressing Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is vital for maintaining cardiovascular health. By recognizing symptoms, understanding risk factors, and seeking appropriate care, individuals can proactively manage Coronary Heart Disease and reduce complications.

Lifestyle changes, early diagnosis, and medical intervention are key. Prioritize your heart health for a better future. Your heart matters—invest in its care for long-term well-being. Visit Manhattan Medical Arts today, for a comprehensive Heart Health Screening.

Disclaimer
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

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Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 05/22/2023

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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