Coronary artery disease among one of the leading killer diseases globally. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is also among the most known heart complications affecting both men and women. Coronary artery disease is a result of deposition of materials called plaque in the inner walls of blood vessels supplying blood to the heart. Cholesterol is the most common plaque material that builds up in the arteries. Tar from tobacco is also deposited in the inner walls of the blood vessels. Atherosclerosis is the scientific term used to refer to the process by which plaque is a buildup in the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart muscles. The accumulation of materials in the arteries is a slow process, and Coronary artery disease can strike over a decade. When plaque builds up, the circumference of the arteries is narrowed reducing the amount of blood flowing through the heart muscles significantly.
Coronary arteries have the responsibility of supplying oxygen to heart muscles. When the volume of blood flowing through the coronary arteries is reduced, the amount of oxygen provided to the heart is decreased especially during physical strain. At first, the decrease in oxygen supply may not cause any signs of Coronary artery disease. However, the following signs and symptoms could be developed over time. Chest pains (angina) are the most common symptom experienced. Angina is the pain and pressure felt in the middle parts of the chest, especially after physical strain and emotional stress. The pain is usually fleeting, especially in women, but it fades away after some minutes. Shortness of breath is another symptom experienced as the heart fails to meet the body’s need for blood supply. A heart attack is the last of the symptoms experienced, and it is caused by a completely blocked coronary artery. The classic signs of a heart attack include severe crushing pressure and pain in the shoulder, arms and chest area, sometimes with extreme fatigue with exertion (Montalescot, 2013).
The following are some of the factors known to cause Coronary artery disease. Smoking is one major factor as tar from tobacco is deposited in the blood vessel. High blood pressure and diabetes are also health factors associated with the occurrence of coronary artery disease. Sedentary lifestyle and poor diet results in obesity and high cholesterol levels. These two factors are also associated with the presence of narrowed blood vessels. Apart from the causative factors, other conditions increase the probability of developing Coronary artery disease. Age is one of the risk factors where the old are merely at a higher risk of having narrowed arteries. Gender also determines the probability of developing CAD where men are at a higher risk compared to women. Family history also comes out as another risk factor. Members of a family with a history of heart disease have a high chance of developing coronary artery complications. Uncontrolled blood pressure also results in the thickening of arteries increasing the probability of Coronary artery disease. Diabetes (especially type 2) has the same risk factors as coronary artery disease and the occurrence of diabetes increases the chances of developing CAD. High stress, physical inactivity, and being overweight are also some risk factors associated with Coronary artery disease. Sometimes Coronary artery disease develops due to other factors that are not associated with the lifestyle. Sleep apnea, high sensitivity C-reactive protein, high triglycerides, and homocysteine are some examples of such risks (Montalescot, 2013).
A healthy lifestyle can be used to prevent the growth of Coronary artery disease in the first place. Individuals are encouraged to be physically active by regularly exercising. Individuals are also encouraged to quit smoking and manage stress. To prevent Coronary artery disease individuals experiencing health complications such as diabetes, high cholesterol levels, and obesity are urged to make sure the complexities are maintained under control. Proper nutrition also helps curb Coronary artery disease. Consumption of a low-fat and low-salt diet that is rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is encouraged by pediatrics as a measure of preventing Coronary artery disease.
Montalescot, G., Sechtem, U., Achenbach, S., Andreotti, F., Arden, C., Budaj, A., … & Ferreira, J. R. (2013). 2013 ESC guidelines on the management of stable coronary artery disease: the Task Force on the management of stable coronary artery disease of the European Society of Cardiology. European heart journal, 34(38), 2949-3003.