Coronary artery disease(CAD): Symptoms, Cause, Risk factor and Complications

Coronary artery disease comes under cardiovascular diseases(CVD). CAD is also known as ischemic heart disease (IHD).

Updated: August 18, 2020

Coronary artery disease comes under cardiovascular diseases(CVD). CAD is also known as ischemic heart disease (IHD). CAD  is a group of diseases that includes:

  • Stable angina
  • Unstable angina
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Sudden cardiac death

The feeling of chest pain, pressure, or squeezing is known as angina. This happens due to not enough blood flow to the heart muscle as a result of obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries.

Angina that changes in intensity, character, or frequency is termed unstable. Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow is severely reduced or stops to a part of the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle.


Symptoms of CAD:

Symptoms of CAD include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck or jaw
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat


Causes of Coronary Artery Disease Develop:

The fatty deposits called plaque which is made of cholesterol and other cellular waste products start to go into your blood vessel walls as you grow older. The plaque makes the inner walls of your blood vessels sticky. Also, the inflammatory cells, lipoproteins, and calcium travel in your bloodstream and mix with the plaque. As more of these inflammatory cells are accumulated along with cholesterol, the plaque increases, both pushing the artery walls outward and growing inward which makes the vessels narrower.

The accumulation of plaque and other cellular waste products is known as atherosclerosis. If the surface of the plaque breaks or ruptures, blood cells called platelets will clump at the site trying to repair the artery. This clump can block the artery leading to a heart attack.


Risk Factors of CAD:

Coronary artery disease has a number of risk factors which include smoking, family history, age, gender, obesity, lack of exercise, diabetes, stress, hypertension, and high blood lipids. Usually, a combination of risk factors is associated for developing CAD rather than just one. For example, obesity will leaded to type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure which can raise the risk of coronary artery disease.

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes elevated blood pressure, high triglycerides, high insulin levels, and excess body fat around the waist which increases the risk of coronary artery diseaseSometimes coronary artery disease develops without any common risk factors such as:

Sleep apnea:

Sleep apnea interrupts your sleep by repeatedly stopping and starting breathing while you are sleeping. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system leading to coronary artery disease.

High sensitivity C-reactive protein:

High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a normal protein that raises when there is inflammation in your body. As coronary arteries narrow, you will have more hs-CRP in your blood. High hs-CRP levels are a risk factor for heart disease.

High Homocysteine:

Homocysteine is an amino acid your body uses to make protein and to build and maintain tissue. High levels of homocysteine may increase your risk of coronary artery disease.

High triglycerides:

This is a kind of lipid in your blood. High levels of triglycerides may increase the risk of coronary artery disease, especially for women.


Complications of CAD:

Complications of coronary artery disease include:

Angina:

The feeling of chest pain, pressure, or squeezing is known as angina. This happens due to not enough blood flow to the heart muscle particularly during physical activity as a result of obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries.

Heart attack:

If a plaque ruptures and a blood clot forms, your heart artery may complete blocked. The lack of blood flow to your heart may damage your heart muscle leading to a heart attack.

Heart failure:

If some parts of your heart are severely deprived of oxygen and nutrients because of reduced blood flow, or if your heart has been damaged by a heart attack, your heart may become too weak to pump enough blood to meet your body's requirements. This condition is known as heart failure causing the death of the person.

Arrhythmia:

Insufficient blood supply to the heart or damage to heart tissue can interfere with your heart's electrical impulses, causing abnormal heart rhythms.


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