You may be living with Coronary Artery Disease and not even know it.
According the the CDC, it is the most common type of heart disease in the United States.
In severe cases, the symptoms are very noticeable but for many people you can have coronary artery disease and not have any symptoms – especially if it is in its early stages.
Before we talk about the symptoms first you need to know what coronary artery disease is and how it affects your heart.
Your heart is fed by its own blood circulation by three major coronary arteries. It acts as a pumping machine responsible for carrying blood and oxygen to all of your vital organs and throughout your body.
Your bloodstream carries fatty acids and low-density lipoproteins or LDL cholesterol. Since fat and cholesterol cannot be broken down in water or blood they simply go with the flow – literally.
Fats provide and store energy and cholesterol is the starting point to make estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D, and other substances that help you digest food.
What is Coronary Artery Disease?
When too much fat and LDL cholesterol is present in your bloodstream, deposits can form within the walls of your coronary arteries (and other arteries throughout your body).
These deposits are called atheromatous plaque. Some plaques can enlarge to the point they disrupt the blood flow. And when the plaque ruptures or breaks apart it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
When you eat a diet high in fat or cholesterol you have a greater chance at getting coronary artery disease.
Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
- Chest pain during exertion
- Chest pain at rest
- Shortness of breath
- Strange feeling in the chest, neck or jaw
If you suspect you have this potentially life-threatening disease you should see a preventive cardiologist to seek treatment.
You cardiologist will likely suggest changes to your lifestyle with include eating a healthier diet, exercise, weight loss, smoking cessation, stress management and medication therapy.
If you have advanced coronary artery disease you may need more serious treatment including angioplasty, coronary artery bypass grafting or cardiac rehabilitation.
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