Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as coronary heart disease, is the most common type of heart disease in the United States. The condition occurs when there is a buildup of substances in the walls of the arteries. It is a serious disease that if left untreated, can lead to heart damage and heart attack. There are a variety of effective treatments available which will depend on symptoms and the severity of the condition. You can find out more here.
What Is Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease is caused when plaque, which is made up of substances such as cholesterol and fat deposits, builds up in the inner walls of the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. A buildup of plaque causes the arteries to narrow which can block the flow of blood to the heart and other parts of the body. This can lead to symptoms such as chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath. If there is a complete blockage of blood flow, it can result in a heart attack. Over time, coronary artery disease can weaken the heart which may lead to heart failure.
Coronary artery disease doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms and in many cases, a heart attack is the first clue that someone has the condition. Anyone can develop the condition, but factors that can contribute to CAD include smoking, unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and being overweight or obese. Coronary heart disease can also run in families. Your primary care provider can assess your risk for CAD by measuring your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.
How Is Coronary Artery Disease Treated?
If you have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, treatment will depend on your symptoms and the severity of the condition. Your cardiologist may recommend a range of treatments to help lower your risk for heart attack or worsening heart disease. The best treatments include:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly help to keep the heart strong and the arteries clear of plaque. This includes:
- Eating a healthier diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and oily fish and limiting your intake of salt, saturated fats, cholesterol, and alcohol.
- Getting regular physical exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- It is stopping smoking.
There are a range of medications that work in different ways to help treat coronary artery disease or to treat the risk factors associated with CAD, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or an irregular heartbeat. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine the most effective treatment based on your diagnosis. The most common medications include:
- Cholesterol medications, such as statins, – are used to help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol and to reduce the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
- Aspirin –sometimes used to thin the blood and prevent blood clots (helping to prevent heart attack and stroke).
- Blood pressure medications, such as diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, or calcium channel blockers. These medications can help to reduce blood pressure, remove sodium from the body, slow the heart rate, reduce symptoms (such as chest pain), or reduce the risk of heart attack in the future.
- Medications such as nitroglycerin or ranolazine, help to widen and relax heart arteries (to improve blood flow) and relieve chest pain (angina).
Surgeries and Other Procedures
In some cases, surgery is necessary to help restore blood flow to the heart. The most common procedures include:
Coronary Angioplasty (Balloon PTCA) and Stent Placement
This surgery is done to open blocked coronary arteries. It involves inserting a catheter into the narrowed part of the artery, then inflating a tiny balloon to help widen it and improve blood flow. During the procedure, a stent may also be inserted to help keep the artery open.
This is a procedure to remove plaque from an artery to allow the blood to flow more freely to the heart.
This procedure treats a narrowed or blocked artery. It delivers radiation into a coronary artery to prevent it from narrowing again. It may be recommended to people that have had difficulties with stents.
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG)
This is a surgery that involves taking a blood vessel from another part of the body (usually the leg) to reroute the blood around a blocked or narrowed artery. This helps to restore the blood flow to the heart by creating a new path for the blood to travel.
Coronary Artery Disease Treatment near me in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
If you have CAD or are at greater risk of developing the disease, visit the highly qualified cardiologists at Intercoastal Medical Group for expert care. We offer a full range of the most advanced interventional and traditional treatment programs available to successfully manage your condition. We also offer high cholesterol treatment near you.
Intercoastal Medical Group provides comprehensive healthcare services to help keep you in the best health possible. To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist or learn more about our services, visit us at our Beneva Cardiology office in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch II office in Bradenton, or Cattleridge Medical Building II in Sarasota, or use our convenient link to schedule an appointment. We look forward to treating you!