Have you ever experienced an unbearable
pain in your chest that seems it will never end? If the answer is yes, you may
have coronary artery disease (CAD). This disease is the number one cause of
death in the United States in both men and women. With such astonishing
statistics the research of the disease is becoming extensive.
CAD is a disease in which the major
arteries of the heart become hardened and narrowed by the build up of
cholesterol or plaque. The build up of these materials is called
atherosclerosis. The cause of build up in the arteries could be from numerous
factors, but the most common being smoking and a fat filled diet. While people
normally believe smoking only damages the lungs it actually damages blood
vessels, raises cholesterol levels, and elevates blood pressure, all of which
are factors of atherosclerosis.
By blocking the flow of blood to the
heart could possibly cause angina, which is a squeezing type of chest pain or
discomfort. With the lack of normal blood flow over time, the heart begins to
weaken and not pump blood at a pace or way it should. With the weakening of the
heart muscle other effects such as irregular heartbeat an arrhythmia could
develop. The most invasive symptom being a heart attack, which is when the
blood flow from the coronary artery is severely reduced or completely blocked.
The anatomy of the heart consists of two
coronary arteries that branch from the aorta. They are hallow elastic tubes
that blood flows through to supply the rest of the heart. Both arteries supply
blood to the atrium, ventricles, and back portion of the septum.
As most people do not suspect a problem
until they experience severe symptoms, tests can be done to diagnosis the
disease. An electrocardiogram (ECG) records electric signals as they move
through the heart. This test can reveal a previous heart attack or one in
progress. Another example of one of the tests is a cardiac catheterization or
an angiogram. These go on to view the blood flow through your heart, in which they
notice narrow spots or blockage by the X-ray images. After diagnosed treatment
options become available, they range from simple lifestyle changes to extensive
medical surgeries. A simple diet change that consists of low cholesterol foods
and low sugar intake can drastically change the blockage of the arteries. With the changes people try to take to heathen
their hearts decreases the death rate everyday in the United States. With hope
that one day the disease will become non-existent.