Have you ever experienced an unbearablepain in your chest that seems it will never end? If the answer is yes, you mayhave coronary artery disease (CAD). This disease is the number one cause ofdeath in the United States in both men and women.
With such astonishingstatistics the research of the disease is becoming extensive. CAD is a disease in which the majorarteries of the heart become hardened and narrowed by the build up ofcholesterol or plaque. The build up of these materials is calledatherosclerosis. The cause of build up in the arteries could be from numerousfactors, but the most common being smoking and a fat filled diet. While peoplenormally believe smoking only damages the lungs it actually damages bloodvessels, raises cholesterol levels, and elevates blood pressure, all of whichare factors of atherosclerosis. By blocking the flow of blood to theheart could possibly cause angina, which is a squeezing type of chest pain ordiscomfort. With the lack of normal blood flow over time, the heart begins toweaken and not pump blood at a pace or way it should. With the weakening of theheart muscle other effects such as irregular heartbeat an arrhythmia coulddevelop.
The most invasive symptom being a heart attack, which is when theblood flow from the coronary artery is severely reduced or completely blocked. The anatomy of the heart consists of twocoronary arteries that branch from the aorta. They are hallow elastic tubesthat blood flows through to supply the rest of the heart. Both arteries supplyblood to the atrium, ventricles, and back portion of the septum.
As most people do not suspect a problemuntil they experience severe symptoms, tests can be done to diagnosis thedisease. An electrocardiogram (ECG) records electric signals as they movethrough the heart. This test can reveal a previous heart attack or one inprogress. Another example of one of the tests is a cardiac catheterization oran angiogram. These go on to view the blood flow through your heart, in which theynotice narrow spots or blockage by the X-ray images.
After diagnosed treatmentoptions become available, they range from simple lifestyle changes to extensivemedical surgeries. A simple diet change that consists of low cholesterol foodsand low sugar intake can drastically change the blockage of the arteries. With the changes people try to take to heathentheir hearts decreases the death rate everyday in the United States. With hopethat one day the disease will become non-existent.