Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in women in the United States, affecting 16.5 million Americans. Without an adequate blood supply, the heart becomes starved of oxygen and vital nutrients to function properly. This results in chest pain called angina. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is cut off entirely, or if the physical activity demands more than the heart can supply, a heart attack can occur.
Coronary artery disease is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of cholesterol and plaques in the inner walls of the arteries, restricting blood flow and clogging the artery by causing abnormal artery tone and function.
Certain nonmodifiable risk factors exist, which means that you may be at risk regardless of behavior or activity on your part. These include the male gender because men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do and have heart attacks earlier in life than women. Advanced age and family history of heart disease also increase your risk of coronary artery disease. Additionally, African Americans have a higher blood pressure risk than Caucasians, and therefore, have a higher risk of heart disease.
However, there are some modifiable risk factors. These include not smoking, lowering high cholesterol and blood pressure, controlling your diabetes, and increasing your physical activity. Being overweight or obese drastically increases your risk of coronary artery disease.
Cardiovascular disease symptoms may be different for men and women. Men are more likely to have chest pain and women are more likely to have other symptoms along with chest discomfort with several other symptoms such as dizziness or fatigue.
Common signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
Treatment for coronary artery disease usually involves a lifestyle change. Sometimes, drugs and certain medical procedures may be necessary. Making a commitment to following a healthy lifestyle is important. This includes quitting smoking, eating healthy, regular exercise, lower body weight, and reduced stress.
Various drugs can be used to treat coronary artery disease, including: cholesterol-modifying medications, a daily aspirin or other blood thinner, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, Ranolazine to help people with chest pain, or Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
AMA medical group was founded to support every member of the community. If you have coronary artery disease and are experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us at (727) 331-8740 to schedule an appointment.