Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease, is the most common form of heart disease in the United States and the number-one killer of men and women in this country.
What Causes Coronary Artery Disease?
Coronary artery disease develops when fatty deposits, or plaque, build up in the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This accumulation of plaque thickens and narrows the arteries, decreasing or blocking the flow of blood to the heart.
Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease develops over time, so people usually don't experience symptoms until after age 50. Reduced blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain or shortness of breath. A heart attack occurs when blood supply is completely blocked.
Risk factors for coronary artery disease include:
- family history
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
- sedentary lifestyle