Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death from heart disease. The condition occurs when plaque, made up of cholesterol, calcium, and fatty deposits, builds up inside heart artery walls. This hardening, or clogging, of the arteries (called atherosclerosis) restricts blood flow to the heart.
There are various types of coronary artery disease, including:
This happens when arteries that supply the heart with blood gradually begin to narrow or become blocked due to plaque buildup.
This occurs when the arteries develop problems, such as inappropriate constriction, malfunctions in the branches, damaged lining, or squeezing from overlying heart muscle.
Also referred to as microvascular coronary artery disease, this is a condition where the walls of the small arteries in the heart aren’t working properly.
People with coronary artery disease may have chest pain, known as angina. Other coronary artery disease symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, weakness, pain or discomfort in the arms, and decreased exercise tolerance. A complete or very severe blockage can cause a heart attack.
Coronary artery disease often begins with damage or injury to the inner layer of a coronary artery. This can start as early as childhood. Various factors can cause this damage, such as:
Risk factors for coronary artery disease include:
Making healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce your risk of coronary artery disease. To improve your heart health, you can: