The most common form of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD). It is caused by a build-up of plaque in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. These arteries are known as coronary arteries and when build-up occurs, blood flow to the heart becomes very limited.
Risk Factors for CAD
It’s important to understand the various risk factors for developing CAD. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are major factors as well as a family history of CAD, diabetes and smoking. In addition, women who are post-menopausal and men who are over age 45 are at greater risk for developing CAD.
Additionally, if you eat poorly and don’t exercise, your chances of developing CAD or other cardiovascular diseases can significantly increase.
Similar to preventing other cardiovascular diseases, living a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and plenty of exercise are important ways to reduce the risks of developing coronary artery disease.
Since there is no cure for CAD, once you have been diagnosed, it’s important to talk with your doctor about treatment options. These often include lifestyle changes to incorporate exercise and sometimes medication to treat the issue if other treatments don’t help.
Some of the medications that might be prescribed include:
- Aspirin to prevent blood clots forming in the heart arteries
- Beta blockers to relax blood vessels and slow the heart rate.
- Lipid management to reduce or control blood lipid levels.
There is help for CAD and improving your heart health with lifestyle adjustments can go a long way toward living a long and healthy life.