Coronary Artery Disease

There are many risk factors for heart disease that you can change.

Dr. Martha Gulati

On my next visit to the doctor, I want to be prepared.

CAD Questions to Ask Your Doctor

I'm willing to try a new treatment or medication.

Coronary artery disease (called CAD for short) is the leading cause of death in men and women.

It happens when your coronary arteries—which act like fuel lines to supply blood to the heart—become damaged or diseased. The main culprit? A build-up of fat and cholesterol in the blood that sticks to the inner walls of the arteries (this is also called atherosclerosis). As this happens, the arteries can narrow or become blocked. Keep in mind, CAD typically develops over decades, so many people don’t even know they have it until it starts causing problems.

When you have CAD, your heart muscle may not be able to get the blood and oxygen it needs. This can result in chest pain (angina) or heart attack. For many people, this may be the first sign they have CAD. CAD is often to blame for heart failure and arrhythmias, too.

Although you don’t have control over all of your risk factors for CAD—gender, age and family history—there are some things you can do to protect yourself. You are more likely to develop CAD and other heart problems if you are overweight; smoke; have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol; or don’t exercise regularly. Luckily, heart-healthy choices can make a big difference.

The sooner you can make positive changes to support your heart health, the better. The goal is to reduce your risk of heart problems down the line. Use this condition center to learn more about coronary artery disease. You can also chat online with other people like you, keep up with the latest research, and get tips to help you feel your best.

Coronary Artery Disease News & Events

CardioSmart News

New Decision Tool Helps Refine Blood Thinner Use in Stent Patients

May 24, 2016

DAPT score helps weigh the risks and benefits of continued dual antiplatelet therapy after stent implantation.

CardioSmart News

Equally Aggressive Treatment Needed for Men and Women with Heart Disease

May 23, 2016
While risk factors may differ, study findings suggest plaque build-up in arteries is just as dangerous in all patients.
CardioSmart News

Virtual Health Programs Could Improve Global Health

May 22, 2016
An online challenge promotes physical activity and weight loss in over 60 countries.
CardioSmart News

Stress Tests Less Useful for Assessing Heart Disease in Women than Men

May 22, 2016

Cardiac imaging proves more useful than stress tests for determining heart risk in women, finds study.

Heart Disease Burden Has Shifted to Southern U.S. States

May 04, 2016

The highest death rates from heart disease have shifted to the South since the 1970s.

Coronary Artery Calcium Scans Help Refine Treatment Decisions

May 03, 2016

Landmark research demonstrates the benefits of using CAC tests when appropriate.

Tai Chi Boosts Quality of Life in Patients with Heart Disease

May 01, 2016

A review of 35 studies confirms heart health benefits of traditional Chinese exercises.

Experts Endorse Routine Imaging to Screen for Heart Disease

Apr 30, 2016

Experts argue for more comprehensive heart screenings.

Endometriosis Increases Risk for Heart Disease in Young Women

Apr 23, 2016

A condition affecting the female reproductive organs triples risk for heart disease in women under 40.

Updated Guidelines for Dual Blood Thinners to Treat Heart Disease

Apr 22, 2016

New recommendations help reduce risk of complications and maximize benefits of treatment.

Anxiety Masks Heart Disease in Women

Mar 16, 2016

Heart disease may be overlooked in women with anxiety, causing delays in diagnosis and treatment.

Decline in Dementia Rates Over Past Three Decades

Mar 08, 2016

Study analyzed data on trends in older adults in the Framingham Heart Study.

Dementia and Heart Disease Are Major Concerns for Elderly Adults

Mar 01, 2016

Researchers explore whether preventing calcium build-up in arteries would mitigate the likelihood of developing the conditions.

Texting Programs Improve Medication Adherence in Patients with Chronic Disease

Feb 26, 2016
A recent study suggests that text messaging programs double the odds of medication adherence in adults with chronic disease.

Simple Tests Help Assess Risk for Heart Disease

Feb 09, 2016
Other health markers besides traditional risk factors can shed light on risk and treatment.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Promote Dangerous Belly Fat

Jan 27, 2016
Consuming one sugar-sweetened beverage a day increases dangerous belly fat linked to heart disease and diabetes, finds study.

Too Little Exercise Remains a Prime Concern for Americans

Jan 18, 2016
Experts reaffirm that health benefits from exercise far outweigh risks.

Cardiac Rehab is Lifesaving for Heart Patients

Jan 10, 2016

Exercise-based rehab programs reduce risk for heart-related death by 26%.

Heart Disease Remains Top Killer in the United States

Jan 10, 2016

Heart disease accounts for 1 in 3 deaths, highlighting an urgent need for prevention and treatment.

Women with Diabetes at Greater Risk for Heart Disease than Men

Jan 09, 2016

Experts highlight the need to better address increased cardiovascular risk in women with diabetes.

Fit Young Adults Have Lower Risk for Heart Disease Later in Life

Dec 10, 2015

Maintaining one’s fitness level is the key to a lower risk profile.

Declines in U.S. Death Rates Have Slowed

Nov 19, 2015
Researchers measure progress on heart disease and other leading causes of death, and identify areas for improvement.

Low-Fat Diets Not the Best Weight Loss Solution

Nov 19, 2015

A review of more than 50 clinical trials comparing low- versus higher-fat diets shows no significant difference in weight loss results.

African-American Veterans Healthier Than White Counterparts

Oct 22, 2015

Analysis of VA data stands in contrast to health disparities in the general U.S. population.

Alcohol-Related Injury and Disease Pose Global Health Concern

Oct 20, 2015
Excessive drinking is a major public health issue in high- and low-income countries alike.

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