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

Study Confirms the Heart-Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Jul 13, 2018
A second analysis reconfirms the results of a Spanish study demonstrating that a Mediterranean diet including olive oil and nuts can reduce heart risks. 

Health Literacy is Critical to Heart Disease Prevention

Jun 29, 2018
An American Heart Association statement addresses health literacy as a barrier to heart health. 

Loneliness is Bad for the Heart

Jun 29, 2018
A lack of social support is linked to poorer health outcomes in heart patients.

No Such Thing as Healthy Obesity

Jun 14, 2018
Both weight and metabolic health are key to preventing heart disease. 

South Asians Face Increased Risk for Heart Disease

Jun 14, 2018

Experts issue a statement focusing on the prevention and treatment of risk factors for heart disease for South Asians in the United States.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Seafood Help Prevent Heart Disease

Jun 13, 2018
The American Heart Association recommends 1–2 servings of fish per week to help prevent heart disease. 

OB/GYNs are Critical to Helping Fight Heart Disease in Women

Jun 12, 2018

Experts ask obstetricians and gynecologists to help educate their patients about heart disease.

Calculations of Cardiovascular Risk are Outdated, Study Finds

Jun 12, 2018

New Zealand study finds current tools greatly overestimate 5–year risk of developing heart disease.

Advances in an Alternative Procedure to Open Heart Surgery

Jun 07, 2018

Recent medical statement highlights the evolution of percutaneous coronary intervention and for which heart patients it is most appropriate.

Living Near Fast Food is Associated with Greater Risk for Heart Disease

May 15, 2018

Dutch study links easy access to fast food and increased risk for heart disease.

Experts Encourage Routine Screening for Physical Inactivity

May 10, 2018
Making the case that health care providers should ask patients about activity levels to identify those at risk for heart disease.

Understanding the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Obesity

May 03, 2018

Some of the health effects of childhood obesity are reversible with early weight loss, study finds.

Vegetables Promote Healthier Arteries in Older Women

May 01, 2018
Cruciferous vegetables especially contribute to healthier arteries.

Air Pollution Contributes to Health Disparities

Apr 19, 2018

Pittsburgh study links air pollution to increased heart risks in black adults.

Study Challenges Existence of the "Obesity Paradox"

Apr 12, 2018
Study debunks the theory that being overweight is associated with increased longevity.

Upbeat Music Boosts Endurance During Cardiac Stress Test

Apr 09, 2018

Study also suggests that music may help with motivation to exercise and exercising longer.

Exercise, Not Weight Loss, Boosts Survival in Patients with Heart Disease

Apr 04, 2018

Study finds even low levels of physical activity reduce risk of death in patients with heart disease.

CardioSmart News

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Makes Heart Attack Twice as Likely

Mar 06, 2018
Individuals with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are encouraged to discuss their heart disease risk and prevention strategies with their health care team.

Women with Preterm Deliveries Face Increased Heart Risk

Feb 23, 2018
Mothers of preemies are encouraged to have heart disease risk factors closely monitored.

Fitness Offsets Heart Risks from Hardening Arteries

Feb 06, 2018
Being fit helps counteract the dangers of unhealthy arteries, finds Texas study.

Study Clarifies How Often We Should Measure Calcium in the Arteries

Dec 21, 2017
Repeat testing for coronary artery calcium has little benefit for certain patients.

Moderate Exercise Reduces Risk of Death in Women

Dec 14, 2017
A study of more than 17,000 women links physical activity to a longer, healthier life.

Half of Patients with Ideal Cholesterol Have Underlying Heart Risks

Dec 14, 2017
Many patients with optimal health have dangerous plaque build-up in their arteries.

Medication Adherence Remains Challenging for Heart Patients

Dec 12, 2017
Taking medication as directed is critical to improving outcomes.

The Heart Health Benefits of Nuts

Nov 14, 2017
A recent study links peanuts and walnuts to significantly reduced risk for heart disease.

Infographic: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

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