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

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.
I am CardioSmart

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 31, 2017

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a $100 gift card!

Meditation for Heart Health?

Oct 18, 2017
Experts explore meditation as a potential tool for improving heart health.

One in Twelve Deaths Could be Prevented with Regular Exercise

Oct 17, 2017

Getting the recommended levels of exercise significantly reduces risk for heart attack and death, study finds.

A Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Helps Keep the Mind Intact

Oct 16, 2017
Experts provide simple yet effective strategies for protecting cognitive health as we age.

Continued Use of Low-Dose Aspirin is Critical for Preventing Heart Events

Oct 02, 2017
Stopping aspirin use is linked to 30% increased risk for heart attack, stroke and other heart problems.

Skipping Breakfast Spells Trouble for Heart Health

Oct 02, 2017
A wholesome breakfast is one of many choices that contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

Exercise Lowers Mortality Risk in Patients with Heart Disease

Sep 30, 2017
Researchers found that physical activity was most beneficial in those who were sedentary and had the highest cardiovascular risk.

Hospitals Miss a Golden Opportunity to Help Heart Patients Quit Smoking

Sep 07, 2017
After a heart event is a prime time to encourage medication to help smokers quit.

Disadvantaged Children Face Increased Heart Risks

Aug 30, 2017

Children from poorer families show signs of worsening heart health even before their teenage years.

Heath Effects of Calcium Build-up in Arteries is More Complex than Previously Thought

Aug 24, 2017

The size and density of coronary artery calcium have contrasting effects on risk for heart disease.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Lowers Mortality Risk

Aug 23, 2017
Study finds up to two drinks a day could lead to a longer life.

New Guidelines Fine-Tune Heart Screenings in Young Athletes

Aug 17, 2017
Refined testing would save health care costs while still detecting serious heart conditions.

Too Much Salt Puts Added Stress on Heart

Aug 17, 2017
A recent study confirms that consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium daily taxes the heart.

Weight Gain in Adulthood Spells Trouble for Health

Aug 16, 2017

Gaining more than five pounds by middle age increases risk for chronic disease and earlier death, finds study.

Study Questions Routine Heart Tests in Healthy Patients

Aug 11, 2017

Despite recommendations against routine heart tests, one in five healthy Canadians receive ECGs after annual visit.

Lifestyle Counseling Proves Useful for Heart Disease Prevention

Aug 10, 2017
Adults at low risk for heart disease consistently benefit from counseling that promotes exercise and a healthy diet.

Breastfeeding Protects Women from Heart Disease

Jul 30, 2017
Breastfeeding, especially for longer durations, helps reduce women’s risk for heart disease.

Swap Saturated Fats with Unsaturated Fats for a Healthy Heart

Jul 30, 2017

Unsaturated fats can reduce cholesterol levels and reduce risk for heart disease and stroke.

Infographic: Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

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