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Your clinician will help you decide on the right treatment for you. Treatments will depend on:

  • Your age
  • Your overall health and other health conditions
  • Which artery (or arteries) are affected, where in the body, and the extent of disease or how much of the artery is blocked (this is often reported as a percentage – for example, 50% or 90% blocked)
  • Your signs and symptoms – how it’s affecting your quality of life
  • Your preferences

Making healthy choices every day is the best way to prevent atherosclerosis or slow it down if you already have some narrowing in your arteries. For example:

  • Being more active or getting regular exercise, which can help you feel more fit and control blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels
  • Eating heart-healthy foods that are low in saturated fats and high in fiber, including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds
  • Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding tobacco 
  • Checking and maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Focus on one change at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Set small goals that are realistic so that you can celebrate successes. For example, if you don’t exercise, challenge yourself to walk for 10 minutes most days; then increase that to 15-minute walks the next week.

Treatment may also include:

  • Medications – for example, to lower cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure levels; prevent blood clots from forming
  • Procedures or surgery to help improve or restore blood flow to the heart. For example:
    • Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or “stents”, a non-surgical procedure that uses a catheter (a thin flexible tube) to thread and place a small structure called a stent to prop open the affected blood vessel(s) in the heart
    • Coronary artery bypass surgery, also called CABG, is open heart surgery to redirect blood to flow around a section of the narrowed or blocked artery to the heart
  • Last Edited 09/07/2022