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

New, Sex-Specific Calculator Refines Heart Patients' Mortality Risk

Nov 17, 2016

Used with exercise stress tests, the new calculator better predicts mortality risk for both women and men.

Healthy Lifestyle Helps Offset Genetic Risk for Heart Disease

Nov 15, 2016
For patients with high genetic risk for heart disease, healthy lifestyle choices nearly cut risk in half, finds study.

Inflammation Triggers Heart Problems From Air Pollution

Nov 14, 2016

Chronic inflammation of blood vessels leads to clogged arteries and increased cardiovascular risk.

Calcium Has No Impact—Good or Bad—On Heart Health

Nov 14, 2016

Despite mixed findings, experts offer guidelines on calcium intake for adults without heart disease.

Low Testosterone is Not an Independent Risk Factor for Stroke, Finds Study

Oct 27, 2016
Researchers question whether treating testosterone level improves heart health.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Contest

Oct 17, 2016

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in March 2017!

Statins Aren't the Only Option for Lowering Cholesterol

Oct 10, 2016

Other cholesterol lowering therapies—including a heart-healthy diet—can be similarly effective at lowering cholesterol and cardiovascular risk, finds study.

ACC Partners with Google to Share Reliable Heart Health Information

Sep 20, 2016
“Ask a Doctor” feature promotes patient-provider engagement.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Children

Sep 17, 2016
Experts highlight early education about heart health for prevention later in life.

Sleep Deprivation Takes a Toll on Heart Health

Jul 28, 2016

Many studies show that a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on heart health, but few have determined why.

Air Pollution Accelerates Damage to the Heart's Arteries

Jul 24, 2016
Study shows how long-term exposure to air pollution promotes dangerous calcium build-up.
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.

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