The heart muscle requires oxygen and other nutrients to function. It is the work of the coronary artery to supply the heart with these needs. Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs with the clogging or blockage of this blood vessel.
If there is inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart, the heart muscle is injured resulting in chest pains that are referred to as angina. If it is not checked in time this blockade that is formed by plaque deposited in the inner wall of the coronary will totally stop the supply of blood to the heart.
When this happens, then we say a person has had a heart attack or myocardial infarction in medical terms. Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when the heart muscle is permanently damaged by a CAD. The terms CAD and CHD can be used in place of another.
What makes blood vessels?
The inside of every blood vessel is made up of endothelium that is surrounded by connective tissues and thin muscle layers. These muscles control the flow of blood in the vessels without our influence.
For these muscles to function properly, their muscle tone should be good. The tone of these muscles is affected by factors such as smoking and diabetes.
The causes of CAD
CAD is caused by the narrowing of the artery. This narrowing is caused by the deposit of plaque on the inside of the artery. As the artery becomes narrower the flow of blood is inhibited making the heart muscle survive with less than what is needed in energy supply. This build may be triggered by the injury to the interior of the artery that may be caused by a host of factors like diabetes and increased blood pressure.
The body activates immune cells to the injury to try and heal it. In the process, plaque begins to form resulting in the eventual blocking of the artery at that point. Note that the accumulation of the plaque takes place over some time.
Symptoms of CAD
The signs of CAD are varied. They can be painless or the patient may experience mild to acute pain in the chest. When angina strikes some people are unable to do the list of activities. In that situation, the person experiences heaviness, pain, pressure and burning under the chest bone and in the jaws, arms and neck in other people.
Patients will also experience shortness of breath, perspiration and nausea. These will mostly occur when the patients exert themselves and resting can be relieving. In the case of diabetics heart attacks are possible without ever experiencing these signs.
Factors that raise the chance of CAD
The environment and your genes are the major determinants of your CAD risk. If you are genetically susceptible to a heart problem adopting a healthy lifestyle may guard you against the possibility of CAD.
On the same note if you are genetically not prone to CAD careless living may bare you to the threat. People older than 45 in men and 55 in women have a higher possibility of having CAD, but increases if in the family there was a person who had CAD before the age of 50.