Monday, June 16, 2008

Risk factors for Coronary Artery Diseases

Risk factors for coronary artery disease

content provided by Healthwise

The more risk factors a person has for coronary artery disease (CAD), the more likely it is that the person will develop heart problems or have a heart attack. Risk factors for CAD include:

Being a man older than age 35.
Being a woman who has gone through menopause.
Being overweight.
Having high blood pressure (hypertension).
Having diabetes.
Having high cholesterol.
Having a family history of heart disease.
Smoking cigarettes.
Being physically inactive.
Risk factors for a heart attack also include the use of cocaine and amphetamines.

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD

- Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD

- Emergency Medicine
Last Updated September 6, 2007

Coronary artery disease

content provided by Healthwise

Coronary artery disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on the inside of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. Plaque is made up of excess cholesterol, calcium, and other substances that float in blood and, over time, build up on the inside walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries.

This process of plaque buildup is called hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. The plaque deposits decrease the space through which blood can flow. Poor blood flow can "starve" the heart muscle and lead to chest pain. A heart attack results when blood flow is completely blocked, usually by a blood clot forming over a plaque that has broken open (ruptured).

Coronary artery disease is treated with lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, eating a heart-healthy diet, and stopping smoking. Coronary artery disease also is treated with medications to help reduce high cholesterol, control high blood pressure, and manage other risk factors.

Author Robin Parks, MS
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman
Primary Medical Reviewer Caroline S. Rhoads, MD

- Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD

- Cardiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD

- Diet and Nutrition
Last Updated January 8, 2008

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