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Risk Factors

Risk Factors

Coronary artery disease is often caused by atherosclerosis : a plaque (fatty material) builds up in the inner wall of the blood vessel, makes it less elastic and reduces oxygen-rich blood flow to the heart muscle. If the plaque increases to the point of obstructing the vessel completely, blood may not be able to reach a part of the heart muscle. That area may not receive all the oxygen and nutrients needed. In such a case heart attack may occur.

Healthy Artery

  • Blood flows freely
  • In healthy coronary arteries oxygen-rich blood flows freely and easily reaches the heart muscle.

How atherosclerosis progresses

  • Blood flow slows down
  • As plaque is formed, blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced. If the obstruction is small, probably there will not be any symptom.
  • Blood flow is partially blocked
  • When the artery is narrowed, blood flow to the heart muscle is partially blocked and the patient may experience symptoms of angina.
  • When the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle is completely blocked by plaque or a blood clot, the patient may have a heart attack.

Risk factors of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis starts when factors such as smoking, high level of sugar in the blood (diabetes), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, uncontrolled stress, unbalanced diet and sedentary lifestyle damage the inner wall of the arteries and cause cholesterol and other fats to build up as plaque. These factors make atherosclerosis progress over time if they are not controlled.

Coronary artery disease can lead to several serious Medical Problems

Arrhythmia: An arrhythmia is a change in the normal beating of the heart. Some types can be serious.

High Blood Pressure (hypertension): High blood pressure means the heart has to work harder than normal to pump blood throughout the body. This can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk for heart problems.

Heart Failure: This occurs when the heart cannot pump well. The heart cannot supply the body with all the blood it needs.

Heart Attack:  A heart attack occurs when blood flows to the heart is blocked for a long period of Time. A heart attack may cause lasting damage to the heart- or even death.