Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease: Causes, Symptoms, Risks, Diagnosis, Treatment/Management

Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases. In 2016, approximately nine million people deaths from CAD according to the World Health Organization.

What causes coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is begun by plaque buildup on the wall of the arteries that supply blood to the coronary arteries on the heart. As a result, the wall of coronary artery becomes narrow and reduces the blood flow through the vessel.

What are the symptoms of coronary artery disease?

  • Angina or chest pain due to decrease blood flow to the heart muscle and/or increase in myocardial oxygen demand resulting from stress.
  • Pain may radiate to the arms, back, and jaw
  • Chest pain happens after exertion, excitement, or when the patient is exposed to cold temperatures as a reason for an increase in blood flow throughout the body and increasing heart rate.
  • Chest pain between three to five minutes
  • Chest pain can happen when the patient is resting
  • Short of breath/dyspnea
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness

What are the risks of coronary artery disease?

Non-Modifiable factors

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Family history of heart disease

Modifiable factors

Risk enhancing factors

  • Premature menopause
  • Preeclampsia
  • Chronic inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, psoriasis)
  • Persistently rise triglyceride

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?

Your physical can use several tests to diagnosed CAD, if he/she thinks you have a high chance for health problems or already appear symptoms.

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Exercise stress test
  • Chest x-ray
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Coronary angiogram
  • Coronary artery calcium scan

What are the treatments/managements pf coronary artery disease?

The treatments of CAD depend on the symptoms and clinical presentation on the person. It can range from medical management for controlling angina or chest pain symptoms to acute intervention by coronary artery stenting.

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?
  • Primary Prevention

Early recognition of the risk factors and primary intervention has significantly reduced the adverse consequence related to CAD. Thus, lifestyle modification with diet, exercise, and smoking cessation is essential to decrease cardiovascular risk factors. Additionally, management of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia is crucial to decrease the chance of CAD.

  • Diet

Diet is a crucial contributing factor to decrease the risk of CAD. Diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and fish is highly recommended. Replace saturated fats to polyunsaturated fat and monosaturated because it would be beneficial to lower health disease risk. Furthermore, lower salt and sodium intake to reduce blood pressure and other adverse effects on heart. Following Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial to follow a healthy diet.

  • Exercise and physical activity,

Physical activity also plays an important role to reduce the risk of CAD. Physical activities at least 150 minutes per week for moderate-intensity activities and more than 75 minutes a week for vigorous-intensity. Moderate-intensity activities, such as brisk walking, biking 5 to 9 mph, active yoga, and recreational swimming. Jogging, running, biking more than 10mph, playing tennis, swimming, etc. are vigorous activities.

  • Weight loss

People who are diagnosed as overweight when their body mass index (BMI) is between 25 to 29.8 and greater than or equal to 30, they have a high risk to have atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Annual BMI calculation, lifestyle modification, lower calorie intake, and weight loss are recommended.

  • Tobacco use

Tobacco is among other risk factors related to CAD. Nowadays, nicotine replacement therapy is available in patches, gums, lozenges, nasal spray, and oral inhalers.

  • Hypertension Management
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus management


  1. Regmi M, Siccardi MA. Coronary Artery Disease Prevention. [Updated 2019 Sep 24]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from:

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