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coronary arteriosclerosis in native artery
Coronary Artery Disease (Atherosclerosis)
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition which affects the arteries that supply the heart with blood.
It is usually caused by atherosclerosis which is a buildup of plaque inside the artery walls.
This buildup causes the inside of the arteries to become narrower and slows down the flow of blood.
There are many risk factors for CAD, Some are not controllable, but others can be modified. CAD develops over a long period of time and eventually progresses to the point where you may feel symptoms such as chest pain.
Diagnosis is made using various tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or a stress test. Treatment for CAD includes lifestyle changes, medications, and sometimes, cardiac procedures or surgery.
About Coronary Artery Disease
The heart is a muscle which pumps blood around the body through a network of blood vessels called arteries.
The left side of the heart receives fresh, oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and then pumps it out through a large artery called the aorta.
The aorta branches into smaller arteries that go to all parts of the body. The various parts of the body take the oxygen out of the blood.
The now stale, oxygen-poor blood is returned to the right side of the heart through blood vessel called veins. T
he right side of the heart pumps this stale blood to the lungs where it picks up more oxygen and the cycle begins again.
The Coronary Arteries
The heart muscle, like every other part of the body, needs its own oxygen-rich blood supply. Arteries branch off the aorta and spread over the outside surface of the heart feeding oxygen to the muscle.
The right coronary artery (RCA) supplies the bottom part of the heart.
The short left main (LM) artery branches into the left anterior descending (LAD) artery that supplies the front of the heart and the circumflex.
(Cx) artery which supplies the back of the heart.
In coronary artery disease, there is a blockage in the arteries that supply blood.
and oxygen to the heart. The most common cause is atherosclerosis which is a buildup of plaque inside the walls of the arteries.
Plaque is made of several substances including cholesterol
Plaque buildup can start at an early age and is caused by a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors that are called risk factors. As plaque builds up over time.
the arteries become increasingly narrow. Eventually, blood flow to parts of the heart is slowed or blocked.
Poor blood flow to the heart can cause angina.
Blood clots are more likely to form in arteries which have reduced blood flow,
which then further block the arteries. CAD can eventually lead to unstable angina or a heart attack.
Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are sometimes used to mean the same thing, but there’s a difference between the two terms.
occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (arteries) become thick .
and stiff — sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues.
Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in your arteries can harden, a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries.
is a specific type of arteriosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls. This buildup is called plaque. The plaque can cause your arteries to narrow.
blocking blood flow. The plaque can also burst, leading to a blood clot.
Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem.
it can affect arteries anywhere in your body. Atherosclerosis can be treated. Healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent atherosclerosis.
Mild atherosclerosis usually doesn’t have any symptoms.
You usually won’t have atherosclerosis symptoms until an artery is so narrowed or clogged that it can’t supply enough blood to your organs and tissues. Sometimes a blood clot completely blocks blood flow, or even breaks apart and can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
Symptoms of moderate to severe atherosclerosis depend on which arteries are affected. For example:
If you have atherosclerosis in your heart arteries
you may have symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure (angina).
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your brain
you may have signs and symptoms such as sudden numbness or weakness in your arms or legs, difficulty speaking or slurred speech.
temporary loss of vision in one eye, or drooping muscles in your face. These signal a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which, if left untreated, may progress to a stroke.
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries in your arms and legs
you may have signs or symptoms of peripheral artery disease, such as leg pain when walking (claudication) or decreased blood pressure in an affected limb.
If you have atherosclerosis in the arteries leading to your kidneys, you develop high blood pressure or kidney failure.
When to see a doctor
If you think you have atherosclerosis, talk to your doctor. Also pay attention to early symptoms of inadequate blood flow, such as chest pain (angina), leg pain or numbness.
Early diagnosis and treatment can stop atherosclerosis from worsening and prevent a heart attack, stroke or another medical emergency.
Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may begin as early as childhood. Although the exact cause is unknown, atherosclerosis may start with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery.
Smoking and other sources of tobacco
Insulin resistance, obesity or diabetes
Inflammation from an unknown cause or from diseases such as arthritis, lupus, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease
Once the inner wall of an artery is damaged
blood cells and other substances often clump at the injury site and build up in the inner lining of the artery.
Over time, fatty deposits (plaque) made of cholesterol and other cellular products also build up at the injury site and harden, narrowing your arteries.
The organs and tissues connected to the blocked arteries then don’t receive enough blood to function properly.
Eventually, pieces of the fatty deposits may break off and enter your bloodstream.
In addition, the smooth lining of the plaque may rupture, spilling cholesterol and other substances into your bloodstream.
This may cause a blood clot, which can block the blood flow to a specific part of your body, such as occurs when blocked blood flow to your heart causes a heart attack.
A blood clot can also travel to other parts of your body, blocking flow to another organ.