Coronary artery disease (CAD) develops when you have blockages in the arteries that carry blood to your heart. These heart artery blockages can occur when cholesterol builds up inside the vessels and doesn’t allow blood to flow through properly.
Without enough blood flowing to your heart, you may develop shortness of breath and chest pain. If you have a complete blockage in the artery, you’re at risk for a heart attack. Because CAD develops over time, you may not experience symptoms until the blockage is severe.
Risk factors for coronary artery disease include:
You may also be at increased risk for CAD if you don’t get enough exercise every day or you typically eat a poor diet.
If you have any symptoms of coronary artery disease, you should schedule a diagnostic evaluation with the providers at Coastal Cardiology of Orange County.
In addition to a physical exam, the physicians can run diagnostic tests to evaluate the health and function of your heart. Tests may include:
Depending on the results of your test, the providers customize a treatment plan to address arterial blockages and improve the health of your heart.
If you have mild blockages in your coronary arteries, the Coastal Cardiology of Orange County providers can recommend immediate lifestyle changes to improve blood flow to your heart. These changes include:
If these changes aren’t enough to improve blood flow to your heart, you may need medications to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure.
For more serious blockages, the providers may recommend surgeries like:
Angioplasty involves the insertion of a long, thin tube into the narrowed part of your artery to clear blockages. Your provider also passes a tiny balloon into the vessel and gently inflates it to create more space in the artery.
To keep the artery open, your surgeon places a stent, a small device that remains inside your vein to improve blood flow.
During coronary artery bypass surgery, your surgeon uses a vessel from another part of your body to create a graft. This graft allows blood to bypass the blockage in the artery, so it can flow freely into your heart.
If you need testing for symptoms of coronary artery disease, call the Coastal Cardiology of Orange County office nearest you, or book an appointment online today.