Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary disease weakens your heart muscle, potentially leading to heart failure.
Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with nutrients, oxygen and blood become damaged. Fats and other substances then accumulate and harden into plaque, narrowing your arteries and decreasing your blood flow. If a plaque ruptures, blood clots may form and partially or completely block the artery, and without rapid restoration of blood flow, severe heart injury or death can result.
Because CAD develops over decades, you may not notice symptoms until a significant blockage or heart attack occurs.
If you do have symptoms, they often occur during exertion or emotional stress and can be relieved by rest. Importantly, some of the symptoms women experience are quite different from those men experience. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, immediately seek medical attention.
The important thing to remember is that there is much you can do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. Healthy life choices make a big impact.
Symptoms may include:
• Chest pain (angina)
• Shortness of breath
• All of the above symptoms mentioned for men, though chest pain may be mild or felt as tightness or pressure rather than pain
• Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
• Pain in one or both arms