What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease begins when damage leads to the development of plaque building up within the artery wall. This plaque buildup begins to narrow the arteries carrying blood to the heart. As more plaque builds up, your artery has trouble supplying blood to your heart muscle when it needs it most.

Plaque may tear, completely blocking the artery, or a blood clot (medically known as a thrombus) may plug the narrowed opening, which causes coronary artery disease.

The American Heart Association estimates that over 16 million Americans suffer from coronary artery disease—it's the 1 killer of both men and women in the U.S.

Coronary artery disease treatment

There are several risk factors that contribute to coronary artery disease. Some cannot be controlled, such as a family history of coronary artery disease, but many risk factors are controllable. Treatment for coronary artery disease includes reducing risk factors, such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and a high saturated fat diet.

Treatment plans for heart patients will be determined by their care team based on age, medical history, type and stage of coronary artery disease and personal preferences. Coronary artery disease treatment options may include: