Coronary Artery Disease (also known as Atherosclerotic Heart Disease) describes a situation in which coronary arteries become clogged as a result of atherosclerosis, meaning a build-up of fat and cholesterol on the arteries' walls which restricts the blood flow. A build-up like this prevents the heart from pumping adequate amounts of blood to the body or receiving enough blood and it becomes starved for the oxygen and other vital elements it needs to function properly.
If not treated, this kind of blockage can cause serious repercussions such as Angina or chest pain and pressure that can amount to a heart attack which will occur when there is a complete blockage and the flow is totally blocked.
So how is this serious problem treated? There are a number of ways to treat CAD, not all include invasive surgery. If diagnosed in time, cardiologists can recommend a number of solutions to try and solve the problem.
The first group of options is to "Reduce the risk factors" of Coronary Artery Disease which is mainly intended for patients who are at no immediate risk. This type of treatments includes making lifestyle changes. Patients who are at risk may be required to stop smoking, modify their diet to include low fat, low salt and low cholesterol foods and to keep the blood pressure in check. Physicians may also recommend exercising more in order to maintain a healthy weight.
The next step to control coronary disease will be to take heart medication. Specific Heart medication will be prescribed for the heart problem and assist the heart in receiving more oxygen-rich blood and pumping blood more efficiently into the body. Heart medication can include cholesterol lowering medications, beta-blockers, nitroglycerin and more.
The final resort will of course be surgical procedures. It can be open heart surgery or non-invasive procedures. A common solution is an Angioplasty, a non-surgical procedure for heart disease patients, mainly used to reopen blocked coronary arteries. In this procedure, the doctor will insert a "balloon catheter" to reach the blocked artery site at which point the balloon is inflated. The inflation will cause pressure on the fatty deposits and in affect crush them in order to reopen the artery and improve the circulation of the blood.
When a physician will decide upon this, an angioplasty procedure can also be performed with an addition of a 'Metal Stent' that is permanently left behind to keep the artery open.
A coronary artery bypass surgery is the next solution which is considered a major heart surgery. When other treatment options are no longer sufficient, the doctor may recommend a bypass in order to improve the blood supply to the coronary heart muscle. During this procedure a bypass is created, creating new routes around clogged arteries to allow blood and oxygen to reach the heart. The surgeon will sew one end of the new graft to the coronary arteries beyond the blockage and the other to the aorta in the heart and create the desired bypass.
Coronary Artery Disease can be fatal if neglected and not taken care of. It is recommended that you monitor your general health once you reached a certain age. If you know you have a family history of heart disease or feeling unusual pain that may be connected to a heart situation, do not leave this unchecked.