Coronary artery disease (CAD) generally occurs as a patient ages. As a result of cholesterol and other materials that build up in the walls of heart arteries, the artery begins to narrow and causes a reduction of blood flow through that portion of the artery. If narrowed enough, the heart muscle could become oxygen deficient, which is typically when patients begin to notice symptoms.
Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Chest discomfort
- Shortness of breath with activity
- Discomfort in the upper body area (i.e. arms, jaw, back, neck)
These symptoms can resolve with rest but should not be ignored. If you or a loved one experience these symptoms, please call 911 or call your physician’s office.
Treatments for Coronary Artery Disease
Depending on the degree of CAD, the treatments can vary. In general there is a combination of lifestyle modification, medications, angioplasty with or without stenting, or coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), and cardiac rehabilitation.
The diagnosis starts with you recognizing the need for a visit with your family physician or cardiologist. It’s important for you to know your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and family history. Albemarle Health offers free health screenings several times per year; check our events calendar for the next available screening.
If you are currently planning for one of these tests and have questions, please call our cardiology department at (252) 384-4703. We welcome you to bring your family with you to your appointment, and let us know if you would like us to share your health information with them.