Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease Reno NVSince we’re all about veins and the vascular network that runs through our bodies, this month let’s get serious about coronary artery disease, colloquially known as heart disease. Here are some facts and risk factors.

  • In the U.S. heart disease is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths, around 610,000 people annually.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
  • Every year about 735,000 have a heart attack, 210,000 of those are repeat heart attacks.

A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is cut off. Cells in the heart muscle that do not receive enough oxygen-carrying blood begin to die. The longer this passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart. About 15 percent of those who have a heart attack will die from it.

Causes of coronary artery disease

It is thought that coronary artery disease begins with damage or an injury to the inner layer of a coronary artery. This can happen as early as when we’re kids. Once the inner wall of an artery is damaged, fatty deposits (plaque) made of cholesterol and other cellular waste products accumulate at the site. This is atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the artery. As the artery narrows, blood flow becomes more and more restricted and eventually a blockage may occur, leading to a heart attack.

What are the risk factors/causes for coronary artery disease?

  • Age— Aging increases your risk of both damaged and narrowing arteries.
  • Sex— Men are at greater risk, although women’s risk rises after menopause.
  • Family history— If a close relative developed heart disease at an early age, such as before 55 for a man and 65 for a woman, you are at higher risk.
  • Smoking— Cigarette smoking significantly increases risk.
  • High blood pressure— Uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in hardening and thickening of your arteries.
  • High blood cholesterol— High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, known as “bad” cholesterol, or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), known as “good” cholesterol, increase risk of plaque build-up.
  • Diabetes— Type 2 diabetes, which also involves obesity and high blood pressure, increases risk.
  • Physical inactivity— Sedentary lifestyles are associated with coronary artery disease.
  • Obesity— Excess weight elevates other risk factors.
  • High stress— Continuing stress in life has been shown to damage your arteries, as well as worsen other risk factors such as high blood pressure.
  • Poor diet— Eating too much saturated fat, trans fat, salt, and sugar increases your risk.

Although coronary artery disease isn’t our specialty at Nevada Vein and Vascular, we’re all about keeping all of your arteries and veins in good working order. If you have any questions or need to make an appointment, call us at (775) 323-3000.

Posted in: Arterial Disease

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