Coronary artery disease affects millions of Americans. It is the leading cause of death in both men and women. Commonly known as CAD, coronary artery disease is a narrowing of the arteries that feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Treatment options include medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery.
Medications are typically used to reduce the symptoms and progression of coronary artery disease. The most commonly prescribed drugs include statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors), beta blockers, and aspirin. Statins are used to reduce cholesterol while ACE inhibitors widen blood vessels, decrease blood pressure, and slow the progression of the disease. Beta blockers reduce blood pressure and strengthen the heart muscle. Aspirin can reduce inflammation and thicken the walls of the arteries.
Surgical procedures are sometimes needed to repair blocked arteries or bypass them with a graft. Angioplasty, bypass surgery, and valve replacement are all surgeries used to treat coronary artery disease. Angioplasty widens narrowed or blocked arteries with a small balloon, while bypass surgery redirects the flow of blood around clogged arteries with the help of a graft. Valve replacement is used to replace damaged valves with prosthetic ones.
Lifestyle Changes and Health
In addition to medical treatments, lifestyle modifications are needed to reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Quitting smoking, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and controlling cholesterol and glucose levels are all important steps to prevent or improve cardiovascular health. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, nuts, and fish can also help reduce cholesterol levels.
About half of Americans with coronary artery disease die from heart-related causes. By taking action with medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery, individuals living with CAD can improve their symptoms, reduce the risk of a heart attack, and prolong their lives.
Coronary artery disease is a serious medical condition that affects millions of Americans. Treatment options include medications, surgical procedures, and lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, exercising, maintaing a healthy weight, and controlling cholesterol and glucose levels are all important steps to reduce the risk of CAD. Patients should consult a physician to determine the best course of action.