Coronary heart disease

Alternative Names

Coronary artery disease; Arteriosclerotic heart disease; CHD; CAD

Definition of Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CHD is also called coronary artery disease.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Coronary heart disease is usually caused by a condition called , which occurs when fatty material and other substances form a plaque build-up on the walls of your arteries. This causes them to get narrow. As the coronary arteries narrow, blood flow to the heart can slow down or stop. This can cause chest pain (), shortness of breath, , and other symptoms, usually when you are active.

Symptoms

Symptoms may be very noticeable, but sometimes you can have the disease and not have any symptoms.

Signs and tests

Many tests help diagnose CHD. Usually, your doctor will order more than one test before making a definite diagnosis.

Treatment

You may be asked to take one or more medicines to treat blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol levels. Follow your doctor’s directions closely to help prevent coronary artery disease from getting worse.

Expectations (prognosis)

Everyone recovers differently. Some people can maintain a healthy life by changing their diet, stopping smoking, and taking medications exactly as the doctor prescribes. Others may need medical procedures such as angioplasty or surgery.

Review

Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/21/2010

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view
Acute MI
Posterior heart arteries
Cholesterol producers
Anterior heart arteries

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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