Coronary Artery Disease

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Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is defined as a disease where the coronary arteries, arteries that supply the heart muscle, are clogged with plaque. CAD is also called coronary heart disease. Plaque comes from the fat and cholesterol in a person’s diet. Plaque builds up over time. When plaque builds up in the arteries, it reduces, or eventually blocks where blood can flow. CAD over time can weaken the heart muscle, cause an irregular heartbeat, cause heart failure, or lead to death. Treatment and prevention are vital to caring for a patient with CAD. Treatment occurs after a patient has been diagnosis with CAD. They have either suffered a myocardial infarction or simply had angina (chest pain) that was evaluated with coronary angiography. CAD was noted during the angiography. Other tests are used to help diagnose CAD, electrocardiogram (ECG), stress test, echocardiogram, and blood tests. Treatment includes medicines, lifestyle changes, change in diet, and medical procedures. Treatments can be considered as preventions as well. Medicines to treat CAD include Lipid therapy, antihypertensive, and anti platelets. Lipid therapy consists of maintaining an LDL less than 100mg per dl. High blood cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance, builds up in the arteries. The higher the blood cholesterol level is the greater risk. According to Pflieger, DO, Winslow, MD, and Mills, PharmD (2011) “In one trial, patients given intensive therapy with atorvastatin (Lipitor) in a dosage of 80mg per day had significantly lower mortality 30 days after MI.” Blood pressure is the force of blood against the wall of artery as the heart pumps blood. If the pressure rises and stays high over time, can lead to plaque buildup and can damage the heart. Antihypertensive (reduces blood pressure) medications help by decreasing myocardial demand, which is increased in those with CAD.

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