Definition of Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen, and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased.
When plaque builds up, it narrows your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. Eventually, the reduced blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.
Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease.
Because coronary artery disease often develops over decades, you might not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. However, there’s plenty you can do to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. A healthy lifestyle can make a substantial impact.