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Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. It is a condition in which plaque, made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances found in the blood, builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries play an important role in supplying your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood. As plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis.

The SSM Health Heart & Vascular Care features dedicated physicians, advanced treatments, leading-edge techniques and unparalleled experience. We’re recognized as the area’s model heart care service and the preferred destination for heart patients and the physicians who refer them.

Causes of Coronary Artery Disease

Plaque narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow to your heart muscle. It also makes it easier for blood clots to form in your arteries, resulting in the partial or complete blockage of blood flow, and in some cases leads to heart attack. Research suggests that coronary heart disease (CHD) starts when certain factors damage the inner layers of the coronary arteries. These factors include:

  • Smoking
  • High levels of certain fats and cholesterol in the blood
  • High blood pressure
  • High levels of sugar in the blood due to insulin resistance or diabetes

Signs & Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

The most common symptom of CAD is angina, which is often described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing or painful feeling in your chest.

Treating Coronary Artery Disease

SSM Health Heart & Vascular Care cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons can prescribe lifestyle modifications, medicines, or medical procedures to prevent or treat CAD. Learn your risk for coronary artery disease and heart attack with our free, easy-to-complete online heart disease risk assessment.

Talk with your SSM Health provider today to learn ways to improve your heart health. Steps like changing your diet and exercise can help, but your physician will develop a plan that is personalized to your needs. Call your nearest SSM Health Heart & Vascular Care location today to set up an appointment or to find a provider.

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