Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease is a form of heart disease where an individual's coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked over time. The most common cause of this disease is a condition referred to as atherosclerosis. This condition occurs when the inner walls of an individual's arteries become hard and narrow from the buildup of plaque, a substance made of cholesterol and fatty deposits. When this buildup occurs in one or both of the coronary arteries that supply the muscle tissues of the heart with blood and oxygen, it is referred to as coronary artery disease. This narrowing can cause the tissues in the heart to become damaged when they do not receive enough blood and oxygen.
Signs of coronary artery disease can be difficult to distinguish from other heart conditions. Acute issues that tend to occur more often in coronary artery disease patients include stable angina, silent ischemia, development of collateral circulation, and unstable angina. Two other examples are ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction. Electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, exercise stress test, chest x-ray, coronary angiogram, and cardiac catheterization are used to diagnose coronary artery disease.
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