Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

An Overview of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as ischemic heart disease, is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases. It is a condition in which there is narrowing of the coronary arteries, preventing proper blood flow to the heart. CAD is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, and death.

Symptoms of CAD

The most common symptoms associated with CAD are chest pain or angina, shortness of breath, pain in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, throat or back. These symptoms may become more severe during physical exertion or during times of stress. Other symptoms may include fatigue, palpitations, nausea, and dizziness.

Risk Factors of CAD

CAD is strongly related to lifestyle choices, such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, and lack of stress management. Other known risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of CAD
  • Increasing age

Diagnosing CAD

CAD can often be diagnosed with standard tests such as an Electrocardiogram (ECG), Stress Test, or Coronary Angiogram. Other tests such as exercise testing, echocardiogram, or cardiac CT scan may also be used.

Treating CAD

The primary goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery.

  • Lifestyle changes such as dietary changes, exercising,and quitting smoking can help improve symptoms.
  • Medication such as aspirin, statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors can also help manage symptoms.
  • Surgery, such as angioplasty, can be used for more severe symptoms.


CAD is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening complications. Lifestyle changes, such as exercising and quitting smoking, are important to reducing the risk of developing CAD. If you think you may be at risk for CAD, talk with your doctor and get tested.