Coronary Artery Disease

Transcript

Lt Col Reynolds
I believe we’ve all heard that obesity is a risk factor for heart disease. Let’s check with Dr. Patel to find out more.

Dr. Patel
You’re right, Dr. Reynolds. When a person’s body mass index, or BMI rises, so does their risk for a variety of conditions, including heart disease. One of the most common is coronary artery disease.

Coronary artery disease, often referred to as CAD, is the leading cause of death in the United States, in both men and women. CAD is a condition involving a waxy substance called plaque that can build up inside the coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

This plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis. When this buildup occurs, the coronary arteries become narrowed or even blocked, reducing the blood flow to the heart muscle. This can cause either angina, which is chest pain or discomfort, or a heart attack.

Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias. Heart failure means the heart can’t pump blood well to the rest of the body. Arrhythmias are changes in the normal beating rhythm of the heart.