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Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease, is a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood. (CAD) occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle (the coronary arteries) gets become hardened and narrowed. The arteries harden and narrow due to buildup of a material called plaque on their inner walls. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis.
Some hardening of the arteries occurs normally as a person grows older. In atherosclerosis, plaque deposits build up in the arteries. Plaque buildup in the arteries often begins from childhood. Over time, plaque buildup in the coronary arteries can:
- Narrow the arteries. This reduces the amount of blood and oxygen that reaches the heart muscle.
- Completely block the arteries. This stops the flow of blood to the heart muscle.
- Cause blood clots to form. This can block the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle .
As the plaque increases in size, the insides of the coronary arteries get narrower and less blood flows through them. Eventually, blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced, and, because blood carries much-needed oxygen, the heart muscle is not able to receive the amount of oxygen it needs. Reduced or cut-off blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart muscle can result in Angina, Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Arrhythmias etc.
The most common invasive treatment available for CAD is Angioplasty, Bypass surgery, Stent surgery and chelation, a noninvasive therapy. It has been reported that there are some side effects with chelation therapy if sufficient care is not taken during the treatment. With respect to angioplasty, bypass and stent surgery, it is known as bypassing the problem and not a permanent solution. Several cases have been reported of re-clogging of arteries after the bypass. There are cases where patients have undergone second and third time bypass surgery. There are instances where patients have undergone repeated angioplasty and stent surgery.