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Coronary Artery Disease

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?

CAD is narrowing of the arteries to your heart caused by a buildup of plaque (cholesterol and other substances). The narrowing in your arteries decreases the amount of blood that can flow to your heart. This causes your heart to get less oxygen, which may be life-threatening.

Blocked Coronary Artery

What increases my risk for CAD?

What are the signs and symptoms of CAD?

You may not have any symptoms of CAD. The most common symptom is chest pain, also called angina. Angina may feel like burning, squeezing, or crushing tightness in your chest. The pain may spread to your neck, jaw, or shoulder blade. You may have other symptoms along with chest pain. These include nausea, vomiting, sweating, fainting, and hands and feet that are cold to the touch.

How is CAD diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you if you have a family history of CAD. Your provider will also ask about your symptoms and about the medicines you are taking. You may need any of the following:

Which medicines are used to treat CAD?

What are some other treatments for CAD?

Your healthcare provider will work with you to create a treatment plan. In addition to medicines, your provider may recommend a procedure or surgery to open your arteries. Your provider can explain the benefits and risks of each treatment. The following are commonly used to treat CAD:

What is cardiac rehabilitation (rehab)?

Rehab is a program run by specialists who will help you safely strengthen your heart and reduce the risk for more heart disease. The plan includes exercise, relaxation, stress management, and heart-healthy nutrition. Healthcare providers will also check to make sure any medicines you are taking are working.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to manage or prevent CAD?

Prevent Heart Disease

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.