What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?
The 3 main coronary arteries and their branches coarse along the surface of the heart providing blood to the heart muscle. When these arteries become blocked by plaque, the blood supply is compromised causing chest pain (angina), and when severe enough will cause a heart attack. Several risk factors put you at risk for CAD. These include family history, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, inactivity, and obesity.
How is CAD diagnosed?
Your primary care doctor will often diagnose CAD based on your history and symptoms. They will order an electrocardiogram and if they see an abnormality and/or you have symptoms they will order a stress test (treadmill or chemical). If the results are abnormal your cardiologist will perform a coronary artery angiogram in the cardiac catheterization lab. This test will demonstrate the severity and number of blockages and will determine the type of treatment needed.