A term that describes a number of conditions that impact the heart; however the most common type is coronary artery disease (CAD). This is also the leading cause of death in the United States among men and women.
CAD occurs when plaque forms in the arteries that supply the heart with blood. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances in the bloodstream. The buildup can restrict bloodflow to the heart. Sometimes a plaque can rupture or burst which can cause a blood clot that completely blocks the artery—this can cause a heart attack or a stroke. If the arteries are damaged by smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol this process occurs more readily.
Symptoms can be typical such as chest pain or shortness of breath, but sometimes a person will not have symptoms until major damage has occurred. Prevention is key!
Treatments include controlling all modifiable risk factors such as treating high cholesterol/lipids, taking care of Diabetes, treating high blood pressure, and not smoking. This can include lifestyle therapies such as exercise and healthy diet as well as medications.
Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries caused by buildup and deposits of fatty materials into the artery wall.
This is commonly called the “bad” cholesterol because the cholesterol carried around inside the LDL particles can get deposited into the artery walls.
This is commonly called the “good” cholesterol because the cholesterol carried around inside the HDL particles may have been removed from the artery walls.
This is a basic group of tests measuring the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood; it is a good starting point but does not always give enough information.
This is a more advanced type of testing that measures the actual lipoproteins in the blood and looks at some of the genetic risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Lipoprotein levels have been shown to be better predictors of risk than traditional cholesterol levels alone, especially in patients with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.