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Overview
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a condition in which there is a buildup of fatty deposits in arteries supplying the heart muscle.  A diet of foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat can increase your risk of this disease.  Fatty deposits form silently; you do not know they are there until they become large enough to significantly restrict blood flow to an area of heart muscle.  When this occurs, chest discomfort or angina pectoris usually results.  Normally a 70% blockage of a coronary artery will cause symptoms of chest discomfort or pain with exercise.
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Angina Pectoris
Angina pectoris feels different for different people.  It may feel like a heaviness or pressure in your chest, or it may be a distinct pain.  If you feel any chest discomfort, you should contact your doctor.Unfortunately, approximately half of patients have a heart attack without prior warning symptoms of angina. Their heart attacks result from the rupture of a plaque (fatty deposit) that takes a moderate lesion to 100%  (blockage) due to a thrombus (blood clot).

Other risk factors for coronary artery disease include smoking and hypertension.  Obesity increases your likelihood of high blood pressure (hypertension) and coronary artery disease. 

Diagnosis of CAD
The gold standard for diagnosing coronary artery disease is coronary arteriography. In this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the leg or arm, and guided to the heart.  A dye is then injected directly into the coronary arteries and x-ray movies are recorded.  Other screening tests for coronary artery disease are treadmill testing, stress echocardiograms, and tracer studies.

Treatment of CAD
Treatment of coronary artery disease consists of:

Medical management using drugs that lower the oxygen requirement of the heart, lower blood pressure, and/or dilate the coronary arteries
 
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