Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. It’s also the leading cause of death in American men and women, so early treatment is life-saving. At his practice, Samuel I. Fink, MD, Inc., Dr. Fink has extensive experience helping patients prevent coronary artery disease and providing expert treatment to protect your health after disease develops. If you’re concerned about your risk for coronary artery disease, schedule an appointment using online booking or by calling the office in Tarzana, California.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) develops due to a common blood vessel problem: the buildup of cholesterol in an artery. When you have CAD, cholesterol accumulates in one of the major arteries serving your heart.
After cholesterol attaches to an artery wall, the area becomes inflamed and begins to collect calcium and other fats from your blood, creating plaque. As plaque enlarges and hardens, it narrows the artery, which reduces blood supply to your heart muscles.
When your heart muscles don’t receive enough blood, they’re deprived of oxygen and nutrients, which affects their ability to function. The symptoms of CAD include:
In some cases, the first symptom may be a heart attack that occurs when the plaque ruptures and forms a blood clot.
Coronary artery disease can be prevented by avoiding these risk factors:
If you have any of these risk factors, a family history of CAD or you’re older than 50, it’s important to schedule routine preventive checkups so Dr. Fink can catch early signs of heart problems.
Common diagnostic tests for CAD include an electrocardiogram to assess electrical signals in your heart and an echocardiogram, which creates an image that shows damaged muscles and overall muscle function.
Dr. Fink also performs stress echo testing, or stress echocardiography. During a stress echo test, you’ll walk on a treadmill while your blood pressure and heart rhythm are monitored. When your heart rate reaches peak levels, Dr. Fink uses ultrasound imaging to evaluate cardiac function in order to determine whether there is a possibility of narrowed coronary arteries.
A variety of medications are used to treat CAD. Depending on your condition, you may receive medication to lower cholesterol, thin your blood, lower blood pressure, slow your heart rate, or relieve chest pain.
When more aggressive treatment is needed, Dr. Fink may recommend a consultation with a cardiologist to consider an angioplasty and stent placement to open up the narrowed artery.
The best way to prevent CAD is with routine checkups. To schedule an appointment, call Samuel I. Fink, MD, Inc., or use the online booking feature.