Is coronary artery disease terminal?

Coronary heart disease cannot be cured, but treatment can help control symptoms and reduce the chance of problems such as heart attacks.

Coronary artery disease (CAD

) is treatable, but there is no cure. This means that, once you have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, you have to learn to live with it for the rest of your life. By reducing your risk factors and losing your fears, you can live a full life despite CAD.

If you have intermittent symptoms of CAD, you should tell your healthcare provider. Many people avoid talking about symptoms or ignore them out of fear or denial. Without treatment, CAD will worsen and can suddenly cause a fatal heart attack or it can cause a heart attack that causes lifelong complications and a decrease in quality of life. The coronary arteries run along the outside of the heart and have small branches that supply blood to the heart muscle.

The heart supplies blood to the body (and to itself) through a network of vessels called coronary arteries. That's why it's important for people to have regular medical check-ups and talk to their doctors if they have symptoms of coronary artery disease. For people with any degree of coronary artery disease, lifestyle modifications, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise and smoking cessation, will help promote a longer and more vigorous life. The preventive cardiology team at UT Southwestern helps patients understand their risk of coronary artery disease through detailed evaluations and tests, as well as an evaluation of hereditary risk factors and other conditions that could affect their heart health.

Usually, veins are removed from the leg, but arteries in the chest or arm can also be used to create a bypass graft. Patients with coronary artery disease that was detected early and people with one or more high risk factors for developing it usually receive effective treatment with lifestyle changes and medications. Other smaller branches of the coronary arteries include the marginal obtuse (OM), the septal perforator (SP) and the diagonals. They can occur after years of untreated coronary heart disease, when the arteries become so sick that there is a complete blockage of blood flow through the coronary arteries.

The problem starts when a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. People who have received treatment for serious coronary artery disease or are at risk of developing it can reduce their chance of having heart problems in the future with the help of UT Southwestern's collaborative cardiac rehabilitation team. As one of the country's leading academic medical centers, UT Southwestern offers a series of clinical trials aimed at improving outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease. The coronary arteries can narrow and become blocked due to a build-up of cholesterol and fat called plaque (atherosclerosis).

If part of the plaque accumulated in the coronary arteries breaks, a blood clot forms, which can completely clog the artery and deprive the heart of oxygen. Simply by controlling your risk factors for coronary heart disease and staying in shape, you can prevent a heart episode if you are diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

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