Causes of coronary artery disease
Risk factors for coronary artery disease are:
- High cholesterol:
A high level of LDL, or bad cholesterol, increases chances of blocked arteries. Experts say a level of less than 5.2 mmol/L is best.
- High blood pressure:
Makes the heart work harder, straining arteries. An optimal blood pressure for adults is less than 120/80.
Can cause circulation problems due to blood vessel damage, increasing the risk of high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.
Extra weight makes the heart work harder, leading to high blood pressure.
- Physical inactivity:
Exercise increases levels of HDL, or good cholesterol, which removes plaque from the bloodstream.
A person's risk of heart attack doubles if their mother had a heart attack before age 65 or father had one before age 55.
Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke makes it harder for blood to carry oxygen and the heart must work harder. Nicotine makes the heart beat faster and blood vessels narrow.
These warnings signs may signal that you have coronary artery disease:
- Sudden pain in chest, neck, jaw, shoulders, arms or back. The pain can feel like squeezing, heaviness, pressure, burning or tightness.
- Problems breathing
- Vomiting, nausea
- Clammy skin