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Coronary Artery Disease

Cardiology Specialists of Orange County

Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases & Interventional Cardiology located in Santa Ana, CA; Newport Beach, CA; & Irvine, CA

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a leading cause of heart attack that develops when the arteries serving your heart get too narrow to deliver sufficient oxygen. If you're suffering symptoms that could be due to CAD, Cardiology Specialists of Orange County's knowledgeable, experienced cardiologists can help. They have state-of-the-art laboratory facilities at the practice's locations in Santa Ana, Irvine, and Newport Beach, California, and deliver advanced treatments to address the causes of CAD. For expert assistance that could help prevent a heart attack, call the office closest to you or book an appointment online today.

Coronary Artery Disease Q & A

What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease affects the large blood vessels that supply oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your heart. The affected arteries narrow to the point of restricting blood flow and can form blockages that trigger a heart attack.

Coronary artery disease or CAD develops quite slowly due to a gradual build-up of a substance known as plaque. This sticky residue consists mostly of calcium and cholesterol from your blood, which comes together and attaches itself to the linings of your arteries.

This build-up of plaque (atherosclerosis) can affect any of the arteries around your body, causing problems like carotid artery disease in the blood vessels that serve your brain and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in the arteries of your legs.

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?

The first step to a diagnosis of coronary artery disease is your consultation at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County. 

Your provider performs a physical examination, listens to your heart, and reviews your symptoms and any relevant family or personal medical history. You might then need to undergo diagnostic tests, such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Exercise stress test
  • Nuclear stress test
  • Holter monitoring
  • Event monitoring

These tests are all available at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County's on-site labs.

What treatments are available for coronary artery disease?

Lifestyle changes form the basis of coronary artery disease treatment. A heart-healthy diet, more exercise, weight loss, and stopping smoking can all tackle the causes of CAD; however, they might not be enough on their own. If so, there are a variety of medications that can help in various ways.

Medicines like statins effectively reduce cholesterol levels, and simple aspirin can prevent blood from forming clots that could block the artery. Beta-blockers and other drugs like ACE inhibitors slow down your heart rate and lower blood pressure, reducing the quantity of oxygen your heart needs.

What happens if my coronary artery disease is severe?

If your arteries have severe narrowing, you might need to undergo a minimally invasive procedure called balloon angioplasty (with or without stenting). Your provider at Cardiology Specialists of Orange County uses a cardiac catheterization technique to pass a slim tube along an artery.

When it's in position, they inflate a tiny balloon to squash the plaque flat. Your provider may also fit a stent —  a mesh tube that fits inside the treated area of your artery to help keep it open.

Severe coronary artery disease is the main cause of heart attack, so it's vital to get prompt treatment.

If you're concerned about coronary artery disease, call Cardiology Specialists of Orange County or book an appointment online today.