Health Center - Heart Health
Small lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing heart disease and stroke, so learn more and start protecting yourself today. If you're living with heart disease, read up on management strategies, from who should be part of your medical team to treatment options to consider.
Heart Disease: All Your Questions Answered
Q. What is heart disease?
A. Coronary heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease (CAD) and ischemic heart disease, is a disease of the heart's blood vessels that, if untreated, can cause heart attacks. Like any muscle, the heart needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients that are carried to it by the blood in the coronary arteries. When the coronary arteries become narrowed or clogged and cannot supply enough blood to the heart, the result is coronary heart disease (CHD).
Q. What causes heart disease?
A. Coronary heart disease starts with atherosclerosis, a process in which fatty substances build up inside the walls of blood vessels. Blood components also stick on the surface inside vessel walls making the vessels narrower and eventually "hardened" and less flexible. The buildup, or "plaque," may break apart, which can further limit blood flow. The buildup and narrowing proceed gradually and result in decreasing blood flow, followed by CHD symptoms.