Coronary Artery Disease Description

Coronary artery disease occurs when the heart muscle becomes narrowed and hardened as it decreases blood movements into your heart. This happens as a result of fat and other substances gathering in the coronary artery, which may lead to heart failure. There are ways to stop and manage CAD in most patients.

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Etiology – cover what is happening as the cause or causes, completely and at the level of the organ, structure, process or tissues. For example if we were talking about diabetes and the answer was “high blood sugar levels”; that would not be adequate. Cover what the causes are; Type I the islet cells of the pancreas have been destroyed, this is considered an autoimmune disorder. The failure of the pancreas to secrete insulin results in high blood glucose levels.

Coronary artery disease is caused by diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure and an inactive lifestyle. It affects the arteries, if they are blocked it can cause a heart attack. CAD is caused by arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis means changes in the arteries. In the textbook Pathophysiology for the Health Professions (2018), the authors explain, “elasticity is lost, the walls become thick and hard and lumen gradually narrows and becomes obstructed” (p.233). In addition, the authors states, “Atherosclerosis are plaques of lipids, cells, fibrin and cell debris that are created in the walls of the large arteries” (p.234). Bad lifestyle habits lead to damaged endothelium due to fatty streak and lipid core formation which will then turn into fibrous plaque which is complicated by thrombus deposition. Coronary arteries with a partial occlusion generally result in angina pectoris while total occlusion results in myocardial infarction.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of CAD are nausea, fatigue, SOB, weakness, angina and arrhythmia.

Diagnostic procedures – give the procedure and what it is evaluating or will tell us. In other words, why do the test?

The diagnostic procedures for CAD are electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and cardiac catherization. The electrocardiogram is used to determine the rhythm of the heart. Echocardiogram is another procedure were you can see the heart through an ultrasound. Cardiac catherization is another diagnostic procedure where they place a tube that is able to measure blood pressure and can also gather blood samples from the heart.

Treatments- give the treatment and what the expected improvement is, what does the drug, diet modification or whatever the treatment is do?

Treatment for CAD includes making lifestyle changes. Sometimes adding drugs such as cholesterol lowering medications and beta blockers can help as well. Cholesterol lowering drugs help by reducing the amount of primarily LDL in the blood. Beta blockers are a good treatment option because they diminish your heart need for oxygen, slows your heart rate and reduce your hypertension. Coronary artery bypass surgery is done when many arteries are narrowed or blocked. This is so that blood can move around the blocked artery.


In patients who have long term prognosis it is very hard to determine how long they will actually live. Patients who survive acute infarction live a few more years.

Prevention strategies

Prevention strategies for CAD are exercising, controlling conditions such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and diabetes. You should eat a diet that is heavy in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Cultural influences

According to Harvard Health Publishing African Americans are more at risk of having some type of cardiovascular disease. Southern Asians are at a greater chance of developing coronary artery disease, while Eastern Asians tend to have a less chance of having heart diseases. (Harvard Health Publishing, 2015)

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Coronary Artery Disease Description. (2021, Mar 24). Retrieved August 20, 2022 , from

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