Eric is a 47 year old male who
was recently diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is the most
common heart disease, and it directly impacts the body’s circulatory system
plus indirectly impacts the rest of the body.
CAD occurs when the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen rich
blood become damaged or diseased due to plaque buildup. “With coronary artery
disease, plaque first grows within the walls of the coronary arteries until the
blood flow to the heart’s muscle is limited” (American Heart Associationn AHA,
2017). CAD can be either chronic, where
the blockage slowly develops over time, or acute, where it happens suddenly from
something like a rupture of plaque or formation of a blood clot (AHA, 2017).
Frequently the signs and symptoms of CAD will
go unnoticed until after there is already major damage or even a heart attack has
occurred. Some of the typical symptoms of CAD include: shortness of breath or
extreme exhaustion; chest pain feeling like tightness or pressure; and ultimately
a heart attack (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Men
and women, though, frequently experience different symptoms for CAD. Men are more prone to experiencing the
typical symptoms while women are more likely to experience less typical systems
with CAD and even heart attacks. For
women, some of the symptoms of CAD and a heart attack include: neck, jaw,
shoulder and back pain; nausea or vomiting; fatigue; lightheadedness; and sweating
(Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). The reason
why a heart attack is frequently the only and final symptom of CAD is it occurs
when the arteries are finally completely blocked from the buildup of plaque.
genetic and lifestyle choices can increase the likelihood of a person
developing CAD. Plaque buildup can start
to form as early as childhood. “Coronary
artery disease begins in childhood, so that by the teenage years, there is
evidence that plaques that will stay with us for life are formed in most people…”
(AHA, 2017). Additional causes of damage
to the coronary arteries include: smoking; high blood pressure; high
cholesterol; diabetes or insulin resistance; and sedentary lifestyle. There are also risk factors which can
contribute to the forming of CAD. Risk
factors for include: age; family history; smoking; high blood pressure; high
blood cholesterol; diabetes; obesity or being overweight; physical inactivity;
sleep apnea; high sensitivity C-reactive protein; high triglycerides; and
homocysteine (Mayo Clinic, 2017). For
women, additional risk factors have been found to add development of CAD. These risk factors include: mental stress and
depression; menopause; broken heart syndrome; pregnancy complications; and
inflammatory diseases (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016).
is a condition that impacts both the body’s circulatory system and the rest of
the body. When plaque builds up in the blood
vessels, it prevents oxygen rich blood from being pumped to the heart. Not only does the plaque buildup impact blood
flow to the heart, it also impacts blood flow to the rest of the body because
it is restricting or all together stopping the heart from pumping blood to the
rest of the body. Restricted blood flow
to the kidneys can cause hypertension or even kidney failure, and slowed blood
flow to the brain can cause a stroke (Steady Health, n.d.). By restricting blood flow to the circulatory
system due to plaque build, the rest of the body’s systems are deprived of
oxygen and nutrient rich blood which are needed to fully function properly.
also has an economic impact on the individual and society as a whole.
the patient, Eric, multiple risk factors appear to have contributed to his
development of CAD. His age; his smoking
habit of approximately 1 1?2 packs of cigarettes
a day; his sedentary lifestyle which includes drinking a 6-pack; and extended
time away from his wife and children are all factors that impacted his health
and would put him at risk of CAD.