Eric is a 47 year old male whowas recently diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease, or CAD, is the mostcommon heart disease, and it directly impacts the body’s circulatory systemplus indirectly impacts the rest of the body. CAD occurs when the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen richblood become damaged or diseased due to plaque buildup. “With coronary arterydisease, plaque first grows within the walls of the coronary arteries until theblood flow to the heart’s muscle is limited” (American Heart Associationn AHA,2017). CAD can be either chronic, wherethe blockage slowly develops over time, or acute, where it happens suddenly fromsomething like a rupture of plaque or formation of a blood clot (AHA, 2017). Frequently the signs and symptoms of CAD willgo unnoticed until after there is already major damage or even a heart attack hasoccurred. Some of the typical symptoms of CAD include: shortness of breath orextreme exhaustion; chest pain feeling like tightness or pressure; and ultimatelya heart attack (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
Menand women, though, frequently experience different symptoms for CAD. Men are more prone to experiencing thetypical symptoms while women are more likely to experience less typical systemswith CAD and even heart attacks. Forwomen, 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 reasonwhy a heart attack is frequently the only and final symptom of CAD is it occurswhen the arteries are finally completely blocked from the buildup of plaque. Bothgenetic and lifestyle choices can increase the likelihood of a persondeveloping CAD. Plaque buildup can startto form as early as childhood. “Coronaryartery disease begins in childhood, so that by the teenage years, there isevidence that plaques that will stay with us for life are formed in most people…”(AHA, 2017). Additional causes of damageto the coronary arteries include: smoking; high blood pressure; highcholesterol; diabetes or insulin resistance; and sedentary lifestyle. There are also risk factors which cancontribute to the forming of CAD.
Riskfactors for include: age; family history; smoking; high blood pressure; highblood cholesterol; diabetes; obesity or being overweight; physical inactivity;sleep apnea; high sensitivity C-reactive protein; high triglycerides; andhomocysteine (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Forwomen, additional risk factors have been found to add development of CAD. These risk factors include: mental stress anddepression; menopause; broken heart syndrome; pregnancy complications; andinflammatory diseases (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016). CADis a condition that impacts both the body’s circulatory system and the rest ofthe body.
When plaque builds up in the bloodvessels, it prevents oxygen rich blood from being pumped to the heart. Not only does the plaque buildup impact bloodflow to the heart, it also impacts blood flow to the rest of the body becauseit is restricting or all together stopping the heart from pumping blood to therest of the body. Restricted blood flowto the kidneys can cause hypertension or even kidney failure, and slowed bloodflow to the brain can cause a stroke (Steady Health, n.
d.). By restricting blood flow to the circulatorysystem due to plaque build, the rest of the body’s systems are deprived ofoxygen and nutrient rich blood which are needed to fully function properly. CADalso has an economic impact on the individual and society as a whole. Forthe patient, Eric, multiple risk factors appear to have contributed to hisdevelopment of CAD. His age; his smokinghabit of approximately 1 1?2 packs of cigarettesa day; his sedentary lifestyle which includes drinking a 6-pack; and extendedtime away from his wife and children are all factors that impacted his healthand would put him at risk of CAD.