The Incidence and Prevalence of CAD
CAD is the most widespread heart disease in the United States. Only in 2019, it took the lives of almost four hundred thousand people, and the number is continuously growing (Heart disease in the United States, 2021). CAD is often not related to age since more than eighteen million Americans from twenty years old and older suffer from it. This number constitutes almost seven percent of the whole adult population of the USA. In addition, the disease has high death rates. Two in ten CAD-related deaths happen in adults younger than sixty-five (Heart disease in the United States, 2021). Men are more susceptible to Coronary artery disease than women. Apart from that, race and age also influence the risks of the development of CAD. CAD risks grow after the age of sixty-five, but not for everyone. They are also affected by additional factors such as genetics, way of life, and other diseases. When speaking about the influence of race or sex on CAD and heart diseases in general, it is necessary to note that people of all ethnicities have almost the same risks of developing heart-related issues. In addition, for women, heart disease is second to cancer by the number of deaths.
Pathophysiology of CAD on the Cellular Level
The main reason for CAD is the narrowing of coronary arteries, which lead blood to the heart and other parts and systems of the human body. The arteries narrow because of the plaque buildup since the whole process prevents the regular circulation of blood (Coronary artery disease, 2021). The plaques usually form from cholesterol supplies. The process of their formation is rather slow, so people may not feel symptoms of CAD for a long time before cardiac arrest. The slow process has severe outcomes, since the symptoms of coronary artery disease may occur suddenly and unexpectedly for a person. When a plaque becomes big enough, it violates blood circulation towards the heart, which causes an imbalance in the delivery and consumption of blood by the myocardium. Hence, the heart’s need for oxygen does not coincide with its real supplies delivered by narrowing arteries.
The oxygen deficiency usually causes angina or heart arteries spasm. Angina is the most common form of CAD, and many factors may boost it. There exist two different groups of them, which are modified and unmodified factors (Coronary artery disease, 2021). The most common of the unmodified factors include sex, age, genetics, and concomitant disease. Hence, people with diabetes, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure have increased risks of developing coronary artery disease. The modified factors are the way of life, smoking, eating habits, physical activity, and the degree of stress. Thus, the lower degree of physical activity triples the chance of CAD emerging, especially for the patients with excessive weight. In addition, smoking harmfully influences the condition of the arteries, which also leads to high risks of the development of coronary artery disease.
Clinical Manifestations of CAD
Since the formation of plaques is rather slow, coronary artery disease may have no symptoms for a long time, and people may not know that they are likely to have it. The first clinical manifestation of CAD is usually chest pain or angina. In that case, people usually feel additional pressure or tightness in the chest area, as if something heavy was put on it (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020). The main reason for angina is usually severe stress or shock. However, many people do not pay much attention to the pain in the area of the chest since it ceases in several minutes after the stress factor is gone. Angina may be accompanied by high blood pressure or tachycardia.
The next manifestation is shortened breath since the heart cannot pump blood effectively, which causes the deficit of oxygen in the body. It usually comes together with weakness and increased fatigue. The severest symptom of CAD is a heart attack. It usually happens when cholesterol plaques fully block a coronary artery (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020). Heart attack is usually accompanied by chest or arm pains, shortened breath, and sweating. It is important to consider all the risk factors and go on regular medical check-ups to prevent cholesterol plaques formation and further development of CAD and heart disease in general. If CAD is not properly treated, it may turn into cardiosclerosis when the number of the myocardium is reduced and replaced by the connective tissue. It also causes the violation of the energy exchange in the myocardium which leads to its weakening.
Coronary artery disease. (2021). National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion , Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Web.
Heart disease in the United States. (2021). National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion , Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Web.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020). Coronary artery disease.Mayo Clinic. Web.