Sunday, January 31, 2010


The arteries to the heart (coronary arteries) supply blood to the heart muscle that allows the heart to function properly. When fatty material (plaque) builds up in the arteries, the arteries are damaged and platelets (components in the blood that activate clotting) stick together in these areas of damage and cut off blood flow. This can lead to lack of oxygen to the heart muscle (ischemia) which can progress to a heart attack (myocardial infarction).  There have been many clinical studies that identify risk factors for developing coronary artery disease. The most well know study, "The Framingham Study" was a study of families living in Framingham, Massachusetts.  By addressing these risk factors, one can reduce the chance of coronary artery disease. Sometimes, a patient is given a warning of coronary artery disease in the form of chest pain (angina).  Unfortunately, coronary artery disease may not produce any symptoms to warn the patient of impending diaster. A heart attack (uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness in the chest; pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or abdomen; shortness of breath; sweating, nausea or light-headedness) or even worse, sudden cardiac death, may be the first sign of coronary artery disease.
What are the risk factors?
(1) Genetics (Family History of Coronary Artery Disease)
(2) Smoking
(3) Hypertension
(4) Diabetes
(5) Age: over 40 years for men and 45 years for women
(6) Obesity and low physical activity
(7) Elevated Cholesterol (high total cholesterol; low HDL; High LDH)
(8) Elevated Triglycerides
(9) Male Sex

What can you do?
(1) Stop Smoking
(2) Treat High Blood Pressure
(3) Control Blood Sugar
(4) Eat a Balance diet with an emphasis on high fiber; fruits; vegetables; whole grains.
     Limit intake of animal fats, "trans" fats, sugars and starches.
(5) Exercise at least 30 minutes daily
(6) Lower your Cholesterol through diet, exercise and medications as prescribed.

Go to
to calculate your risk of
coronary artery disease.