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Health and Disease

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is a very prominent disease affecting numerous individuals throughout the world. In the United States, it is currently the most common heart disease. 

By Bharathi Arivazhagan

Published 11:12 PM EST, Tues June 22, 2021              

Introduction

The earliest case of coronary artery disease was discovered in an Egyptian princess that was mummified. A group of  U.S. and Egyptian researchers discovered that she had symptoms identical to that of coronary artery disease. This discovery emphasizes that this disease was present during the 1500s as the princess lived between 1580 and 1550 BC. Additionally, this discovery allowed the world to gain more insight into this disease. 

What is coronary artery disease? What are its implications? Let’s learn.

Coronary artery disease occurs when there is a presence of plaque that accumulates in the surrounding walls of the arteries in the body. Why is this specifically such a problem? Well, the arteries are essential to supplying blood to parts throughout the body. The plaque that accumulates acts as a way of blockage that could prevent the proper flowing of blood to other parts of the body. This blockage is usually due to the artery being damaged. This process of the blood being blocked by the plaque is called atherosclerosis. Thus, the damage instilled in the blood cells will promote coronary artery disease. Furthermore, if the surface of the plaque ever breaks apart, a clump of blood cells will go and try to support the damage on the artery. However, the clump of the blood cells will further promote the blockage of blood flowing throughout the body. This emphasizes the condition of coronary artery disease. Furthermore, the stopping of the blood flowing throughout the body will possibly promote the experience of a heart attack. 

Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

Symptoms of coronary artery disease are varied and depending on the specific individual. Tightness of the chest and overall chest pain is a common symptom for those with coronary artery disease. There can also be extreme tiredness due to the lack of blood being sent throughout the body, as well as difficulty breathing. Moreover, when the artery is completely blocked, it could lead to a heart attack. A heart attack can occur with evident signs or it can come without them. Some signs can be seen through the great pressure felt in one’s chest, and difficulty breathing as a result. There can also be a pain in one’s arm or shoulder. For women, there can be more of them experiencing not as common signs before experiencing a heart attack. For example, it could be pain experienced in one’s neck or jaw. There can also be feelings of nausea and difficulty being in an aware state. Several other causes can promote the result of one experiencing coronary artery disease. 

What Can Cause Coronary Artery Disease?

As discussed before, the damage created in the surroundings of the artery tends to lead to the causation of the prominent presence of coronary artery disease. This damage can be invoked on the artery in numerous ways. Ways that damage can be invoked on the artery can be seen through a variety of means. Having high cholesterol can overall promote the development of plaque to accumulate as it is made up of cholesterol and waste substances. In regards to cholesterol accumulation, it is often caused when there is an excess of low-density lipoprotein.  Smoking is an extremely significant and common reason for one to develop coronary artery disease. Smoking can cause an immense amount of damage to occur to one’s arteries. This can further make the individual prone to further negative impacts in their health as any damage made to any crucial organ in one’s body system can impact their health in the future, causing them to experience, and be more likely to experience diseases and further health risks. Sometimes, it does not even need to be the person actively smoking to get coronary heart disease. Breathing in secondhand smoke is seen to also impact an individual to develop coronary heart disease. Furthermore, chances of high blood pressure can elevate one’s chances of experiencing coronary artery disease. There are also other risks one may have that can increase their chances of developing coronary artery disease. If someone has high blood pressure they have a higher chance of developing coronary artery disease as it can cause the arteries to be more difficult to structure to allow for the flow of blood to go through. Diabetes can be an initial cause for high blood pressure, further emphasizing it as a cause for someone to experience coronary artery disease. Furthermore, family history, as well as obesity, can cause one to have the disease. For treatment, a lot of emphasis is put on stopping smoking for the individuals who do, as well as improving one’s physical activity. Likewise, some medication can be prescribed by medical professionals in regards to improving the arteries as well as blood flow, and surgeries such as coronary artery bypass graft can be conducted.  

In conclusion, more insight and research are being done on this disease today. 

Bharathi Arivazhagan, Youth Medical Journal 2021

References

“Coronary Artery Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 Dec. 2019, http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/coronary_ad.htm. Accessed 31 May 2021.

“Coronary Artery Disease.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 5 June 2020, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronary-artery-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20350613. Accessed 31 May 2021.

“Earliest Case Of Coronary Artery Disease Found In Egyptian Princess.” American College of Cardiology, 5 Apr. 2011, http://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2011/04/05/16/22/mummies. Accessed 31 May 2021.

By Bharathi Arivazhagan

Bharathi Arivazhagan is a student interested in the fields of public health and molecular biology.

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