How to Live With Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease or simply heart disease, is characterized by damage to the arteries that feed the heart. In severe cases, plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries, blocking blood flow to the heart muscle, which causes a heart attack. Coronary artery disease can also cause other heart and circulatory diseases including angina, congestive heart failure and even stroke. Coronary artery disease is a permanent condition as the damage to the arteries is irreversible. However, with medical intervention and lifestyle changes you can prevent further damage and live a productive life with coronary artery disease.


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    Maintain regular contact with your cardiologist.
    • Early stages of heart disease could have no symptoms, or the symptoms could be easily mistaken for something else. Without regular checkups and testing your heart disease could progress without your knowledge.
    • Regular physicals, testing and heart scans will keep you and your doctor on top of things and help him make changes or adjustments to your treatment regimen, if necessary.
    • Your cardiologist can also give you more information on how to live with coronary artery disease.
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    Take all of your medications and follow your treatment plan as directed.
    • Your doctor could prescribe medications such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, or aspirin therapy to relax the blood vessels and prevent further blockages.
    • If you have conditions that are risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as hypertension, diabetes, or high blood cholesterol, your doctor will also prescribe medications for these conditions.
    • Notify your doctor immediately if your symptoms worsen or if you experience severe side effects from your medication.
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    Make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of further damage to your arteries, heart attack and stroke.
    • Quit smoking and other tobacco use. If you have difficulty quitting, consider a smoking cessation program, prescription medication or joining a support group.
    • Consume no more than one alcoholic beverage per day which is equal to: 12 oz. (354 ml) of beer, up to 9 oz. (266 ml) of malt liquor, 5 oz. (147 ml) of table wine, up to 4 oz. (118 ml) of fortified wine, up to 3 oz. (88 ml) of cordial or liqueur, and 1.5 oz. (44 ml) of brandy or hard liquor.
    • Get at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, unless otherwise directed by your physician. Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program to confirm that your heart is strong enough.
    • Consume a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken breast and fish. Use healthy, monounsaturated, fats, such as olive oil and fish oil, in place of saturated fats like butter and lard.
    • Practice stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and journaling.


  • Symptoms of coronary artery disease include, but are not limited to: tightness or heaviness in the chest; pain in the back, chest, arms, stomach, neck or jaw; dizziness, light-headedness, weakness and fatigue; nausea or vomiting; rapid or irregular heart beat; and shortness of breath.
  • Symptoms of a heart attack include, but are not limited to: sudden, severe pain in the chest and/or radiating down one or both arms or up into the neck; sudden, severe nausea, dizziness, and sweating; sudden difficulty breathing, paleness and possibly loss of consciousness.


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Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure