- Coronary heart disease—Loss of blood to areas of the heart
- Stroke—Loss of blood to areas of the brain
- Peripheral vascular disease—Loss of blood to the extremities
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- Family history of the disease
- Age 45 years and older in men; 55 years and older in women
- Sex: Male
- High cholesterol—Especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet
- Cigarette smoking
- Diabetes type 1 and type 2
- Overweight and obesity
- Lack of physical activity
Metabolic syndrome—A combination of three out of the following five findings:
- Low HDL-cholesterol—Also called good cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Elevated blood sugar
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased waist circumference—greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
- Coronary arteries of the heart—May cause symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain
- Arteries to the brain—May cause symptoms of a stroke such as weakness, vision problems, speech problems, or headache
- Arteries in the lower extremities—May cause pain in the legs or feet and trouble walking
- Balloon angioplasty—A balloon-tipped catheter is used to press plaque against the wall of the artery. This increases the amount of space for the blood to flow.
- Stenting—Usually done after angioplasty. A wire mesh tube is placed in a damaged artery. It will support the wall of the artery and keep it open.
- Atherectomy—Instruments are inserted via catheter. They are used to cut away and remove plaque so that blood can flow more easily. This procedure is not used as often.
- Endarterectomy—Removal of the lining of an artery obstructed with large plaques. This is often done in carotid arteries of the neck. These arteries bring blood to the brain.
- Arterioplasty—Repair of an aneurysm. It is usually done with synthetic tissue.
- Bypass—Creation of an alternate route for blood flow. The procedure uses a separate vessel for blood to flow.
- Eat a healthy diet. It should be low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It should also be rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, lose weight.
- Don't smoke. If you smoke, quit.
- Control diabetes.
- If your doctor recommends it, take medication to reduce your risk factors. This may include medicine for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Talk to your doctor about screening tests for coronary artery disease if you have risk factors.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca
Coronary artery disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 30, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2013.
Heart and stroke statistics. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/General/Heart-and-Stroke-Association-Statistics%5FUCM%5F319064%5FSubHomePage.jsp#. Accessed May 8, 2013.