Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when the arteries that supply blood to your heart become narrow. This narrowing is caused by atherosclerosis, a build-up
of plaque (fatty deposits). There are two types of plaque:
hard: Hard plaque causes the arteries to become hardened and thick. This type of plaque can cause angina and heart attack.
soft: Soft plaque can break open or break apart and cause a clot. This type of plaque can cause heart attack or stroke (a blocked blood vessel that stops or interrupts
blood and oxygen flow to the brain).
Angina and heart attack can cause the same chest discomfort or pain, but a heart attack doesn't go away after 15 minutes or after taking nitroglycerin. Heart attack, which can cause permanent damage to the heart if medical help isn't sought, is also called a myocardial infarction.
Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in the U.S. Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers, and 10 times as likely to develop peripheral arterial disease (known as PAD).
Nearly two-thirds of the United States population is overweight. There are many ways to determine if a person is overweight, but experts believe that a person's body mass index (BMI) is the best way to assess an adult's weight in relation to their height.