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:
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.
Other names for CAD, the leading cause of death in the U.S. in both men and women, are:
The general term that includes both unstable or prolonged angina and heart attack is acute coronary syndrome.
Risk factors (habits or conditions that increase your chance of getting CAD) are:
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts