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What Is Coronary Artery Disease ?

2013-06-07 

Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease, is a condition in which plaque (plak) builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.

Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol (ko-LES-ter-ol), calcium, and other substances found in the blood. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis (ATH-er-o-skler-O-sis).

Figure A shows a normal artery with normal blood flow. Figure B shows an artery with plaque buildup.

Plaque narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to your heart muscle. It also makes it more likely that blood clots will form in your arteries. Blood clots can partially or completely block blood flow.

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