What Causes Coronary Artery Disease?

Jihad Ali Mustapha Cardiologist Las Vegas, NV

J. A. Mustapha, MD, FACC, FSCAI, is a well-versed interventional cardiologist, Critical Limb Ischemia specialist, and amputation prevention advocate who diagnoses and treats patients at Advanced Cardiac & Vascular Centers for Amputation Prevention in Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan & Las Vegas, Nevada. The practice... more

Coronary artery disease occurs when the major blood vessels that supply your heart become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaques) in your coronary arteries and inflammation are usually the cause of coronary artery disease.

The coronary arteries supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your heart. The buildup of plaque can narrow these arteries, which decreases blood flow to your heart. Eventually, the reduced blood flow may cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. A complete blockage can lead to a heart attack. Some types of this condition may be caused by disease or injury affecting how the arteries work in the heart. 

Coronary artery disease often develops over decades. You may not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. But you can take steps to prevent and treat coronary artery disease. Having a healthy lifestyle can make a big impact on your health.