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- 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
- 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
—A combination of 3 out of the following 5 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, talk to your doctor about ways to quit .
- Control any chronic conditions you may have, such as diabetes.
- If your doctor recommends it, take medication to reduce your risk factors. This may include medication for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Talk to your doctor about screening tests for coronary artery disease if you have risk factors.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
- Review Date: 03/2016
- Update Date: 05/02/2014