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Heart Disease

Heart Disease

Coronary artery disease occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart (called coronary heart-diseasearteries).  Plaque buildup can cause angina, the most common symptom of CAD. This condition causes chest pain or discomfort because the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood.



The five major symptoms of a heart attack that everyone should know, they are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back
  • Feeling weak or faint
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder


Risk Factors

There are several inter-related conditions that can increase risk for heart disease. Elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and even diabetes can increase a person’s risk for heart disease. And each of these conditions is heavily represented among the African American male population.



You can prevent heart disease by leading a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking. If you smoke, stop. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can help to avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Walking, jogging, swimming, and regular aerobic activity are good ways to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.



If you have coronary artery disease, you can lower your risk for having a heart attack or worsening heart disease. A doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet, exercising, and not smoking. Medicines can treat CAD risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, and low blood flow. Depending on the state of your specific condition, surgery may be necessary.


References: American Heart Association;  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention