Consumer Health: What is coronary artery disease?

a medical illustration of coronary artery disease

The coronary arteries supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to your heart. A buildup of cholesterol-containing deposits, or plaques, can narrow these arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. This damage to the major blood vessels that supply your heart is called coronary artery disease.

At first, the decreased blood flow may not cause any symptoms. As plaque continues to build up in your coronary arteries, however, you may develop chest pain and shortness of breath. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.

Learn more about coronary artery disease, including the causes and risk factors, and what you can do to keep yourself healthy.

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