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Treatment Options for Atherosclerotic Coronary Vascular Disease

written by: angiem1981 • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 11/28/2010

Atherosclerotic coronary vascular disease treatment is crucial to preventing serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke. While some of the interventions used to treat coronary artery disease may call for surgery, they may also consist of lifestyle changes or a combination of both.

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    What is Atherosclerotic Coronary Artery Disease?

    Commonly referred to as simply coronary artery disease or CAD, this is a condition in which plaque builds up within the walls of the artery. This phenomenon is called atherosclerosis and has been associated with several disorders and diseases within the vascular system. The restriction of blood flow caused by narrowing of the arteries most often results in heart attack or stroke in the individual. According to the National Institutes of Health, this is one of the most common types of heart diseases that are among the leading causes of death within the United States.

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    What About Atherosclerotic Coronary Vascular Disease Treatment?

    There are a variety of different treatments which may be available for CAD. This may include the use of medications, lifestyle changes and in some patients, surgery may also be an option. However, each of these treatments has different indications depending on the overall health of the patient and the extents of plaque build up within the arteries. The intervention(s) prescribed by the physician is tailored to suit the needs of the patient and will be based on these factors. Surgery may not always be optional, especially if the individual has suffered a complication such as heart attack or stroke.

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    Medication and Surgical Treatment for CAD

    One of the most common medical interventions for this vascular disease is the use of prescription drugs that lower cholesterol levels and are often referred to as blood thinners. Prescriptions may include a regimen of baby aspirin, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and nitroglycerin to name a few. Angioplasty is a procedure involving stents that help keep the arteries open. This is typically a simple outpatient surgery that is fairly quick and offers a short recovery period. The other option for treating atherosclerotic coronary artery disease is a bypass procedure. Rather than attempt to “open up” the arteries, they are simply bypassed. Both have been proven effective in improving the flow of blood and decreasing risks of heart attack and stroke.

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    Lifestyle Changes

    It is important for the patient to remember that lifestyle changes are typically inevitable with atherosclerotic coronary vascular disease treatment, regardless of the type of intervention. Not only can these types of treatments improve and help manage the individual’s current condition but can prevent the potentially deadly complications associated with vascular diseases. These changes often include quitting smoking, exercising regularly and consuming a heart healthy diet. Eating foods rich in nutrients, avoiding fatty, fried foods and reducing sodium intake is a crucial component of almost any heart healthy regimen. Watching the number on the scales can also make quite a difference in CAD, which means the physician may recommend weight loss for the patient considered overweight.

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    Bibliography

    Coronary Artery Disease-Treatments and Drugs. Mayo Clinic. 2, July 2010. Viewed 26, November 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coronary-artery-disease/DS00064/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs

    Coronary Artery Disease-Treatment Overview. WebMd. 29, May 2008. Viewed 26, November 2010. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/coronary-artery-disease-treatment-overview

    How Is Coronary Artery Disease Treated? National Lung, Heart and Blood Institute. National Institutes of Health. 2009 February. Viewed 26, November 2010. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Cad/CAD_Treatments.html