Author: Endonita Hajzeraj
Coronary artery disease (CAD) develops when major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen, and nutrients become diseased or damaged. According to the CDC, coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease in the United States and it is the number one killer. The most common culprit of CAD is plaque that builds up in the walls of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart and other parts of the body. Plaque is essentially made up of deposits of cholesterol.1 This buildup of plaque causes the inside of the arteries to narrow which will eventually block blood flow.
To really understand coronary artery disease, one must understand that this disease is multifaceted. The circumstances in which coronary artery disease can arise are seemingly endless. It is not a disease that discriminates. While there are precursors and risk factors that contribute to the perpetuation of this disease, there are also factors that we cannot change. It is common knowledge to most that there are steps that can be taken to lower the risk of coronary artery disease. These risk factors are but not limited to controlling blood pressure, keeping cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control, staying at a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. These are the most common risk factors that contribute to coronary artery disease and this is where the core of my research focuses on. The other aspects that can contribute to CAD but are not under our control are genetic variations. If you go to the doctor, one of the first things they will ask is if anyone in your family has or has had this disease. This is not different with coronary artery disease. If someone in your family has had coronary artery disease, then you are at a greater risk for the disease.
The sources I have gathered on coronary artery disease take all the aspects and questions one may have about the disease and tries to answer them. I have categorized them into four themes. Each theme contains research specific to that theme. The first theme, mechanism of action/protein, contains the research that is associated with the more biochemical reactions taking place within patients with CAD. This theme explores the reactants and the possible products or outcomes of the chemical reactions. Our bodies go through oxidative stress daily and having certain diseases like CAD can increase the amount of oxidative protein products in our bodies. There are millions of proteins in our bodies that contribute to our functioning. CAD is a disease that has an affect on proteins to do their function. These sources build upon each other as they all discuss various ways that proteins are associated with CAD.
The most common word that is associated with CAD is cholesterol. This is the biggest culprit of CAD. The definition of coronary artery disease is a blockage of arteries that decreases or halts blood flow to the heart and other areas of the body. This blockage is due to cholesterol plaque buildup. As we know, cholesterol is produced in our bodies regularly, however if we consume a poor diet with high “bad cholesterol” levels, this increases the amount of cholesterol flowing in the blood, in turn, causing plaque buildup. The sources here are deliberately researching the clear associated of cholesterol and plaque buildup with coronary artery disease.
The way we choose to live our lives has an affect on our health. This lifestyle can include stress that puts pressure on our cells and proteins. The diet we consume makes building of plaque easier and puts us at a greater risk for CAD. A sedentary life and obesity are factors as well. The CDC reports that more than one third of U.S. adults have obesity.2 The more overweight you are, the greater the chance of getting heart disease. Since obesity and CAD have a proportionate relationship, to understand the effects of obesity is to understand CAD.
We all know that a healthy lifestyle is important for maintaining a healthy heart, but what about those that are seemingly healthy and yet still have CAD? This last theme tries to address these issues we have here. The sources show the genetic evidence of genetic risk factors associated with CAD. This includes tracing it back to your familial genetic lineage, understanding the genetic cues that can determine whether you will be diagnosed with coronary artery disease in the future.
CAD is an important disease that affects people everywhere and is the number one killer. The themes that I have chosen to focus on are the four main issues that researchers are continuously studying to move the field forward. These themes all overlap with one another. There are sources that can be used in one theme as evidence for a claim made in another theme. The internetworking of these themes proves that these themes are important for discussing the prevalence and maintenance of coronary artery disease. Under the lifestyle theme, there is a subtheme titled therapy. Although coronary artery disease is not something that you can necessarily cure, there are ways to prevent it and ways to maintain it. Drug therapy is the most prevalent means to maintain CAD and this field is continuously trying to progress toward better drug therapy. The two research groups of Shahsavari and Joshi studied the differences in efficacy of certain CAD drugs alone along with combinations to determine the best possible therapy for patients. Drug therapy is continuously studied to keep the moving field forward.
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