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Are You at Risk for Coronary Artery Disease?

In terms of numbers alone, coronary artery disease (CAD) affects about 5% of the adult population aged 20 and older in the United States, which places millions at risk for this serious heart disease. 

Given that CAD is the most common form of heart disease, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US, it’s worth understanding your specific risks, which extend far beyond simply figuring the odds.

To paint a clearer picture, the team here at Upper East Side Cardiology, led by Dr. Satjit Bhusri, wants to focus on CAD in this month’s blog post. We emphasize preventive cardiology at our practice, and one of the keys to preventing heart disease is to understand and mitigate your risks

What is coronary artery disease?

First, let just quickly review what CAD is and why we’re concerned about this form of cardiovascular disease. 

While your heart is mostly known for delivering oxygen-rich blood to every corner of your body, this hard-working muscle needs its own supply of blood and oxygen. Performing this crucial task are your coronary arteries, which cover the surface of the organ to deliver the resources your heart needs to keep pumping.

When you have CAD, there’s plaque buildup in these vessels, which can progressively limit the supply of blood to your heart as the arteries narrow. When there’s a limited blood supply to your heart, it isn’t getting enough oxygen, which is called ischemia. As a result of ischemia, your risk for having a heart attack or stroke rises considerably.

Common risk factors for coronary artery disease

Now that we’ve grabbed your attention with the potential complications of CAD, let’s review some of the more common risk factors for this disease, which include:

Cholesterol imbalances

If you have high levels of low-density lipoproteins or low levels of high-density lipoproteins, or a combination of the two, you have more cholesterol in your bloodstream, which can lead to plaque buildup.

High blood pressure

When the pressure of the blood damages the lining of your arteries, it leaves them more vulnerable to collecting cholesterol and developing plaque deposits.


When you smoke, you damage and weaken your blood vessels, making them more susceptible to plaque buildup.

Other common risk factors for CAD include having obesity or diabetes. And, in the category of risk factors you can’t control, family history and age can also play roles in increasing your risk for CAD.

Preventing or managing CAD

We’re big believers in preventing or reversing heart disease through healthy practices. Our own Dr. Bhusri went through a life-threatening cardiac event, and he understands better than most the steps you need to take to reverse the course of the disease.

Given our list above, you can see that there are areas where we can make changes, such as getting your blood pressure down and your cholesterol levels balanced through diet and exercise.

We look at each person individually and come up with a heart-health plan that will help prevent or better manage serious heart diseases like CAD.

To figure out whether you’re at risk for CAD, we invite you to contact our New York City office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to set up an appointment. You can also call (212) 752-3464.

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