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Understanding Coronary Artery Disease

Clip Number: 3 of 13
Presentation: Exercise Stress Test
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Heart disease in the coronary arteries occurs when they become clogged from a buildup of cells, fat and cholesterol. This buildup is called plaque. As the inside of the coronary arteries gather plaque and become narrow, they decrease the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.
Without proper blood and oxygen, the heart muscle eventually weakens and begins to wear out. This decreases the heart's ability to pump normally.
When you are doing an activity that requires physical effort, your heart muscle demands more blood and oxygen. But if the heart is not pumping effectively, this need cannot be met.
As a result, you may experience symptoms such as angina, or chest pain, irregular heartbeats, and shortness of breath. These symptoms may indicate heart disease.

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