Heart Conditions

Uncovering the causes of Coronary Artery Disease

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By Apollo 24|7, Reviewed by Dr. Srividya Kalavagunta, Verified by Dr. Ima Rashid, Published on - 23 May 2024

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One of the major causes of death globally, coronary artery disease (CAD) claims the lives of a considerable number of people each year. It happens because the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart muscle, constrict or get blocked. Understanding the causes of CAD is essential to managing and preventing it. We shall explore the main causes of CAD in this article. 

Major Cause of CAD: Atherosclerosis

The main cause of coronary artery disease (CAD) is atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque inside the arteries. Cholesterol, fat, and other materials make up plaque. The inner walls of the coronary arteries get blocked and hardened by these plaques, which prevents blood flow to the heart. As a result, the chance of issues relating to the heart gradually increases. 

Some of the factors that contribute to atherosclerosis include high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol levels and smoking.

Other Causes of CAD

Stress: Stress can lead to an elevation in blood pressure and heartbeat due to the production of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline thus facilitating the development of CAD. Long term stress can also cause inflammation and plaque buildup in the arteries.

Unhealthy diet: Eating a lot of foods high in trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol increases blood pressure and possibly leads to CAD. Also, low dietary fiber intake which comes from vegetables and fruits leads to high cholesterol.  

Physical Inactivity: Physical inactivity increases the risk of CAD by contributing to weight gain and obesity, poor vascular fitness, and inflammation. It can also result in reduced elasticity of blood vessels thus making hypertension worse. The risk of CAD can be reduced by engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week.

Diabetes: Raised blood sugar levels can contribute to arterial damage and increase the risk of CAD. When blood sugar is consistently on the higher side, a process called glycation occurs. This is where sugar molecules attach to proteins and fats in your body. Glycation can interfere with how your cells normally function. It accelerates plaque formation in CAD.

Genetic factors: The development of CAD is largely influenced by genetic factors, and family history is a powerful predictor of disease vulnerability. An individual's chance of developing CAD is greatly influenced by a similar history of CAD in the family. 

Alcohol consumption: Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a reduced risk of CAD by improving endothelial dysfunction and increasing HDL-C concentration. On the other hand, higher consumption leads to arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, hypertension and triglycerides, which raises the risk of CAD. Therefore, as a means of eliminating the adverse effects, it is extremely crucial to have moderation and balance.

Medical Conditions Associated with CAD 

Some of the conditions that can increase the risk of CAD include hypertension, diabetes,obesity,autoimmune disorders, and untreated sleep apnea. These conditions can worsen arterial damage and contribute to cardiovascular dysfunction. 


Coronary artery disease (CAD) may arise from a complicated interplay of factors such as lifestyle decisions, genetic susceptibility, and underlying medical disorders. Excessive alcohol use, smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise are other major lifestyle causes. Furthermore, diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and excessive cholesterol increase the likelihood of developing coronary artery disease (CAD). For the sake of management and prevention, these causes must be understood. People can considerably lower their risk of CAD and improve long-term heart health by implementing better habits, getting frequent screenings, and making informed decisions.


Heart Conditions

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