Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) can lead to several serious complications if not managed effectively. These complications result from the reduced blood flow to the heart muscle and the potential for sudden blockages in the coronary arteries. Here are the major complications associated with CAD:

  1. Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction): One of the most severe complications of CAD. It occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes completely blocked, usually by a blood clot, leading to the death of the heart muscle tissue due to lack of oxygen.
  2. Heart Failure: This condition happens when the heart muscle is weakened from continuous strain or damage, including that caused by narrowed or blocked arteries, and cannot pump blood efficiently. This results in fluid buildup in the lungs and other parts of the body, such as the legs and ankles.
  3. Arrhythmia: Damage to the heart muscle from CAD can disrupt the electrical pathways that control the heartbeat, leading to irregular heartbeats, which can be either too fast, too slow, or erratic.
  4. Sudden Cardiac Arrest: This is a sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness, often caused by an arrhythmia. In people with CAD, a sudden cardiac arrest may occur due to a severe disruption in the heart’s electrical activity.
  5. Angina: Persistent or worsening angina (chest pain or discomfort) can occur as CAD progresses. This can significantly limit physical activity and reduce the quality of life.
  6. Ischemic Cardiomyopathy: This is a weakening of the left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber), usually caused by repeated, prolonged ischemia (lack of blood flow and oxygen) due to chronic CAD.
  7. Stroke: Although more commonly linked to diseases of the arteries in the brain and neck, CAD increases the risk of stroke due to the potential for blood clots forming in diseased arteries and traveling to the brain.

Managing CAD effectively through lifestyle changes, medications, and possibly surgical interventions is crucial to minimizing these risks and improving overall cardiovascular health. Regular follow-ups with a healthcare provider are also essential to monitor the condition and adjust treatment as necessary.

Last Update: June 2, 2024