Coronary artery disease (CAD), or coronary heart disease, develops when the coronary arteries become too narrow or cholesterol blockages develop in the walls. The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply oxygen and blood to the heart.
CAD tends to develop when cholesterol builds up on the artery walls, creating plaques. These plaques cause the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart, or can cause inflammation in and hardening of the walls of the blood vessel. A clot can sometimes obstruct blood flow, causing serious health problems.
Coronary arteries form the network of blood vessels on the surface of the heart that feeds it oxygen. If these arteries narrow, the heart may not receive enough oxygen-rich blood, especially during physical activity.
CAD can sometimes lead to a heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the most common type of heart Source in the United States, where it accounts for more than 655,000 deathsTrusted Source every year.