Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) in Seniors

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a prevalent cardiovascular condition that occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked. This impedes the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle, leading to various health complications. It is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for CAD to better manage and prevent its progression.
Older man holding his heart while suffering from coronary artery disease

Common Causes of Coronary Artery Disease

The primary cause of CAD is a condition called atherosclerosis, where fatty plaque deposits build up inside the coronary arteries. These deposits consist of cholesterol, calcium, and other substances that gradually harden and narrow the arteries. Over time, this limits the blood supply and can result in angina (chest pain) or potentially a heart attack.
Older man holding his heart while suffering from coronary artery disease in seniors

Common Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease

CAD symptoms can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience no symptoms at all, while others may experience:
  • Chest Pain or Discomfort (Angina): Often described as a squeezing, pressure, heaviness, or tightness in the chest. This pain can also radiate to the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, or back.
  • Shortness of Breath: Feeling breathless during physical activity or even at rest.
  • Fatigue: Unexplained and prolonged exhaustion.
  • Heart Palpitations: Irregular heartbeats or a rapid heartbeat.
  • Dizziness or Fainting: When the heart is not receiving an adequate supply of blood.
It is crucial to seek medical attention if any of these symptoms arise, as they may indicate the presence of underlying CAD.

Coronary Artery Disease Treatment Options

Treatment options in senior primary care for CAD include both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. Here are some common approaches

Lifestyle Modifications

- Quitting smoking: Smoking cessation is crucial for reducing the risk of CAD.
- Adopting a healthy diet: Emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and limiting saturated fats and sodium intake.
- Engaging in regular exercise: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Losing excess weight can reduce the strain on the heart.
- Managing stress levels: Employing stress reduction techniques can help manage CAD risk factors.


- Aspirin: Low-dose aspirin may be recommended to help prevent blood clots.
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs: Statins are commonly prescribed to lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce plaque formation.
- Beta-blockers or calcium channel blockers: These medications control blood pressure levels and reduce the workload on the heart.
- Nitroglycerin: Used to relieve chest pain during episodes of angina..

Medical Procedures and Therapies

- Angioplasty and stenting: A procedure to widen narrowed arteries and improve blood flow.
- Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG): Surgically bypassing the blocked arteries using blood vessels from elsewhere in the body.
- Cardiac rehabilitation: A comprehensive program that includes exercise, education, and counseling to manage CAD and improve heart health.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Treatment at Greater Good Health

It is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals for accurate diagnosis, personalized treatment plans, and appropriate intervention options. At Greater Good Health, we are committed to providing the highest quality care, including coronary artery disease treatment in senior healthcare. We also offer preventive care and chronic condition management. Find a primary care clinic near you and contact us today to get started.
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