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Monday, September 27, 2010 10:51:27 PM 
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Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease and top cause of death in the United States. 1 This condition occurs when the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, gradually become narrowed or blocked by plaque deposits. The plaque deposits decrease the space through which blood can flow. Poor blood flow can "starve" the heart muscle and lead to chest pain. A heart attack results when blood flow is completely blocked, usually by a blood clot forming over a plaque that has broken open (ruptured).

What causes coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on the inside of your coronary arteries. Plaque is made up of excess cholesterol, calcium, and other substances in your blood that, over time, build up on the inside walls of your coronary arteries and other arteries. This process is called hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. (See an illustration of atherosclerosis.) In many people, plaque may begin to form in childhood and gradually develops over a lifetime. 2 Smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol all contribute to coronary artery disease.

What are the symptoms?

Since coronary artery disease develops slowly over decades, most people do not know that they have it until the disease is advanced. Typically, the earliest symptoms—chest pain, also called angina, and shortness of breath—occur after age 50.

Unfortunately, sometimes a heart attack is the first sign of coronary artery disease. According to the large, 50-year Framingham Heart Study, over 50% of men and 63% of women who died suddenly of coronary artery disease (mostly from heart attack) had no previous symptoms of this disease. 1

How is coronary artery disease diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you about your risk factors and your symptoms and perform a complete physical exam. If coronary artery disease is suspected, you may have additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. The most common initial tests are electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), which measures the electrical signals that control the rhythm of your heartbeat, chest X-ray, routine blood tests, and exercise electrocardiogram, commonly called a "stress test."

A stress EKG, and other tests, can show how severe your coronary artery disease is by testing how much you can exercise before symptoms develop. With cardiac catheterization or coronary angiogram, a test that shows blood flow to your heart muscle, your doctor can see any blockages or narrowing and the location of those problems. This test is usually done when procedures to remove blockages, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery, are being considered.

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Our mission is to educate the general public on stem cell therapies now available to treat common neurological diseases and injuries.

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Stem Cells 101 Stem Cells 101
This page will explain stem cell therapies.  It answer many questions you may have regarding stem cell therapy for many common neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, stroke and multiple sclerosis
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This page will share patient's experiences.  We expect this page to grow as more people participate.
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An informative that lists conditions that may be treated with stem cell therapies.
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Frequently asked questions regarding stem cell therapies. This is a forum discussion, so if you are a registered member, you can ask questions here.
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