Donate to Coronary Artery Disease Research, Patient Care and Education

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. An estimated 13 million people in the United States are affected by this disease, only increasing the need for effective treatments. Northwestern Medicine is uniquely positioned to provide those treatments and make a difference in the lives of those suffering from CAD.

People develop coronary artery disease when fatty deposits accumulate along the innermost layer of the coronary arteries. This buildup can start as early as childhood and continue throughout your lifespan. When your artery walls thicken, a condition called atherosclerosis, the flow of blood to the heart decreases or is blocked. Atherosclerosis begins slowly as fat, cholesterol and calcium are deposited in the arteries. These deposits, called plaque, can rupture and cause a blood clot to form. A clot can further block blood and oxygen to the heart, causing coronary artery disease.

Many patients with coronary artery disease experience angina, a condition marked by severe pain in the chest, which often spreads to the shoulders, arms and neck. This is caused by a lack of blood supply to the heart. This leads patients to experience chest pressure, tightness or pain, in addition to jaw, neck and back pains. While some patients may not have any symptoms, others experience heaviness, tightness, pressure or pain in the chest or behind the breastbone. Other symptoms include radiating pain in the arms, jaw, shoulders, neck and back, shortness of breath and weakness or fatigue. A donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation can improve our understanding of CAD’s symptoms, bringing us closer to eradicating the disease altogether.

The risk factors for CAD range from pre-existing illnesses to lifestyle choices. All of the following dramatically increase your likelihood of developing CAD:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High LDL cholesterol, high triglyceride levels and reduced HDL cholesterol
  • A diet high in saturated fat
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

Other risk factors cannot be changed, such as age, gender and family history.

The physicians of Northwestern Medicine provide a variety of treatment options based on the age, the extent of the disease and overall health of the patient. Physicians can prescribe a variety of medications to combat the symptoms of coronary artery disease. Antiplatelet medications decrease the ability of platelets in the blood to stick together and cause clots. Blood thinners can also help decrease clotting. Other medications include antihypertensives to lower blood pressure and antihyperlipidemics to lower fats (lipids) in the blood. Any treatment plan should be designed and administered by a trained team of medical professionals.

Coronary Artery Disease Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

With coronary artery disease being the number one killer in the United State, donations are needed to sustain research and treatment plans. Teams of cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons and cardiac behavioral health specialists all work together to develop leading-edge treatments which would not be possible without your generous donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation. Your financial support helps us make life better and longer for patients with CAD.

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