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Patients with coronary artery disease have narrowed arteries, preventing normal blood flow from reaching the heart. Most people know that coronary artery disease can be a precursor to a heart attack, but did you know there are several forms of this heart complication? Understanding the various forms of coronary artery disease is essential for optimal care and treatment.

Obstructive and nonobstructive coronary artery disease are two forms with several similarities, but they are very different in nature:

Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease

Obstructive coronary artery disease is the most commonly recognized type of artery disease. It occurs when plaque builds up along the artery walls to restrict or completely stop blood flow.

Several factors can cause plaque buildup in arteries, including:

  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Smoking
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Unmanaged diabetes

If the buildup stops blood from flowing, the patient will suffer a sudden heart attack. Patients who experience a heart attack from obstructive coronary artery disease should seek immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Joint pain in the jaw, neck, or back
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortened breath
  • Shoulder or arm pain

If you or a loved one are experiencing the effects of a heart attack, call 911 right now.

Nonobstructive Coronary Artery Disease

Nonobstructive coronary artery affects women more commonly than men and stems from other coronary issues related to:

  • Coronary vasospasm (temporary constriction – tightening and spasms – of the arteries)
  • Endothelial dysfunction (incorrect narrowing of the arteries when they should widen)
  • Microvascular dysfunction (improper function of the small blood vessels that feed into the larger arteries)
  • Myocardial bridging complications (squeezing of the arteries by the heart muscle)

Warning signs of nonobstructive coronary artery disease often appear as symptoms of a heart attack, like pains in the chest and trouble breathing deeply. Although this form is not as severe as the obstructive type, nonobstructive coronary artery disease is still serious. Patients should work with their cardiologist to help lower the risk of a heart attack.

Obstructive and nonobstructive types of coronary artery disease are both serious conditions that Middle Georgia Heart can treat.

The cardiovascular specialists at our practice perform thorough diagnostic testing and create treatment plans to help avoid further complications and reduce your risk of a heart attack. Take care of your heart by scheduling a consultation with us today: 478-207-5224

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