Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease involves reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle - ischemia. The heart muscle lacks oxygen and nutrients crucial for its function, and waste materials are stored instead. It damages the heart.

Causes and symptoms of coronary heart disease

Atherosclerosis is causing it in most cases.


Chronic CAD includes long-term growth of atheroma in the blood vessel wall.

Acute coronary syndrome is a life-threatening situation in which the oxygen flow to the heart is reduced or disrupted. Another form is called angina pectoris.

Angina pectoris - a form of ischemic heart disease that manifests itself in tightening chest pain, usually accompanied by a jaw or left arm pain (similar to heart attack).

What are the symptoms?

At first, the process is painless. Pain doesn't occur until the blood flow is significantly reduced. The blood can't be transported to organs and can cause temporary or permanent damage. Usually and unfortunately, the first symptoms of atherosclerosis are heart diseases - heart attack, angina pectoris or stroke.


What to do when...

5 important steps to do when you have or see someone else having a heart attack or stroke.

  • Don't panic, don't look for advice on the internet and start acting!
  • Call 155 for help!
  • Stay where you are and wait for an ambulance
  • Is the patient conscious? Shoothe him/her. Check breathing and reactions (talk, pinch the patient's ear)
  • Is the patient unconscious? Check breathing - tilt the patient's head back and see, if the chest is moving up and down. If the patient is not breathing, start chest compressions immediately!

What are the most common risk factors?

  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High fat and cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Men older than 45
  • Women older than 55
  • Insufficient physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease in the family

What is classification of angina pectoris?

Stable angina: pain occurs after any demanding physical activity, e.g., exercise or hiking, but disappears within 20 minutes when resting. Pain ceases fast after taking nitro-glycerine. If you experience these symptoms, visit your general practitioner (GP) as soon as possible.

Unstable angina: state in which chest pain occurs even while sitting in a chair or doing an undemanding activity. It also disappears within 20 minutes. It can also be a pain one hasn't experienced yet. If you experience such pain in the chest or the pain occurred while at rest, call 155 (Czech EMS) or 112 (EU).

What is acute lower limb ischemia?

It's described as a decreased blood flow in the lower limb. Atherosclerosis is usually the cause. And what are the symptoms?

  • At first, only cold feet and losing leg hair occur.
  • Later, one feels pain in their feet while walking. As the blood flow is reduced, muscle pains and muscle spasms attack calves, buttocks, or thighs. Such pain makes the person stop for a while but disappears quickly.
  • If this condition is not examined, pain can appear at any time. 
  • The final stage of this condition includes infarction (tissue death) - skin conditions, ulcers, or even toes infarction.

Is it true that smoking is harmful to health?

Yes, of course. Smoking:

  • increases the risk of blood clots
  • disrupts platelets' function
  • increases the number of white blood cells
  • reactive oxygen species are being produced and further damage the surface of blood vessels
A cigarette contains 5 000 harmful substances, and 60 of those are carcinogenic.