Coronary Artery Disease

This information is useful for adults and older adults
prevent coronary artery disease
Why Yale Medicine?
  • We offer world-class expertise in treating all types of heart disease with excellent outcomes.
  • Our patients receive input from specialists from several disciplines.
  • Patients receive cutting-edge therapies, using the latest, most innovative care.

There is a lot you can do to prevent coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. 

Eating healthy, exercising, keeping your weight down, controlling your blood pressure and quitting smoking are all essential to preventing this condition that causes narrowing of the arteries and increases the risk of heart attack.

If you do have risk factors—and they include family history—you should see a good cardoilogist. Yale Medicine provides a full spectrum of clinical cardiovascular care, and our specialists have extensive experience with coronary artery disease. If you need surgery, we have renowned surgeons and the most advanced treatments available.


Coronary artery disease is caused by the gradual buildup of cholesterol or plaque, which makes the arteries stiffen and narrow. The result is reduced blood flow to the heart.

Multiple causes of coronary artery disease include:

  • Genetics: Having a family history of heart disease
  • Lifestyle: Eating unhealthy, high-fat foods and being sedentary
  • Medical conditions: Including diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure

Many people with heart disease have more than one of those risk factors.

People with coronary artery disease are at higher risk for a heart attack and other heart conditions that can be debilitating or even fatal. This leads to symptoms such as cardiac angina, the clinical term for shortness of breath and chest pain.

A sudden heart attack may be caused by a blood clot that forms on the surface of the plaque.