Most people can prevent coronary artery disease, yet it’s the most frequent type of heart disease and a leading cause of death. Laura Fernandes, MD, FACC, at Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute in The Woodlands, Texas, offers comprehensive care for coronary artery disease, helping patients follow a healthy lifestyle, treating the underlying conditions, and performing minimally invasive procedures to eliminate atherosclerotic plaque. At the first sign of chest pain, call the office, or schedule an appointment online.
Coronary artery disease affects the arteries that supply blood to your heart. The disease develops when cholesterol and other substances build up on the artery wall; a condition called atherosclerosis.
As fats gradually accumulate, the atherosclerotic plaque enlarges and hardens, narrowing the artery and restricting blood flow.
Coronary artery disease raises your risk of developing heart failure or an abnormal heartbeat called an arrhythmia. You can also have a heart attack if the plaque gets large enough to block the artery or the plaque ruptures.
Coronary artery disease doesn’t cause symptoms until the plaque significantly diminishes blood flow to your heart. Then you experience symptoms such as:
In some cases, your first symptom is a heart attack. A heart attack causes classic symptoms such as chest pain and pressure, shoulder or arm pain, and difficulty breathing. However, you may also have neck, jaw, or back pain, lightheadedness, and nausea.
Dr. Fernandes performs diagnostic testing, including an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram, and stress tests. She may also perform a cardiac catheterization, a minimally invasive procedure to further evaluate the coronary arteries and obtain additional diagnostic information.
After diagnosing coronary artery disease and assessing the degree of arterial blockage, Dr. Fernandes creates a customized treatment plan that includes:
Your long-term health depends on following a heart-healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and lowering stress or losing weight.
Dr. Fernandes may prescribe medications to treat underlying conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You may also need blood thinners and medications to treat chest pain or slow down the progression of atherosclerosis.
As an interventional specialist, Dr. Fernandes often treats advanced coronary artery disease with minimally invasive procedures such as angioplasty and stenting.
During angioplasty and stenting, Dr. Fernandes guides a catheter through your blood vessels to the blockage. Then she uses the catheter to inflate a balloon pushing the plaque against the artery wall and implants a mesh stent to hold the artery open.
Don’t wait to get help at the first sign of chest pain or shortness of breath. Call Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute or book an appointment online today.