UAB Medicine

Coronary Heart Disease Overview

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Coronary artery disease (CAD), or coronary heart disease, is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. It occurs when fatty deposits accumulate inside the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. These fatty deposits narrow the arteries and can decrease or block blood flow to the heart, leading to a heart attack or chest pain.

At UAB Medicine, patients with CAD receive personal health plans developed by our team of cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, and other physicians; and receive further care and guidance from nurses, dietitians, and other medical specialists.

Risk Factors
Risk factors for CAD include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, smoking, obesity, diabetes, family history of CAD, and a diet high in saturated fat. 

CAD symptoms vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the disease. Some people may not experience any symptoms, while others may have varying levels of chest pain, or angina, which occurs when the heart experiences a shortage of oxygenated blood. If the blood supply is completely cut off, the result is a heart attack.

Symptoms of CAD can include:

  • heaviness, tightness, pressure, and/or pain in the chest behind the breastbone
  • pain radiating in the arms, shoulders, jaw, neck, and/or back
  • shortness of breath
  • weakness and fatigue



UAB physicians have access to the most advanced testing technology available to better evaluate and treat patients with suspected coronary artery disease. Aside from monitoring symptoms, physicians may prescribe stress testing, CT coronary angiogram, and cardiac catheterization.

Learn more about CAD testing and treatment »  

Get Help
If you experience any symptoms of coronary artery disease, talk to your physician about your symptoms and ask if a referral to UAB Heart and Vascular Services may be right for you. Referrals may be made by calling MIST at 1.800.UAB.MIST (1.800.822.6478)

For more information, contact UAB Healthfinder by calling 1.800.UAB.8816 (1.800.822.8816) or by filling out our   Make an Appointment form »