CAD – Coronary Artery Disease – is a condition where fatty pockets of material become lodged inside of a wall of a coronary artery causing a narrowing of that wall and decreasing blood flow to the tissue serviced by that artery.
This narrowing is called STENOSIS.
Your body’s natural healing process in such a situation is to grow new artery wall over the lodged material.
This process is called ENCAPSULATION.
This material then becomes part of the artery. This is bad because it is a foreign material and it hardens over time – causing the artery wall to become less flexible. Arteries stretch during blood flow and their walls are meant to be flexible.
This lodged material causes a narrowing of the artery which can lead to increased blood pressure and stress on the artery itself. Additionally it results in reduced blood flow to the tissue serviced by the artery.
In time stenosis can worsen to the point that blood flow becomes so restricted that blood cells become lodged in the narrowed opening resulting in a complete blockage.
Other times for reasons unknown the fatty pocket of material under the artery wall ruptures out. This activates your body’s natural immune response and platelet cells are sent to the rupture and a clot is formed. This is very bad for it takes an area already restricted by stenosis and typically results in a complete blockage.
In both cases the end result is a heart attack.