African American woman's awareness of Coronary Artery Disease causes

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Find trusted resources on how to keep yourself heart healthy and how to prevent CAD.

About Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) happens when plaque builds up on the inner walls of your coronary arteries. This causes the arteries to harden and narrow, which decreases blood flow to your heart. As a result, your heart doesn’t get the blood, oxygen and nutrients it needs, and can cause chest pain. In some cases, it can lead to a heart attack. 

Who’s at Risk for Coronary Artery Disease?

Smoking, “bad” cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and physical inactivity are major contributors to coronary artery disease (CAD). In the United States, rates of hospitalization and mortality as a result of CAD have increased for non-Caucasians but decreased for Caucasians. 

number one

Black men have the highest incidence of heart attacks out of all ethnicities regardless of age1

eight out of ten

8 out of 10 heart attacks are considered to be preventable2

African American woman informed about preventing CAD

Manage Your Risk Factors

You may be at an increased risk for certain disease states due to your race, ethnicity and gender – but these factors shouldn’t stand in the way of receiving appropriate care. You can help protect your and your family’s health and lower your risk for CAD with simple lifestyle changes.

Lower your risk

Coronary Artery Disease Symptoms

CAD often develops and progresses in silence, over many years. You may not have symptoms, and people often don’t discover there’s a problem until there is major blockage. This is why it’s so important to go the doctor regularly and discuss your concerns, especially if you’re symptomatic or if heart problems are part of your family history. 

What to watch for


Chest pains or pressure, called angina
fatigue icon Fatigue (feeling extremely tired)

Pain that spreads to the arms or jaw
Shortness of breath. Icon. Shortness of breath

checkmark

How Coronary Artery Disease is Diagnosed

Check your risk. Could You Have CAD? Catching CAD early can make all the difference in treating it and keeping you healthy. It’s important to find a doctor who takes the time to listen to you and makes you feel like you’re being taken seriously. They’re on your team and have your best interest at heart. The results from this risk assessment can set the stage for a productive conversation with your healthcare team.

Coronary Artery Disease Treatment

Coronary artery disease (CAD) may be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes, exercise, diet and medical treatment. It’s important that you talk with a doctor you trust about which treatment that’s right for you.

Staying healthy to avoid Coronary Artery Disease
quote I'm a new person, I got my heart back
African American women hugging about CAD awareness

Resources & Research

Access Health Information & Healthcare

Boston Scientific talked to patients around the country to find out what resources would be most helpful and designed this resource page with your needs in mind.

  • Learn about health conditions and treatments
  • Find out why diversity in clinical trials matters
  • Find a doctor near you
  • Review questions to ask your doctor
  • Get reliable rides to your appointment
  • Understand common medical terms
Learn Why Diversity in Clinical Trials Matters

Women and minority clinical trial volunteers are needed in order to create meaningful medical research that applies to people of all backgrounds.

  • Find out who’s under-represented in clinical trials
  • Find out about the benefits for your family and community
  • Learn the basics about participating in clinical research
  • Take steps to improve diversity in clinical trails
Two women discuss finding a trusted heart specialist

Need a Doctor You Can Trust?

They’re out there, and we have a tool to help you find them.

Find a doctor

References:

1,2 American heart Association (2019). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2019 update.