Symptoms of heart blockage or coronary artery disease include chest pain, or angina; shortness of breath; irregular or faster heartbeat; weakness or dizziness; nausea; and sweating. Of these, angina is the most common, and sufferers can often mistake it for heartburn or indigestion, states WebMD.
Coronary heart disease develops when plaque, a waxy substance from excessive cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, builds up in the arteries, causing atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, notes the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Atherosclerosis makes it difficult to maintain the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Left untreated, coronary heart disease can lead to a total blockage of blood to the heart, resulting in a heart attack or heart failure.
Risk factors for coronary heart disease include age, sex, family history, smoking, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels. Diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise and high stress levels can also contribute to the condition, notes Mayo Clinic. While men are most at risk, the risk of coronary heart disease increases for women after menopause. As of 2015, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Treatments for coronary heart disease range from changes in lifestyle to medications and medical procedures such as angioplasty, stent placement and coronary artery bypass surgery, states Mayo Clinic.