Acute coronary syndromes are related to a reduction in blood flow through the blood vessels of the heart as a result of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a pathological process where lesions (“plaque”) form within arteries, narrowing the lumen and impairing flow, with the end-stage events being ischemia (angina- oxygen delivery to cardiac muscle does not meet demand) or myocardial infarction (prolonged ischemia resulting in cell death). The degree of ischemia is dependent on which vessel the occlusion occurs in and to what degree (the size) of the lesion.
Risk factors for Atherosclerosis include:
- Tobacco Use
- Dislipidemia (elevated LDLc and low HDLc)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Diabetes mellitus
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Family history
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) is the leading cause of death in the United States with approximately 650,000 people dying each year from heart disease and resulting in $219 billion in health care costs each year.