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The purpose of this paper is to explore coronary artery disease (CAD), the roles of hypertension and dyslipidemia affect CAD, and exploring if genetics is a factor in CAD. The progression of CAD can lead to myocardial ischemia, infarction, and even death if left untreated. Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States, and understanding these factors plays a continued role in developing strategies, both preventive and treatment efforts.

Coronary Artery Disease

CAD is normally the result of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque due to damaged endothelium that allows fat to accumulate and decrease the diameter of the vessel. The decrease in vessel size allows for blockage and decreased blood flow to the coronary vessel; this leads to ischemia, where the cells are deprived of blood and begin the process of dying if left untreated. Persistent ischemia or the complete occlusion of a coronary artery causes the acute coronary syndromes, including infarction, or irreversible myocardial damage (Huether & McCance, 2017). Also, known as a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI). Fortunately, the incidence and mortality statistics for CAD have been decreasing over the past 15 years because of more aggressive recognition, prevention, and treatment (Huether & McCance, 2017).

Hypertension’s Role in Coronary Artery Disease

Hypertension is a consistent elevation of systemic arterial blood pressure (Huether & McCance, 2017).  Fortunately, hypertension a key factor in CAD is modifiable and can be monitored closely to prevent further disease progression. Hypertension is common; it ranks as the number one primary diagnosis in America. Pathophysiological mechanisms of blood pressure as a risk factor for CAD are complex and include the influence of blood pressure as a physical force on the development of the atherosclerotic plaque, and the relationship between pulsatile hemodynamics/arterial stiffness and coronary perfusion (Weber et al., 2016). The presence of hypertension further increases the risk of CAD and may explain why some individuals are more predisposed than others to developing coronary events (Rosendorff et al., 2015). Pathophysiological mechanisms of blood pressure as a risk factor for CAD are complex and include the influence of blood pressure as a physical force on the development of the atherosclerotic plaque, and the relationship between pulsatile hemodynamics/arterial stiffness and coronary perfusion (Weber et al., 2016). Hypertension, when diagnosed early, can be treated accordingly, decreasing the opportunity for the role of exacerbation of CAD.

Dyslipidemia’s Role in Coronary Artery Disease

Huether & McCance (2017) define dyslipidemia as an abnormal concentration of serum lipoproteins, the result of genetic and dietary factors. The hardening aspect of this disease is the result of cholesterol deposits in the vessel, which decrease elasticity and make the vessel wall stiff  (Marsh & Rizzo, 2019). The elevation of lipoproteins creates a narrowing of the vessel diameter, which in turn decreases blood flow to arteries. When dyslipidemia occurs in the coronary arteries, the decreased blood flow can lead to ischemia or infarct, depending on the size of the blockage. Controlling the progression of the disease is important, modifying lifestyle habits; diet and physical activity can help to prevent further complications. Medications are also available to keep lipid levels balanced.

Genetics Affects of Risk Factors in Coronary Artery Disease

Dyslipidemia is known as a heritable risk factor for CAD; patients with a family history should inform their practitioner to manage the disease process in the early state. Plasma lipids and lipoproteins are heritable risk factors for CAD, with heritability estimates ranging from 40% to 60% (Tada, Kawashiri, & Yamagishi, 2017). The best treatment is prevention, knowing a patient’s family history is paramount in controlling the lipid levels and keeping them at rates that will prevent CAD. Monitoring labs and dietary modifications assist those with family history and can avoid the progression of CAD.

Conclusion

Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of premature death world-wide with factors like abdominal obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia being central risk factors in the etiology (Lidin, Hellénius, Rydell-Karlsson, & Ekblom-Bak, 2018). Hypertension and dyslipidemia both can accelerate the development of CAD. Fortunately, both factors are modifiable and are manageable by lifestyle modifications. Genetics plays a role in both hypertension and dyslipidemia; obtaining an accurate family history allows for early monitoring and controlling the modifiable factors, diet, and physical activity can keep both hypertension and dyslipidemia well controlled.

 

References

Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2017). Understanding pathophysiology (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Lidin, M., Hellénius, M.-L., Rydell-Karlsson, M., & Ekblom-Bak, E. (2018). Long-term effects on cardiovascular risk of a structured multidisciplinary lifestyle program in clinical practice. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 18(1), 59. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1186/s12872-018-0792-6

Marsh, C. C. . P. D., & Rizzo, C., MD. (2019). Hypertension. Magill’s Medical Guide (Online Edition). Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89093446&site=eds-live&scope=site

Rosendorff, C., Lackland, D. T., Allison, M., Aronow, W. S., Black, H. R., Blumenthal, R. S., … White, W. B. (2015). Treatment of hypertension in patients with coronary artery disease: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and American Society of Hypertension. Journal of the American Society of Hypertension, 9(6), 453–498. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1016/j.jash.2015.03.002

Tada, H., Kawashiri, M., & Yamagishi, M. (2017). Clinical Perspectives of Genetic Analyses on Dyslipidemia and Coronary Artery Disease. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, 24(5), 452-461. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.5551/jat.RV17002

Weber, T., Lang, I., Zweiker, R., Horn, S., Wenzel, R. R., Watschinger, B., . . . Metzler, B. (2016). Hypertension and coronary artery disease: Epidemiology, physiology, effects of treatment, and recommendations. Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift, 128(13-14), 467-479. doi:10.1007/s00508-016-0998-5

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