Treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD) may include lifestyle changes, medicines, and medical procedures. The goals of treatments are to:
- Relieve symptoms
- Reduce risk factors in an effort to slow, stop, or reverse the buildup of plaque
- Lower the risk of blood clots forming, which can cause a heart attack
- Widen or bypass clogged arteries
- Prevent complications of CAD
Making lifestyle changes that include a heart-healthy eating plan, not smoking, limiting alcohol, exercise and stress reduction can often help prevent or treat CAD. For some people, these changes may be the only treatment needed.
Research shows that the most commonly reported "trigger" for a heart attack is an emotionally upsetting event—particularly one involving anger. But some of the ways people cope with stress, such as drinking, smoking, or overeating, aren't heart healthy.
Physical activity can help relieve stress and reduce other CAD risk factors. Many people also find that meditation or relaxation therapy helps them reduce stress.