I have taken a total of 9 credits so far: CardioPulmonary Pathophysiology, Exercise Testing, and Cardiovascular Pharmacodynamics. A portion of each class was focused on a different aspect of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

Coronary Artery Disease, we have all heard of it, but what is it? In CardioPulmonary Pathophysiology we learned that CAD is a narrowing or blockage of the arteries and vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the heart. When there is restricted blood flow to the heart an imbalance occurs between oxygen supply and oxygen demand. When the oxygen supply cannot meet the oxygen demand this leads to a series of serious problems including death. Approximately 13 million Americans have CAD and it is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States.

In Exercise Testing we learned who is at risk for CAD and how you could safely use exercise to lower your risk. Are you at risk for CAD? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) stratifies your risk for CAD based on:
• Age
• Family History
• Cigarette Smoking
• Sedentary Lifestyle
• Obesity
• Hypertension
• Dyslipidemia
• Pre-Diabetes
Although you cannot control all the risk factors for CAD the good news is you can control some! Even if you are not at a high risk for CAD I am a big believer in prevention. See your doctor and talk with a trained professional to find out what you can do to lower your risk of CAD.

If you do end up with CAD, thankfully science is so advanced these days that you aren’t necessarily given a death sentence upon diagnosis. In Cardiovascular Pharmacodynamics we learned about different drugs that may be prescribed to CAD patients and how those drugs affect the body.

As I study cardiac rehabilitation I find it so important to be proactive about your health. Get educated on what you can do to keep yourself healthy, and do it!