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Definition of CAD
Coronary artery disease (CAD) starts with a buildup of fatty deposits in the lining of the arteries supplying blood to the heart. Due to this process -- called atherosclerosis -- the narrowed arteries can't keep up a healthy flow of blood to the heart. As CAD worsens, heart function is increasingly affected. CAD is sometimes called "hardening of the arteries."

MEDICAL REVIEW: Reviewed by Charlotte Grayson, MD, May 2004

SOURCE DOCUMENTATION: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics -- Update 2003. American Heart Association. Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease. American Heart Association online. Accessed August 5, 2003.

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