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Healtheuniversity > English > Cardiac College > Treat Heart Disease > What Is Heart Disease

What is Heart Disease

Image of plaque building up in the artery blocking off most of the blood flow.
Plaque build-up in the lining of artery

Coronary artery disease (heart disease) is the build-up of plaque (fatty materials, cholesterol, and calcium) in the coronary arteries.

The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart. The building up of plaque is often called “atherosclerosis”. See what is happening to your heart when you have atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease) (opens in new window) »

This build-up can narrow the coronary arteries and prevent oxygen-rich blood from getting to the heart. The build-up of plaque is slow and can begin as early as childhood.

The build-up of plaque is caused by an injury to the lining of the coronary arteries. Things that can injure the lining include: 


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