What is SCAD?

What is SCAD?

Did you know that you can be living a lifestyle with no risk factors for heart disease but can still have a heart attack?

Young females are experiencing this today as a result of spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD, according to the American Heart Association.

“Every normal artery has several layers of tissue, but with someone who has SCAD, those layers start separating from each other,” says Dr. Marianna Krive, a cardiologist at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “It commonly happens due to a tear or bleeding in the artery and results in a blood clot formation in the vessel. Approximately 25 percent of all heart attacks in young women are diagnosed as SCAD.”

According to the American Heart Association, SCAD can be hard to diagnose before a heart attack occurs due to the lack of warning signs. It’s important to identify the symptoms as quickly as possible and get help. “Warning signs of SCAD can include chest pain, fainting, over production of sweat, nausea and shortness of breath. The most common predisposing diseases of SCAD, which are hereditary, are fibro muscular dysplasia (FMD) and connective tissue disorders. Very frequently, patients who have these medical conditions have a higher chance of developing SCAD. Postpartum period and pregnancy can also be factors for certain patients,” says Dr. Krive.

The American Heart Association explains that treatment for SCAD varies for every individual. The most common treatment is conservative therapy, which medicates and controls blood pressure. Some patients may even need surgery to correct this condition.

If you’re a young woman suffering from these symptoms, you should contact your doctor. It’s important to consult your doctor if you are trying to get pregnant and have a history of SCAD.

Find out your risk for heart disease by taking our simple and easy Heart Risk Assessment.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Quinzio
Elizabeth Quinzio

Elizabeth Quinzio, health enews contributor, is an intern of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. She is a senior at Elmhurst College, pursuing a degree in communication studies. When she isn’t interning, Elizabeth enjoys writing about her personal experiences and watching YouTube makeup tutorials. She also loves to take her dog, Gracie, for walks around the neighborhood.

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