Coronary artery disease is a heart disease caused by plaque buildup on the artery walls. If the condition prevents someone from working, it may qualify as a disability.

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Coronary artery disease is a common heart disease that happens when plaque, a fatty substance made of cholesterol and other lipids, builds up on the walls of your arteries. Over time, it can lead to serious heart complications, including a heart attack.

Sometimes, coronary heart disease can affect your daily life and can prevent you from working. If this happens, then your coronary heart disease might meet the requirements to be considered a disability. In this case, you might qualify for disability benefits and services.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a type of heart disease that occurs when a substance made of cholesterol and other fats builds up on the walls of the arteries. This substance is called plaque.

Plaque buildup causes the arteries to narrow. It can lead to a variety of health complications, including heart attack.

CAD is very common. In fact, it’s the most common type of heart disease in the United States.

There are times when CAD can be a disability. But not everyone with CAD can qualify for disability programs and benefits.

The exact requirements will depend on the agency or programming offering the benefits. As a rule, for CAD to be considered a disability, it must cause significant difficulties in your everyday life. These difficulties must make you unable to maintain your job.

You’ll typically be asked to prove both that you’ve received a CAD diagnosis and that it prevents you from working.

The exact definition of a disability varies depending on the organization or agency you are seeking services from.

In the United States, the Social Security Admiration (SSA) defines a disability as a condition that prevents you from working and is expected to last for at least 2 years or until your death.

Not all programs follow the same standards as the SSA, but having a condition that meets the SSA requirements for a disability will typically also allow you to apply with other agencies and service providers.

Often, the first sign of CAD is a heart attack. Yet CAD can cause chronic chest pain and discomfort long before a heart attack occurs.

If you’re having a heart attack, symptoms might include:

CAD results when cholesterol and other fats build up on the walls of your arteries. This buildup of fats is called atherosclerosis.

Often, this is caused by high cholesterol. Other causes can include:

CAD is very common. Certain risk factors can make developing CAD more likely. They can include:

Several treatment options are available for CAD. Your doctor will prescribe the one that best fits you, the severity of your condition, and your overall health.

Treatment options include:

The exact outlook for people with CAD can vary.

Often, CAD can be managed with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, quitting smoking, and starting a physical fitness routine. Plus, medications can help lower cholesterol or blood pressure.

Yet CAD can lead to serious complications, including:

Treatment and lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of these complications.

You can learn more about CAD and disability by reading the answers to some common questions.

Will I qualify for disability if I’ve had a heart attack caused by CAD?

A heart attack alone isn’t enough to show that your condition meets the requirements to be considered a disability. You will still need to show that it prevents you from working.

Can I prevent CAD?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent CAD. But by taking steps to manage the risk factors within your control, you can lower your overall risk. This includes steps such as:

What should I eat to lower my risk of CAD?

In general, it’s best to follow a heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. You can learn more about eating to support your heart health in this article.

CAD is a common heart disease caused by plaque buildup in your arteries. Over time, CAD can lead to a heart attack and other serious heart complications.

Not everyone with CAD meets the requirements for a disability, as set by agencies such as the SSA. But if your CAD prevents you from working, it might qualify.

Treatment can help lower the risk of CAD that leads to disability and to serious complications.