Researchers are investigating how to reverse coronary artery disease (CAD). Although doctors cannot yet cure it, lifestyle changes can help prevent harmful symptoms and complications.

A buildup of plaque in a person’s arteries causes CAD, which is a type of heart disease. Plaque consists of cholesterol deposits and other substances. As plaque builds up, it restricts or stops blood flow to a person’s heart and other parts of their body. This process is called atherosclerosis.

CAD can cause angina, or chest pain. Over time, CAD can also weaken a person’s heart and cause heart attacks or heart failure. This weakening of the heart is called ischemic cardiomyopathy or ischemic heart disease.

People with CAD may be able to prevent or manage their symptoms with treatments and lifestyle changes. Scientists are still looking for a way to reverse or cure CAD.

This article discusses whether it is possible to reverse CAD or use home remedies to slow its progression. It also looks at whether it is possible to prevent the condition, which medical treatments can help, and more.

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There is currently no cure for CAD. However, doctors can recommend treatments to help manage symptoms. Treatments and lifestyle changes can also reduce a person’s risk of complications from CAD, such as heart attacks.

Scientists continue to research new treatments for CAD. In a 2022 article, scientists also published research into reversing plaque buildup from atherosclerosis.

They concluded that it is possible to reduce the volume of plaque in a person’s arteries. However, they also found no direct evidence that reducing plaque is linked to fewer heart problems.

Medical professionals typically focus on preventing CAD and maintaining current levels of plaque. A person can contact their doctor for more advice on this.

Learn more about CAD.

People can manage their CAD symptoms and improve their heart function with some home remedies. These remedies may help slow down the progression of CAD.

Lifestyle changes that can help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of serious complications include dietary changes, physical activity, weight management, and quitting smoking.


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.

The DASH diet involves consuming:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains

A person following the DASH diet should limit their intake of:

  • salt
  • saturated fats
  • added sugars
  • alcohol

Learn more about foods that can help with CAD.

Physical activity

Getting enough physical activity or exercise can help a person with CAD manage their symptoms. In a 2021 article, researchers recommend doing one of the following:

  • getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week
  • getting at least 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week
  • getting a combination of both, with a reduction in sedentary time

It is best for a person with CAD to contact their doctor for advice before beginning a new exercise regimen. Their doctor may recommend some amount of daily physical activity to help lower the risk of heart disease.

Weight management

People can help relieve CAD symptoms by maintaining a moderate weight. People who are overweight or living with obesity have an increased risk of CAD.

A person can contact their doctor for information about what a moderate weight for them would be and how to maintain or lose weight where applicable.

Quitting smoking

Smoking is a major risk factor for CAD. People may be able to help reduce the symptoms of CAD by quitting smoking if they currently smoke.

Medical treatments for CAD include medication to reduce or prevent chest pain. They usually aim to lower a person’s blood pressure or widen their arteries.

CAD medications include:

  • calcium channel blockers to relax blood vessels
  • ACE inhibitors and beta blockers to lower a person’s blood pressure
  • nitrates to dilate a person’s arteries and reduce or prevent angina chest pain
  • ranolazine to treat a form of heart disease called coronary microvascular disease
  • statins to help lower high cholesterol
  • antiplatelets, which are mini blood thinners

Surgery can help with CAD, although doctors usually treat CAD with lifestyle changes or medication first. People with more serious CAD may need surgery to open or bypass blocked arteries.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) surgery opens blocked or narrowed arteries. Surgeons typically do this by inflating a balloon to push the plaque out of the way. They then implant a small mesh tube called a stent to stop the artery narrowing again. Other names for this procedure include:

  • coronary angioplasty
  • percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)
  • balloon angioplasty

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a type of surgery to improve blood flow to a person’s heart by using other arteries to bypass blocked ones.

People with heart failure as a result of CAD may need a heart transplant.

Recognizing risk factors and taking action early may significantly reduce a person’s risk of CAD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can help prevent CAD through various methods. These can include:

  • consuming a heart-healthy diet, which includes eating foods high in fiber and low in saturated fats
  • getting enough physical activity or exercise
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • quitting or avoiding smoking
  • managing other conditions such as diabetes

A person’s doctor can provide more advice on ways to reduce the risk of CAD.

Here are some frequently asked questions about CAD.

Can you reverse plaque buildup in your arteries?

A person can prevent or delay plaque buildup or atherosclerosis. However, there are currently no treatments to reverse it.

How can I reverse coronary artery disease naturally?

Getting enough physical activity and consuming a heart-healthy diet may help a person with CAD improve the functioning of their heart and reduce their symptoms.

Can people reverse blocked arteries naturally?

Doctors typically treat blocked arteries with medication or surgery.

Can you fully recover from coronary artery disease?

It is not possible to fully cure a person’s CAD yet. However, people can manage their symptoms and reduce their chances of serious complications with some treatments.

It is not currently possible to completely reverse or cure coronary artery disease. However, scientists continue to research it.

There are several lifestyle methods that can help prevent CAD or reduce symptoms. These include getting enough physical activity, consuming a diet low in saturated fats, and avoiding smoking.

A doctor may recommend medication to help relax blood vessels and reduce high blood pressure. In severe cases, a person may require surgery for CAD.