James Caan's Cause Of Death Explained

Legendary film actor James Caan died at the age of 82 on July 6, and the Los Angeles County medical examiner has now officially confirmed Caan's cause of death. The death certificate reveals that Caan's death was due to a heart attack and coronary artery disease (via TMZ). In addition, the certificate states that Caan had congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which were contributing factors, per People.

While Cann is probably best known for playing the hot-headed Sonny Corleone in the 1972 film, "The Godfather," his breakthrough role came in the 1971 made-for-TV movie, "Brian's Song." In the film, he played the starring role of Brian Piccolo, a terminally ill football player. Caan went on to act in a wide variety of films in his extensive career ranging from Stephen King's horror movie, "Misery," to the family-friendly holiday comedy, "Elf," per HuffPost.

Caan was able to complete one final film prior to his death. "Fast Charlie," in which Caan portrays an aging mob boss, will be released sometime in 2023, per The Wrap.

Preventing and treating coronary artery disease

The Mayo Clinic describes coronary artery disease (CAD) as the most common heart condition in the United States. It develops over many years, typically due to a build-up of cholesterol deposits (or plaques) and inflammation in the coronary arteries. These are the main blood vessels that provide blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart muscle. Because CAD hinders blood and oxygen delivery to the heart, initial symptoms include chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath. However, you may not always detect the symptoms, or you might attribute symptoms to other factors, such as intense exercise. If the blockage is severe, it can lead to a heart attack.

While risk factors, such as age and family history, are not within your control, there are ways you can reduce your chances of developing the disease. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, reducing stress, and cutting out added sugars, as well as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) from your diet can help. These actions can reduce the buildup of plaques on the inner walls of your arteries that can narrow or block blood flow, per the Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Stephen Kopecky explains that treatments for CAD can range from aspirins or cholesterol-modifying medications to procedures, such as angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery. He emphasizes, however, that engaging in a healthier lifestyle is also a critical factor in managing the disease.