Coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as coronary artery disease, is a condition where the coronary arteries become narrow due to the gradual increase of fatty material or a waxy substance (plaque) within the walls of the arteries. The coronary arteries are responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. This type of condition is referred to as atherosclerosis,while the fatty material that builds up inside the artery walls is called atheroma.
This build up of plaque in the arteries happens for many years, and over time, the arteries can become so clogged that they become unable to deliver enough oxygen rich blood to your heart. This may lead to discomfort and pain, a symptom called angina. Moreover, if a part of atheroma breaks down, then it can cause blood blockage or blood clot. And, this can also block the coronary artery and can thus cut off the oxygen rich bloodsupply to your heart muscle. This can also permanently damage the heart, which is commonly known as a heart attack.
As opposed to the popular belief that only men can suffer from coronary heart disease, women too can get affected by it. In fact, coronary heart disease kills twice the number of women than breast cancer.
Risk factors of coronary heart disease:
Risk factors are the things that can increase your chances of getting a particular disease, like in this case it is coronary heart disease. Several things can add to the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Among them, the main ones are:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Being physically inactive
- Being obese or overweight
- Ethnic background
- Family history of heart disease
- Age – The older you get, the more chances you have of developing coronary heart disease
- Sex – Men can get coronary heart diseaseat an earlier age as compared to women
Among these, the more risk factors you suffer from, the more chances you have of developing a coronary heart disease. However, you can take some measures to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and thus protect your heart.
Risk assessment and diagnosis of coronary heart disease
You can find out whether you have a coronary heart disease by undergoing a health check up conducted by a general physician, cardiologist, or any other healthcare professional. During a health check up, your cholesterol levels and blood pressure is checked in the surgery room. The doctor will then talk to you about your diet and lifestyle. Depending on these results, you are given practical advice by the heart specialist and by following them you can keep your heart strong and healthy.