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Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).

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Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) CHD, also known as Ischaemic Heart Disease (ischaema - reduction of blood supply to a tissue) is a disease of the two coronary arteries supplying the heart muscles with oxygenated blood and nutrients. CHD causes damage to these arteries by blocking the lumen of the vessels with plaques which leads to damage to the heart as it becomes deprived of oxygen therefore causing the heart tissue to become oxygen starved. The consequence of this is that part of the heart becomes deprived of oxygen and therefore dies as it is being effectively suffocated unless an interconnecting blood vessel can take over the supply. There are two forms of CHD - angina and myocardial infarction. Angina As the coronary arteries are not supplying heart muscle with a sufficient amount of volume they are respiring anaerobically. This causes a build up of lactic acid and the muscle cramps causing pain in the centre of the chest which radiates out to the neck, jaws and arms and back. Even gentle exercise such as climbing stairs or walking across a room may bring on an angina attack. ...read more.


It has long been considered that CVD is a self inflicted disease because the lifestyle led by sufferers has influenced the onset of the disease. The main risk factors that can lead to CVD are as follows: Diet A diet that is high in saturated fats causes a rise in blood cholesterol. In countries such as Japan where CVD is relatively rare, lower fat intakes and lower blood cholesterol are found than is typical of people in Britain. The amount of blood cholesterol is influenced mainly by the amount of saturated fats in the diet rather than the amount of cholesterol. This increases the deposition of cholesterol in the arteries leading to the formation of atheromatous plaques which are the underlying cause of CVD. Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is associated with stress, smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and lack of exercise. Long term hypertension places an extra strain on the heart and cardiovascular system making it work harder, speeds up the development of atheromatous plaques and increases the chances of suffering from angina, myocardial infarction or stroke. Hypertension may lead to heart failure, which occurs when heart muscles weaken and are unable to pump properly. ...read more.


Gender Men are twice as likely to suffer from CVD than women. Testosterone has a harmful effect on the cardiovascular system and pre-menopausal women produce oestrogen which protects against CHD. Post menopausal women tend to have an increase in blood fat levels, so the risk of developing CVD increases, but treatment with hormone replacement therapy will protect the body again from CVD. Although men cannot help their gender, to lower their risk they should make extra considerations about diet, exercise and smoking. Stress Leading a stressful lifestyle may increase the risk of heart attacks and angina attacks. Stressful lifestyles are also often coupled with lack of exercise (sedentary jobs in offices), smoking, excessive alcohol intake and poor diet. Genetic factors Heart disease has an inherited component, the more close relatives you have who develop heart disease, the more likely you are to suffer too. The main reasons that CVD runs in families is that it has a genetic component - such as certain genes that may increase the risk of developing atheromatous plaques. The second reason is that families share a common environment such as diet and being in an environment with smoke from cigarettes. ...read more.

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