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Explain the Factors that affect Coronary Heart Disease.

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Explain the Factors that affect Coronary Heart Disease Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is a disease that affects the coronary arteries. These arteries supply the heart with oxygen and glucose (2). When one of these is blocked, the area of heart muscle that it supplies is deprived of oxygen. This can cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or angina (3). Angina is a severe pain in the chest brought on by exertion (10) and a heart attack occurs when the heart muscle beyond the blocked artery begins to die (6). There are three main reasons why blockages occur in an artery: Atherosclerosis, the build up of fatty material (atheroma) in the lining of the artery wall. This will form hard plaque with fibrous tissue and calcium salts narrowing the artery lumen. Secondly, thrombosis, the presence of blood clots in an artery, which blocks the lumen. Thirdly, a spasm could take place where the muscle in the wall of the artery contracts, causing the lumen to narrow (3). There are many factors, which affect these three events, which in turn lead to CHD. Some are controllable but others are not. ...read more.


Diet is an important controllable factor as a diet with low fat content and less cholesterol can lead to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the chances of CHD developing (4). An unhealthy diet is also linked to the possibility of obesity, which also encourages CHD developing. It increases the stress on the heart and arteries and increases the chances of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels, as more blood has to be pumped around a bigger body at a higher pressure. Obesity can also lead to diabetes, which is another factor affecting of CHD (4) (8). Exercise is another important link here as it improves circulation, reduces the likelihood of obesity and it lowers the heart rate and blood pressure and improves insulin utilization in diabetics (4) (8). The final controllable factor is alcohol consumption, too much can raise blood pressure and cause irregular heartbeats. It can also contribute to obesity (7). However, there are numerous factors that can cause and affect CHD, which are uncontrollable. ...read more.


Also diabetics have raised levels of fibrinogen in their blood making it more likely to clot and hence cause thrombosis (6). Diabetics also have raised blood triglyceride levels and reduced HDL levels. This increases the likelihood of cholesterol being deposited in the coronary arteries. Other more minor factors linked with CHD include stress levels, socio-economic disadvantages, and psychological and personality factors. The involvement of the latter factors has been investigated with a study in Milan where 47% of people with coronary heart disease were firstborn compared to 29% of the general population and the likely reason is because those who are firstborn tend to have Type-A personalities (this includes people who are competitive, aggressive and rushed) (11). As shown, there are various factors affecting CHD in different ways but is clear that most factors, especially the major ones, are linked to each other and can lead to one another. Surveys and studies have identified most of these factors but not all have been explained and this hinders the quest for successful remedies. But for research and development, "the possibility of intervening early in the atherosclerosis disease process and preventing CHD is likely to become an important issue" (1). ...read more.

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