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Factors affecting the development of coronary heart disease

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Debbie Spicer Factors affecting the development of coronary heart disease The heart needs a constant supply of oxygen and glucose to enable it to keep contracting. The heart gets its blood supply from arteries that branch from the aorta; these arteries are called the coronary arteries. As they come straight from the heart the blood in them is under very high pressure, the coronary arteries also have a small lumen compared with arteries in the rest of the body. This means that there is more friction and damage to the cells I the artery As the coronary arteries have a small lumen, they are at greater risk of being blocked. If they are partially blocked the blood supply to the heart is reduced so the heart gets less oxygen. Without oxygen, the muscles cell get cramp and cause a chest pain called angina. If the coronary artery gets totally blocked the myocardium (muscle) that it supplies will die, this is called a myocardial infarction. The size of the myocardial infarction depends on where the artery is blocked, i.e. ...read more.


Some families are at greater risk of high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease. * Diabetes. Diabetics are at a greater risk of getting coronary heart disease, as the heart needs to work harder and this puts a strain on it. There are also many controllable factors, which we need to avoid, Lack of physical activity can lead to coronary heart disease, when you do aerobic exercise (continuous endurance exercise) the heart enlarges as the muscles become bigger and the size of the chambers in the heart increase. This increases the stroke volume and at rest, an untrained heart will have to beat faster than a trained heart as it has a smaller stroke volume. This is also because the activity of the parasympathetic nerves increases; these nerves release acetylcholine, which slows down the heart rate. As a trained heart has a slower resting heart rate, the heart does not need to work as hard so it requires less oxygen. The coronary blood supply is less in a trained heart so the risk of getting coronary heart disease is decreased. ...read more.


Vasoconstrictors narrow the arteries which also means that the blood pressure is increased and there are more possibilities for the arteries to become blocked by an embolus. Tobacco smoke is also known to increase the levels of cholesterol in the blood. The number of platelets in the blood are also increased they become more sticky, this stimulates the formation of blood clots. There are many ways in which coronary heart disease can be treated, drugs such as beta-blockers and calcium antagonists can be used to lower blood pressure, decrease the heart rate, reduce the retention of fluids and decrease the cholesterol in the blood. If the drug treatments do not work then a coronary by-pass operation may be necessary. This is where a blood vessel from the leg is used to replace the dead vessel on the heart. The by-pass carries blood from the aorta to a part of the coronary artery past the blockage. There is also a new less invasive method, which involves stretching coronary arteries by inserting a deflated balloon into the femoral artery in the leg and positioning it in the narrowed coronary artery. Once in position the balloon is inflated. ...read more.

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