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Factors Affecting the Development of Coronary Heart Disease.

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Factors Affecting the Development of Coronary Heart Disease Heart is a muscle, like any muscle it requires a constant supply of nutrients such as oxygen and glucose to function. These nutrients are carried to the heart via the coronary arteries. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the narrowing and clogging up of these arteries. If the coronary arteries get partly blocked, it causes the part of the heart which it was supplying, to respire anaerobic ally due to lack of oxygen, lactic acid is produced, causing the muscle cells to get cramp. This cramp is associated with chest pains called angina, which is relieved by rest. If the coronary arteries become fully blocked the part of the muscle which the arteries where supplying dies, this is called a heart attack or myocardial infarction. Both of these forms of heart disease occur due to narrowing or clogging up of the coronary arteries bought about as a result of arteriosclerosis. 'Arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries is the disease process which leads to CHD' (biological sciences review) some hardening is thought to occur due to old age and hence older you are the higher the chance there is for you to develop heart disease. But 'many scientists think that arteriosclerosis begins with damage to the innermost layer of the artery wall' (www.americanheart.org) possibly bought about by a blow to the chest for example, harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide (found in tobacco smoke), high blood pressure or damaged caused by high levels of cholesterol (LDL). Once damaged fatty materials and other substances get absorbed and deposited in the artery wall this mass of fat-laden cells is called a atheroma. Muscle fibres grow into the atheroma to produce a plaque; this grows and narrows the artery (a process which can take several years) this eventually grows so big that it tears the endothelium bringing a clot to area. ...read more.


no damage occurs if the blockage allows blood through again, but if blood is still unable to pass through and a portion of the muscle is destroyed it is called a 'Myocardial Infarction', this is commonly called a 'heart attack'. The narrowing and furring of the coronary arteries cause CHD. As the body gets older, the tissues and systems change, artery walls become harder and they thicken, this general process is called 'Arteriosclerosis'. This increases the risk of heart disease because as the walls thicken, the arteries become narrower, increasing the risk of blockage of the flow of blood to the heart muscle. Also, through the individual diets of different people the arteries become furred and blocked by Plaques and fatty deposits such as cholesterol and minerals e.g. calcium, this makes them hard and brittle. This process is called 'Arteriosclerosis'. Sometimes the plaques lining the artery wall cracks and bleeds, this creates blood clots, which cause the arteries to become even narrower. Over the years, scientists have found that young children have fatty streaks on the wall of the arteries, this is the first sign of furring of the arteries, but what they do not understand is how these fatty streaks develop into atheroma - a sludgy build up of fats and debris - which is laid down in the blood vessel. 'In Africa people have fatty streaks but do not develop atheroma' observes Dr David Newby. This implies that the development of atheroma may be affected by other factors in our modern life e.g. behaviour, pollution, diet and how active we are in our lifestyles. Possessing a high level of cholesterol is generally thought to be a threatening as, quite rightly, it can lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease. However, there are two types of cholesterol, that both have an affect on the risk of heart disease. There is low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ...read more.


Heart disease Ischemic heart disease. What Causes Coronary Artery Disease? CAD is caused by arteriosclerosis, the thickening and hardening of the inside walls of arteries. Some hardening of the arteries occurs normally as you grow older. In arteriosclerosis, plaque deposits build up in the arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances from the blood. Plaque build-up in the arteries often begins in childhood. Over time, plaque build-up in the coronary arteries can: * Narrow the arteries so that less blood can flow to the heart muscle * Completely block the arteries and the flow of blood * Cause blood clots to form and block the arteries. Plaque in the arteries can be: * Hard and stable. Hard plaque causes the artery walls to thicken and harden. This condition is associated more with angina than with a heart attack, but heart attacks frequently occur with hard plaque. * Soft and unstable. Soft plaque is more likely to break open or apart and cause blood clots. This can lead to a heart attack. What Makes Coronary Artery Disease More Likely? About 13 million people in the U.S. have CAD. It is the number one killer of both men and women. Each year, more than half a million Americans die from CAD. There are factors that make it more likely that you will develop CAD. These are called risk factors. How is Coronary Artery Disease Treated? The treatments for CAD include lifestyle changes, medications, and special procedures. The goals of treatment are to: * Relieve symptoms * Slow or stop arteriosclerosis by controlling or reducing the risk factors * Lower the risk for blood clots forming, which can cause a heart attack * Widen or bypass clogged arteries * Reduce cardiac events. Lifestyle Changes Everyone with CAD needs to make some lifestyle changes: * Exercise * Quit smoking * Healthy Diet * Lose weight if you are overweight or obese * Reduce stress. * For some people, these changes may be the only treatment needed. ...read more.

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