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Factors affecting the Development of Coronary Heart Disease

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Factors affecting the Development of Coronary Heart Disease The aim of this essay is to identify the factors affecting the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD refers to atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis is the result of an atheroma forming in an artery or the hardening of the arteries, which is the build up of fat deposits forming on the walls of the artery (see figure one). Atheroma causes a reduction in blood-flow in one or more of the arteries and blood clots are more likely to form as the lumen progressively becomes narrower. Heart cells are dependent on blood flow to provide oxygen and nutrients for the heart muscle to be able to function properly. Without the right conditions and coronary arteries becoming blocked, a myocardial infarction can occur (heart attack). Figure 1 - The development of an atheroma forming (1) The factors effecting CHD are classified into non-modifiable and modifiable factors. The table below shows that the more risks a person has, the higher the chance of developing CHD. ...read more.


Smoking is strongly related to the high risk of CHD. The chemicals in cigarette smoke, mainly carbon monoxide, enter into the lungs and are absorbed into the blood stream; carbon monoxide reduces the red blood cells ability to carry oxygen to the body cells in haemoglobin. These chemicals cause blood platelets to become stickier, which increase the chance of blot clots forming (see figure three). Nicotine in cigarettes causes vasoconstriction, which in turn increases blood pressure. Pipe and cigar smokers are not at such a high risk as cigarette smokers, however, they are more at risk than a non-smoker. Quitting smoking helps in reducing the risk of CHD, but the risk will never be as low as a non-smoker. Figure 3 - Chemicals in smoking causing blood platelets to become stickier. (6) A cholesterol-rich diet increases the risk of an atheroma (as mentioned above) forming. This is because cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) that combines with proteins in the blood to form lipoproteins. ...read more.


BUPA Healthcare suggests, "Stress is difficult to assess, but anything that makes excessive demands on you - especially work - seems to be associated with high blood pressure" (11). Acute stress stimulates the production of the hormone adrenaline. This makes the body release extra sugar and fats into the blood stream and makes the blood 'stickier'. This helps to prove that constant stress would increase the chance of an atheroma forming and also blood clotting. In conclusion to the factors mentioned above, there are many actions to take into account to lower the risk of CHD occurring. The main threat is atherosclerosis, to reduce the risk of an atheroma forming in the coronary arteries people should not smoke, exercise regularly, eat a low cholesterol diet, avoid excessive consumption or binge drinking of alcohol, lower the intake of sodium chloride and 'tone down' any hectic form of lifestyle to avoid stress. The more risks that a person has in their life; the more chance they have of developing CHD. ...read more.

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