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Factors that affect the Development of Coronary Heart Disease

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Factors that affect the Development of Coronary Heart Disease In today's society, peoples understanding of medical issues are vastly increasing. Treatments, cures and vaccines for various diseases and disorders are being developed constantly, and yet, "coronary heart disease remains the number one killer in the world, it kills 260,000 people a year"(1) Therefore it is my aim throughout this essay to identify and expand on the factors that affect the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). "Coronary Heart Disease involves atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries." (2) Atherosclerosis is the result of an atheroma forming in an artery or the hardening of the arteries. This involves the deposition of atherosclerotic plaques, which narrow the diameter of the artery. These plaques are usually collections of connection tissue, fats and smooth muscle cells. The plaque project into the lumen, the passageway of the artery, and interfere with the flow of blood. (see figure one). In conjunction with the reduction of blood flow, blood clots are more likely to form as the lumen progressively becomes narrower. It is the heart cells themselves that are reliant upon the oxygen and nutrients that a sufficient blood flow provides therefore without such a blood flow they are unable to function properly. ...read more.


Instead they can decrease the dangers LDL cholesterol has upon a person's health. "Eating a cholesterol-rich diet will increase the amount of LDL in the blood" (11) especially if the diet consists of animal and dairy fats. Physical activity however increases the amount of HDL, which helps to reduce the dangers of LDL. Furthermore the risk of high blood pressure and obesity, which both contribute to the development of CHD, is also decreased with regular exercise. In addition the risk of CHD is further increased if a person is clinically obese. This is due to the fact that an atheroma is more likely to form in the coronary arteries due to the high amount of cholesterol present. This will eventually lead to atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is the next risk factor to be studied and it increases the risk of CHD in many ways. High blood pressure simply means the heart has to 'work harder' to pump the blood around the body. This is done by "an increase in cardiac output and by contraction of the muscle in the middle layer of the arteries" (12). A condition called hypertension is then seen to occur when blood pressure remains at a high level and it is this condition that can greatly increase the risk of CHD. ...read more.


Finally there is also a trend in the age and gender risk factors. "Males who are under the age of fifty-five are more likely to develop CHD than women" (18) for instance. In continuance the risk of women developing CHD does seem to increase after they encounter the menopause. "The exact reason why women are protected from CHD before the menopause is not known for sure, but it does seem likely that this is related to hormones that disappear once menstruation stops" (19) Nevertheless the risk of CHD is roughly even at the age of seventy-five and above, regardless of the gender. In conclusion, there are many factors mentioned above that can increase the risk of a person developing CHD. However in conjunction with that fact, there are many ways in which people can reduce the risk of CHD which basically involves avoiding many of these possible risk factors. It is clear to say that by reducing the risk of an atheroma forming, a person can lower their chance of developing CHD. Therefore people should not smoke, exercise regularly, eat a low cholesterol diet, avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and refrain from living 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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