Coronary heart disease and its treatment

Authors Avatar

Coronary heart disease and its treatment

Over 270 000 people suffer heart attacks every year, in the UK. What causes coronary heart disease? How can it be treated and prevented and what are the risk factors?

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is caused by atherosclerosis occurring in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the myocardium. Restriction of blood-flow to this tissue reduces its ability to function; failure of the myocardium can have catastrophic consequences. CHD is multi-factorial; teenagers may start smoking to be accepted by people. British people are more likely to suffer CHD then Japanese people because of the diet based around rice, fish, and potatoes. High blood pressure (BP) causes tears to the endothelium, fats are laid down and form atheroma. Nicotine in cigarettes increases the BP, causing tears in the endothelium. Carbon Monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen transported in the blood, the heart works faster to maintain the blood supply to body tissues and increases the blood pressure. High saturated fats and cholesterol in the blood cause the release of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are lipids combined with proteins that are laid down in the arteries forming atheroma. High salt levels in the bloodstream raise the HR, causing atherosclerosis. High sugar levels leads to diabetes and obesity, these are both risk factors for CHD.

Exercise increases the metabolic rate; burns up fats and sugars in the blood for respiration. If people do not get enough exercise fats are laid down into the arterial walls, forming atheroma. Older people lose elasticity in their arteries resulting in a higher BP. Older people are not as active and do not generally participate in as much exercise, also more time has elapsed over the years for atheroma to accumulate in the arteries. The likelihood of obesity in older people is greater because they have a lower metabolic rate then younger generations. Men are more likely to get CHD because the female hormone oestrogen prevents damage to the endothelium reducing the chances of CHD in women. People can inherit high cholesterol levels genetically e.g. hypercholesterolemia. They have higher LDL levels then average people and therefore more chance of developing CHD.

Join now!

Treating CHD

Treatments for CHD include; changes to a person’s diet, exercise, drugs and surgery.  Patients can monitor their intake of fats with low fat diets. Lower concentrations of saturated fats in a diet reduce the release of LDL into the blood. Increasing intake of fibre absorbs fats in the diet preventing them being absorbed into the bloodstream. An increase in complex carbohydrates in the diet lowers blood sugar concentration, reducing BP and HR. Exercise is a simple/cost effective treatment for suffers of CHD. The increased HR and metabolic rate means more of the body's food intake is used for ...

This is a preview of the whole essay