What Happens During A Heart Attack? - What is Coronary Heart Disease?

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What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary heart disease or CHD refers to a narrowing of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels
that supply oxygen and blood to the heart. It is also known as coronary artery disease and it is the
leading cause of death worldwide. It is a major cause of illness and death. Coronary heart disease
normally happens when fatty deposits called cholesterol accumulates on the artery walls,
creating plaques. The arteries narrow, reducing blood flow to the heart. Sometimes, a clot can
obstruct the flow of blood to the heart muscle. CHD commonly causes angina pectoris (chest
pain), shortness of breath, myocardial infarction, or heart attack. A heart attack is the sudden
slowing or stopping of contractions of the heart muscles. This could be due to malfunction of the
cardiac muscles. Part of the heart muscle dies due to lack of oxygen. Heart attacks can also lead
to death.
CHD can also be caused by hypertension, coronary thrombosis, arteriosclerosis and
atherosclerosis. Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure, it is when our blood
pressure, the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high.
Coronary thrombosis is forming of blood clot or thrombus in the artery. It is most likely to occur
in narrow arteries. Arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis is the narrowing and hardening of arteries.
This happens due to cholesterol deposition on them. Most of the blocks in the artery are caused
by a combination of atheroma and thrombus. When this bloackage occurs it is called coronary
occlusion.
Causes of Coronary Heart Disease
CHD can be caused due to unhealthy lifestyle habits and even genetics. Certain mutations in the
genes are linked to this disease. A study published in PLOS in 2017, even linked CHD to food
preparation on high heat. Unhealthy diet rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, leads to high
blood cholesterol level. Smoking increases heart rate and blood pressure, this causes blood to
clot more easily. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in our blood.
This increases our blood pressure and heart rate by forcing our heart to work harder to supply
enough oxygen.
Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or
stroke than are those who do not smoke or take birth control pills, because both can increase the
risk of blood clots. Tobacco has toxins, which reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Stress
releases adrenaline, which increases heart rate and blood pressure.
Prevention
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help protect your heart. Aim to eat beans,
low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean meats, and fish as part of a healthy diet. Avoid too much
salt and sugars in your diet. Limiting certain fats you eat also is important. Exercise regularly and
maintain weight. Stop or do not start smoking. Avoid all forms of tobacco use, as all are equally
harmful. Reduce stress in your life.
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