CHD – Causes and effects

Coronary Heart Disease – Causes and Effects 

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Coronary Heart Disease – Causes and effects 

The causes of coronary heart disease

The build of fatty deposits that are referred to as atheroma on the inner side of coronary arteries result in narrowing of these blood vessels. This build up of fatty deposits is called atherosclerosis. The continued build-up of fatty deposits eventually leads to hampered or restricted blood flow to the heart.

Factors that significantly increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis include:

  1. Smoking
  2. Hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure
  3. Elevated blood glucose levels
  4. Diabetes
  5. Failing to exercise regularly

There are other factors that also increase the risk of developing atherosclerosis. These are:

  1. Being overweight or obese
  2. If your close blood relatives have CHD. Research shows that having a male relative under the age of 55 who has CHD or a female blood relation who is below 55 years with CHD supports that you are likely to have an elevated risk of developing the disease. This is why Future Genetics is focusing research efforts to develop accurate ways of identifying at risk people before they develop the disease.

CHD and High Cholesterol

Cholesterol plays an essential function in healthy cells. It is made in the liver and is derived from saturated fat. So, the point is that although cholesterol is required by our bodies too much of it in the blood is a problem because this is the material that is used in the formation of fatty deposits on the inner sides of blood vessels such as the coronary arteries.

High blood pressure and CHD

Hypertension which is high blood pressure can be a significant contributor to the development of CHD. If you would like to learn more about hypertension please watch my series presentation on the topic.

The reason why hypertension can lead to CHD is that continued high blood pressure over a prolonged period places a strain on the heart in turn eventually results in CHD.

Smoking and CHD

Smoking increases risk to many diseases including CHD. The toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke and the nicotine found in tabaco products causes damage to the body. With respect to CHD two chemicals in particular, which are nicotine and carbon monoxide, cause the heart to work at an excessive that places a strain on it. Smoking may also result in increased risk blood clots forming in vessels. Clearly a clot in a blood vessel that feeds the heart may be problematic.

Tobacco smoke contains a large number of chemicals in addition to nicotine and carbon monoxide. Some of these chemicals are able to cause tissue damage to the inner sides of arteries. Data shows that tobacco smoking can result in a 24% increase in developing heart disease.

Diabetes or CHD

Diabetes is associated with abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood. Diabetic patients have more than a two-fold likelihood of also developing CHD.

Diabetics have increased risk of CHD because these patients tend to start having narrowing of blood vessels which is caused by the lining getting thicker. The consequence of this is that blood flow from arteries to vital organs progressively becomes more and more restrictive.

Thrombosis and CHD

Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel, which then obstructs normal blood flow at that site. If the blood clot has formed in one of the coronary arteries then this can lead to either restricted or blocked blood supply to the heart. The consequence of this is the heart muscle cannot function which then usually results in the person experiencing a heart attack.