A healthy heart is indispensable to living a healthy life. Disease of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle is blamed for causing the highest number of deaths in the UK. If any heart muscle loses blood supply, it fails to function properly. The state in which there is impaired supply to the heart muscle is known as cardiovascular disease, coronary thrombosis, myocardial infarction, myocardial ischaemia, coronary artery disease or coronary insufficiency. In simple words, coronary heart disease is the narrowing or blocking of coronary arteries that take blood to the heart.
Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease
Your heart's health primarily depends on the condition of your arteries. Men are at a higher risk of coronary artery disease than women. Some of the risk factors include:
- If you have a family history of coronary disease, you are at a higher risk of getting infected with the same.
- With age, the risk of damage to arteries increases. When plaque blocks an artery, blood flow to the heart becomes a problem. A blocked artery poses a risk of a heart attack.
- Carbon monoxide and nicotine can damage the blood vessels and their inner lining, making them vulnerable to atherosclerosis, which increases the risk of heart attack.
- Uncontrolled blood pressure can thicken and harden the arteries, which narrows the passage through which blood flows.
- High levels of cholesterol pose an increased risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis.
- There is a high risk of coronary artery disease in diabetes patients.
- Lack of physical activity can raise the risk of coronary artery disease.
- Unrelieved stress threatens to damage your arteries and aggravate risk factors for coronary artery disease.
As you get older, there is a constant build-up of fat, which may slightly injure walls of the blood vessel. Moreover, other substances passing through the blood stream, including proteins, inflammatory cells, calcium and cellular waste products, start sticking to the vessel walls. As a result, the accumulation of fat and other substances results in plaque build-up on the artery walls, which poses a risk of angina or chest pain. The condition may also result in coronary artery disease and cause a heart attack.
Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
Angina is the most common symptom, which is also known as chest pain or chest discomfort, numbness, heaviness, aching, fullness, tightness or squeezing. The condition may be mistaken for heartburn or even indigestion.
Other symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme weakness
- A faster heartbeat
Making lifestyle changes can help you in preventing coronary disease symptoms. Start with a healthy diet, which reduces your chances of high blood pressure as well as high blood cholesterol. A healthy diet will also keep your weight under check and prevent you from become overweight or obese, which may increase your chances of coronary heart disease.