Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease
is the single

In the world

"Ain’t that scary!"

It is also known as..

  • Isochemic Heart disease
  • Hardening of the Arteries
  • Atherosclerosis

What is Coronary Heart Disease?

CHD is an interruption of the blood supply to your heart muscle.
This is usually by a plaque like substance caused by fatty deposits made up of Cholesterol, and other things in your blood.
These congregate and block the coronary arteries. Like hard water in a pipe

When we are children the insides of our arteries are smooth, allowing an uninterrupted passage for the blood to flow...

By the time we enter adolescence. The inner walls have been abraded by particles carried in our blood containing Cholesterol.

The body’s way of dealing with these abrasions is to isolate them by coating them with white blood cells.,

These encase the Cholesterol like a foam, which sticks them to the artery wall.
The medical name for this is Atherosclerosis aka Hardening of the arteries.

This coating can crack, and will attract more white cells repeating the process, and narrowing the artery further.
Until eventually
I.e. In middle age.
It causes an obstruction.

In some cases the coating will crack off and float away down the artery, until..
Like a fallen tree in a river, it lodges in a restriction.
Further reducing it, and making it liable to catch more ‘floaters’.


Bingo! You got a blockage…

Because the blood cant get through at a fast enough rate, it can’t give enough oxygen to the heart muscle.
This eventually causes damage to the muscle, making it less able to do its job of pumping the blood round the body.

This slowing can also encourage clots to form in the blood, which can then lodge in the narrowed artery causing further problems.

These blockages will in time cause heart failure.
Where the heart becomes too weak to do its job of pumping enough blood around the body.

If blockages to the coronary arteries become so bad that they seriously starve an area of the heart of oxygen then…


Coronary Heart Disease Video

Most ‘Events’ due to narrowing happen at less than 50% obstruction and on average at 20%
Unfortunately for 65% of men affected, the first sign that you have Atherosclerosis is a heart attack.

One of the early warning signs of CHD is a pain called Angina…

Angina is a pain or discomfort that can be felt in the chest, back, shoulder, arm, or neck
It is often felt as a squeezing or constriction in the chest with pains shooting out from it. Or it can be a dull ache.
This pain is often brought on or gets worse with exertion, anger, or stress.
It is also sometimes accompanied by shortness of breath.

Angina affects about 1 in 50 middle aged men;
It’s more common in men than in women, and your chances of getting it will increase with age…

One of the dangerous things about Angina is that it can be mistaken for Indigestion, or cramp, which of course we all get.

There is also the ‘denial’ factor, that we middle aged men seem to lean on whenever anything comes along which we don’t like.

Certain lifestyle habits can increase the deposits leading to arterial blockage.

  • Smoking (Increases the risk up to 200%)
  • Fatty diets high in Cholesterol
  • High blood pressure (Increases the risk by 60%)
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise

Diagnosis of Coronary Heart Disease
There are several methods used in combination to diagnose Coronary Heart Disease
  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Stress testing
  • Echocardiography
  • Coronary Angiography (Angiography Video)

Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease...

Once it has been diagnosed there are several ways to treat Coronary Heart Disease

  • Lifestyle Change
  • Medication
  • Surgery

The various lifestyle changes recommended to reduce risk of Coronary Heart Disease are… (You’ve guessed it)
  • Quit Smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Exercise more
  • Eat better
  • Reduce stress,
There is a section on all of these subjects on the site just follow the links

In the event that these lifestyle changes are not enough on their own CHD can to a certain extent be controlled by medicines such as…

  • Cardio Selective Beta blockers
  • Ace inhibitors
  • Nitrates
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium Channel Blockers

These drugs work on the blood vessels causing them to widen so reducing blood pressure, This reduces the amount of work the heart has to do.
Some of them also regulate the amount of fluid in the blood which again helps to reduce blood pressure and ‘load’ on the heart.

  • Statins
Statins are drugs that work by reducing your Livers capacity to produce Cholesterol.
They also reduce plaque formation in the arteries, and they can decrease clot formation in the blood.

If all else fails there Is always the surgical option

Angioplasty is a procedure where a long very thin tube is passed through an artery (Usually in the groin) to the heart.
The end of this tube has got a balloon, or other tool, fitted to it. When it reaches the constricted part, it is used to physically expand the artery. Enabling a restored blood flow.
In some cases a mesh tube, called a ‘Stent’, is placed in the artery to keep it open.
Angiopasty is successful in nine out of ten cases. But there are cases where there are several narrowings and angioplasty becomes unsuitable.

Angioplasty Video

Coronary Bypass Surgery
Also known as ‘Heart Bypass’, Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, CABG,
Is an operation where a section of blocked Artery is replaced by a Grafted section, taken from another part of the body.

CABG is a procedure not undertaken lightly, as it involves opening the patients chest cavity, (No keyhole surgery here) and sometimes, with the heart stopped.
(“Scary or what!”)

Coronary Bypass Video

"By the way”…

If someone has a ‘Double Bypass’ or a ‘Triple Bypass’ it doesn’t mean that they are ‘more sick’ than someone who has ‘Only had’ a ‘Single Bypass’.

It might just mean that the surgeon could only fix so many arteries.
Arteries that are too small or too blocked are sometimes unable to be replaced.


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