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Coronary Heart Disease

What is coronary heart disease? 

Coronary heart disease, also referred to as ischaemic heart disease or coronary artery disease, is usually caused by the build-up of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries – the vessels that supply blood to your heart. This causes them to narrow, making it harder for blood to reach your heart. 

 

If you have coronary heart disease you may have: 

  • Angina: chest pain caused by poor supply of blood to the heart muscle. 
  • Arrhythmia: a disturbance of the normal rhythm of the heart. 
  • Heart attack: when a coronary artery becomes completely blocked, part of the heart muscle is starved of oxygen and can be permanently damaged leading to a heart attack. 

What are the risk factors associated with coronary heart disease? 

  • Smoking 
  • Elevated blood pressure 
  • Elevated blood cholesterol 
  • Diabetes 
  • Sedentary lifestyle 
  • Obese or overweight 
  • Stress 
  • High alcohol intake 
  • Positive family history 

What can cause coronary heart disease? 

The cause of this condition in patients is mainly due to: 

  • A build-up of plaque deposits on the inside of the blood vessels which narrows the inside of the blood vessel. 
  • Further narrowing of the blood vessels by deposits of platelets on the walls of the blood vessel.
  • Development of a thrombus (blood clots) which may suddenly cut off the flow of blood through the blood vessel. 

What are the symptoms? 

  • Chest pain is the most common symptom (referred to as angina pectoris). This may also be described as a discomfort, pressure or tightness in the chest
  • The pain may be felt extending into the arm, shoulders and jaw
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Shortness of breath or experiencing difficulty in breathing
  • Sweating or clamminess 
  • Palpitations 
  • Dizziness