Thursday, March 12, 2009

Coronary Artery Disease -What You Need to Know

By Katie A. Price

You have probably heard a lot of people fear coronary artery disease or simply heart disease. What happens in heart disease is that the arteries harden and become unable to expand because of the deposition of fat in their walls. These fat deposits are called plaques or atheromas. This plaque does not only harden the arteries but it also causes a blockage in the pathway of blood causing inadequate supply to the heart.

Fat deposits in arteries are very dangerous. Aside from the fact that these arteries should not be present in the arteries, these deposits also cause a disturbance in the heart's normal functioning. The blood vessels with fat deposits are narrowed. It also causes hardening that inhibits the normal elastic function of the vessels. It causes decreased blood flow to the heart which results in chest pain called angina.

Angina is the pain that patients with heart disease dread. Not enough oxygen reaches the heart muscles. The heart muscles, just like any other muscle, need oxygen to function properly. Oxygen is transported through the bloodstream. Because of the fat deposits, less supply of blood reaches the heart. Angina now occurs. It is described as a stabbing chest pain that can also be felt at the back and extremities.

Usually, after an angina, a possible heart attack is expected. The heart attack happens because of the lack of oxygen supply in the heart muscles causing it to form necrotic tissues. With necrotic tissues present in your heart, it will not be effective anymore in pumping blood throughout your system. Your heart will be tired of pumping ineffectively, causing it to fail. Without prompt treatment, a heart attack will cause death.

Now that you know all about the disease process of coronary artery disease, you should also know what its risk factors are so that you'll be able to prevent having such a disease. If you have a family history of coronary artery disease, you will have a greater chance of developing it. Smoking can also increase the risk of developing heart disease because nicotine causes blood vessel constriction which further narrows the arteries.

People with less activity or those who are just sitting and watching television or doing nothing all day are also very prone to develop coronary heart disease. Decreased physical activity for a long period of time causes the muscles to become weak and unable to function properly. With a weak heart muscle, it can no longer pump enough blood and therefore has to do some extra work. This extra work will cause fatigue to the heart, causing it to fail.

Obesity also increases the chance of having heart disease. Fat is a major contributory factor for the development of heart disease and people who are obese or overweight have a lot of fat stored in their bodies. These fats need to be burned down to lose weight and prevent having serious complications such as heart disease.

Major lifestyle changes have to be made in order to prevent coronary heart disease. Living an active lifestyle is important to maintain good health. Coronary artery disease is a lifetime disease. Medications will be needed for maintenance and prevention of heart attack. Although there are a lot of procedures available to treat heart disease, these are only for management and not cure.

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