The Positive Side of Medicine

Understanding Coronary Heart Disease

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Understanding Coronary Heart Disease

Did you know that Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States? For every 10,000 people, an estimated 200 pass away from this common heart disease. The conditions of atherosclerosis and coronary thrombosis are together known as coronary heart disease (CHD). Atherosclerosis is a degenerative disease of the large and medium sized arteries, where the growth of wall tissue and accumulation of cholesterol cause the artery wall to bulge inwards — thus preventing blood flow. The atherosclerotic arteries tend to form blood clots, which in turn is called thrombosis. These blood clots prevent cells in the artery walls from contracting, thus causing myocardial infarction —also known as a heart attack.

heart attack vs cardiac arrest vs stroke

Much research has been done to attempt to identify factors that increase the risk of CHD. The following factors all increase the statistical risk:
– Increasing age
– Being male rather than female
– Having a family history of CHD
– Obesity
– Physical inactivity
– High blood pressure
– Tobacco smoking
More equivocally is the effect of diet; there is much evidence for dietary factors increasing the risk of CHD. This is why it’s so important to eat healthy! Trans-fat, saturated fat intake, and cholesterol intake have all been positively correlated with CHD. Trans fats can be found in prepackaged foods like cookies, crackers, and potato chips, as well as fried foods like French fries and doughnuts. Saturated fats can be found in butter, oils, shortening, and the fat in some meat products. In turn, trans fats and saturated fats raise blood cholesterol levels. The easiest preventive measures you can take are to exercise regularly and maintain a balanced diet. Why become another statistic?

By Sanjana Umarale

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