What causes Coronary Heart Disease?
While lifestyle factors will differ from person to person, CHD is caused by a narrowing or complete blocking of the arteries that lead to the heart. This is usually caused by plaques lining the artery walls known as Atherosclerosis.
Plaque in arteries
The plaques that narrow or completely close arteries are the result of different substances in the blood that can build up over time. These include: calcium, fat, cholesterol, and fibrin, which is used to clot blood. As plaque builds up, cells in your artery walls will multiply, which can worsen the blocking even more.
This is when plaques, or atheroma, form in the walls of the arteries and continue to grow. This can lead to hardening of the artery walls leading to increased blood pressure and further increasing your risk of getting a heart attack later on in life.
Coronary heart disease risk factors
There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chance of developing CHD. Some can be avoided by making healthier lifestyle choices, while others are caused by underlying conditions that can be more difficult to treat. It is important to be aware of these risk factors so that you can reduce your risk of developing CHD.
How does smoking cause Coronary Heart Disease?
Smoking is a major risk factor for CHD, and smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart diseases than non-smokers. There are a number of chemicals in cigarettes that can have a harmful effect on your heart. Nicotine and carbon monoxide inhaled into the body put a strain on the heart, which beats faster in response to them. Other chemicals in cigarettes can also damage the lining of your arteries, increase your blood pressure, and can cause a buildup of sticky plaque. Smoking also increases the risk of blood clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
How does high cholesterol cause Coronary Heart Disease?
Cholesterol can build up in your arteries which increases your risk of developing CHD. Cholesterol is a fat made by the liver from the saturated fats you eat. While a little cholesterol is essential to a healthy diet, too much will put a strain on your heart. High levels of cholesterol can be caused by an unhealthy diet, or by an underlying genetic condition.
How does high blood pressure cause Coronary Heart Disease?
High blood pressure can put a strain on your heart as it requires more effort to pump blood around your body. This increased pressure puts stress on the walls of your arteries, which can make them weaker or even damage the lining. Weakened or damaged arteries are more likely to become narrower and more likely to get blocked by a buildup of plaque..
How does obesity cause Coronary Heart Disease?
Obesity is caused by a combination of lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. Both of these things can lead to a buildup of fat in the arteries, which lines the artery walls, blocking them and making you more likely to develop CHD.
How does diabetes cause Coronary Heart Disease?
A high level of blood sugar leads to diabetes, which more than doubles the risk of developing CHD. Diabetes causes the lining of your blood vessels to become thicker, which increases the chances of plaque buildup in the arteries.
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