I have used the word, “Cardiovascular diseases” several times in my previous posts. Some of you might already know what it means, but I am sure, the vast majority would be unaware of that term. Cardiovascular relates to the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular diseases is actually a group of diseases affecting the heart and the blood vessels. Heart diseases due to defective blood circulation to the heart comprises the most important disease in this group. The blood circulation to the heart is mainly from the Coronary blood vessels.
Impairment of heart function due to inadequate blood flow to the heart caused by obstruction in the coronary blood vessels is called Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). In this article we will be focussing on the causes or risk factors of Coronary Heart Disease.
Types of CHD
Coronary Heart Diseases may manifest in different ways :
- Chest Pain due to effort (angina Pectoris)
- Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
- Irregularities of Heart
- Heart Failure
- Sudden Death
Among these conditions, Heart Attack is specific to CHD. Sudden death and Chest pain due to effort can occur in many other diseases too.
Risk Factors of CHD
Coronary Heart Diseases cannot be considered as a disease due to a single cause. It is actually a multi-factorial disease as you would have already guessed. I have already written about some of the factors which pose a high risk in leading to CHD. These risk factors can be broadly divided into two groups :
- Modifiable Risk Factors
- Non Modifiable Risk Factors
Modifiable Risk Factors
These are the factors which we bring into our own lives. These factors are the result of our way of living and they can definitely be modified if a person gives his full commitment to the cause. These factors include :
Cigarette Smoking This is the easiest way to slow death. Carbon Monoxide and Nicotine contained in cigarretes are very effective lethal chemicals. Higher is the risk of developing CHD as the number of cigarettes smoked per day increases. It doesn’t matter if you are smoking a Filter Cigarette or not. A whole article dedicated to smoking is required to make sense of the importance of the topic. But, as in all grave situations, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Studies have shown that Cessation of Cigarette smoking for more than one year reduces the risk of developing CHD substantially. So think twice before you lit up the next cigarette.
High Blood Pressure : or commonly known as Hypertension is the pressure exerted by blood on the blood vessel wall. I recommend you to read this article on the effects of Salt on blood pressure to understand more about it.
High Blood Cholesterol is another major risk factor of CHD . There are different components of Blood Cholesterol like HDL or High Density Lipoprotein, LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein etc. Studies have shown that LDL is bad cholesterol and is most directly associated with CHD. HDL on the other hand is good cholesterol and is considered as protective against CHD.
Diabetes Read this article to learn the basics of Diabetes and it’s relation with CHD.
Obesity: Do physical exercise and adopt a healthy balanced diet to reduce your body weight and keep heart diseases away. You can read more about Obesity by clicking here.
Sedentary Life Style Habits has already been explained in my previous post. Click here to read that article especially if you have a white collar job .
Stress has also been mentioned in my last article.
Non Modifiable Risk Factors
Increasing age, Male sex, positive family history are some of the risk factors which cannot be modified by us.
In this article, I have mentioned some of the major risk factors of Coronary Heart Disease. If you have just found out that you too are at risk of developing CHD, try to change your lifestyle a bit and make sure that you are in control of the risk factor. I am telling this because most of these risk factors can be modified to prevent cardiovascular diseases and even deaths associated with it. Do read my previous posts to make more sense on this topic.
Image Credit – Ravindra Gandhi