Coronary heart disease is the most common heart problem. Treatment of this condition is very important. If left untreated, coronary heart disease can endanger the life of the sufferer.
Coronary heart disease occurs when the heart’s blood vessels or coronary arteries become blocked due to plaque formed from fatty deposits or other substances, such as calcium and fibrin. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.
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Plaque can form on the walls of the arteries, even when a person is young. However, the older one gets, the higher the risk of plaque formation. If left untreated, the presence of plaque can cause narrowing of the blood vessels and disrupt the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
Plaque can also block most to all of the blood flow in the arteries. When the blockage of blood flow occurs in the coronary arteries, this condition can lead to a heart attack.
Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease
So far, the exact cause of plaque formation in arteries is still unknown. However, the following factors can increase the risk of coronary heart disease:
1. Smoking habit
Smoking is one of the most instrumental factors in increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. At least more than 30% of people who experience a heart attack are active smokers.
The nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes make the heart work harder than usual. Both substances can also increase the risk of blood clots forming in the arteries.
Unfortunately, other chemicals in cigarettes can also damage the lining of the coronary arteries, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease.
2. High cholesterol
Too much cholesterol in the blood can cause coronary heart disease. The types of cholesterol that increase the risk of coronary heart disease are low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or commonly called bad cholesterol, and triglycerides.
It is this cholesterol that has a tendency to stick and accumulate in the coronary arteries.
Diabetics, especially those who do not receive treatment or whose blood sugar levels are not controlled, have twice the risk of developing coronary heart disease.
This is thought to be because people with this disease have thicker blood vessel walls. The thick walls of the coronary arteries can interfere with the smooth flow of blood to the heart.
4. Blood clots
Blood clots or thrombosis that occur in the coronary arteries will inhibit the blood supply to the heart. The process of blood clots is closely related to other factors, such as inflammation, high cholesterol levels, uncontrolled blood sugar, and stress.
5. High blood pressure
High blood pressure can also increase the risk of coronary heart disease. A person is categorized as having high blood pressure if they have a systolic pressure of more than 140 mmHg or more and a diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg or more.
Systolic pressure itself is defined as a measure of blood pressure when the heart contracts to pump blood throughout the body. Meanwhile, diastolic pressure is the blood pressure when the heart muscle stretches to receive blood flow back from various organs.
Coronary heart disease risk factors can also increase due to obesity. This condition can increase bad cholesterol and reduce the level of good cholesterol. In fact, good cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart disease, including coronary heart disease.
In addition, blood pressure in obese people also tends to be higher. This is because overweight people need more blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to the body. That is why obesity is one of the risk factors for coronary heart disease.
7. Genetic factors
People who have families with coronary heart disease will be more susceptible to this disease. There are studies that show that there are gene variants that are commonly owned by people with coronary heart disease. These gene variants play an important role in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
However, this genetic factor does not make you definitely have coronary heart disease, because this also depends on the lifestyle you have.
8. Rare exercise
Rarely exercising can increase the risk of coronary heart disease. A body that rarely moves can lose its ability to convert fat into energy so that fat accumulation will occur. This can increase the amount of bad cholesterol that can trigger coronary heart disease.
9. Alcohol addiction
Consuming too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and increase fatty substances flowing in the blood (triglycerides). Both of these can cause blockages in the heart’s blood vessels, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease.
After knowing the factors that can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, as much as possible you need to stay away from these factors in order to avoid coronary heart disease.
To minimize the risk of developing coronary heart disease, there are several ways you can do, such as exercising regularly, quitting smoking, maintaining a diet, limiting alcohol consumption, and getting enough rest.
The dangers of coronary heart disease can affect your quality of life. If the coronary arteries are completely blocked, it can lead to a heart attack. Therefore, see your doctor regularly if you are at high risk of developing this disease.
You are also advised to consult a doctor if you have experienced symptoms of coronary heart disease, such as chest pain that appears during strenuous activity or stress, shortness of breath, cold sweat, and chest pain that radiates to the arms and neck.