Coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and over time it can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure and arrhythmia. Lifestyle changes and medical treatments can help prevent of treat coronary heart disease. As with many illnesses, the more you know about heart disease, the more you can do to help yourself live a healthy life.
Coronary heart disease starts in the arteries
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle. Over time, the plaque build-up can harden and hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries, reducing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Plaque build-up can also rupture and if that happens, a blood clot can form. A large blood clot can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery.
The plaque build-up from heart disease affects more than just your heart
Plaque build-up can slow and even stop blood flow. This means the tissue supplies by the artery is cut off from its blood supply which often leads to pain or decreased function and can cause a number of serious health problems. Depending on the location of the blockage, it can cause:
- Stroke - loss of blood to areas of the brain
- Peripheral vascular disease - loss of blood to the extremities
It's time to talk to your doctor if you have these risk factors
Men, especially those over 45 years of age, are more likely to have coronary heart disease - also known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is also common in women over 55 years of age. Factors that increase your chance of getting atherosclerosis include:
- Family history of the disease
- High cholesterol - especially low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet
- Cigarette smoking
- Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2
- Overweight and/or obese
- Lack of physical activity
- Metabolic syndrome - a combination of 3 out of the following 5 findings
- Low HDL-cholesterol - also called good cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Elevated blood sugar
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased waist circumference - greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
Heart arrhythmia can be a sign of bigger problems
When the heart's ability to work is reduced over a long period of time, it can also affect your heart's natural rhythm. The heart normally works in a regular, steady pattern. Arrhythmia can be short bursts of abnormal rhythms or last for a longer time. Most will not affect overall health but some arrhythmia can slow the flow of blood to the body or increases the risk of other medical conditions such as stroke.
Brandy Rodabaugh, a marketing professional and mother of three from Walton, has had more than her fair share of health issues in her young life. From atrial tachycardia and colon cancer to liver and gallbladder issues, Logansport Memorial Hospital has been there for Brandy through it all - and we have never let her down.