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Coronary Heart Disease

What is coronary heart disease?

If your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked, then the blood supply to your heart will be impaired. This is the most common form of heart disease, known as coronary heart disease (sometimes called coronary artery disease or ischaemic heart disease).
In coronary heart disease a fatty substance, called atheroma, builds up in the lining of your coronary arteries. This narrows the artery and causes a restricted blood flow. This process, known as atherosclerosis, can lead to other heart conditions such as angina or heart attacks.

What causes coronary heart disease?

There are certain things that increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease. These are called risk factors and include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol level
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Unhealthy diet

These risk factors have all been proven to contribute to coronary heart disease. The more risks you have, the more your risk of developing coronary heart disease; the risks don’t just add, they multiply.
However, please note that if you don’t have these particular risk factors, you could still be at risk of developing heart disease. You may have other genetic factors that could increase the likelihood of you developing coronary heart disease (CHD).
If a family member has been affected by CHD then you should still take all possible steps to reduce your risk of heart disease. You should also request that your doctor conducts a cardiovascular risk assessment on you to discover any specific risk factors that you may have.

Reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Making a lot of small changes to your lifestyle and diet over time can make a big difference to your overall health and risk of suffering with CHD. You can start by cutting down on unhealthy foods and drinks and then moving onto doing daily exercise.
Keeping your body moving and healthy is a simple, yet extremely effective approach to reducing your risk of CHD. Tell your loved ones that you’re making these changes and even ask if they’d like to be involved!

We’re here to help

If you’d like to learn more about your condition and the support available to you, call our Advice Line on freephone 0808 801 0899 or text NURSE to 66777. Whether you’re looking for a trained listening ear or to find others experiencing the same condition as you, we can help you to build a better, healthier life.

Visit our Living with a Heart Condition section for more information about how to manage your condition at home, how to stay well and reduce your risk of developing further heart conditions.

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