While there is no single cause for Coronary Heart Disease, there are a large variety of “risk factors” that can increase your chance of developing it.
Your heart is considered to be the most important muscle, as it pumps blood all over your body. However, in order for it to work properly – and efficiently – it needs a steady and continuous supply of blood to keep things moving.
What is Coronary Heart Disease?
Coronary arteries are the vessels that supply the heart muscle with the blood required, which is in turn packed full of the oxygen needed by every cell in your body. If these arteries aren’t working at their optimal speed or have blockages from a buildup of plaque, this is what we refer to as Coronary Heart Disease.
Plaque is made of fat, cholesterol and other materials. This plaque builds up inside of coronary artery walls, and can cause the arteries to narrow and stiffen. In turn, this greatly reduces the blood flow and vital oxygen delivered to the heart muscles, which is referred to as atherosclerosis.
Over time, this can cause chest pain, or angina. If the artery wall tears and plaque leaks into the bloodstream, it can cause a blood clot to form, or essentially blocking the blood vessel. Should blood flow to the heart muscle be stopped, or the heart does not get enough blood flow, a heart attack (injury to the heart muscle) can occur.
In 2018, an estimated 580,000 Australians aged 18 and over (2.8% of the adult population) had Coronary Heart Disease. The prevalence of this disease increases rapidly with age, affecting around 1 in 7 adults (14%) aged 75 and over – so what can you do to stop it?
Risk Factors Associated With Coronary Heart Disease
While there are several risk factors associated with Coronary Heart Disease that you can’t change, such as family history, getting older, some ethnicities and even being male, the good news is that there are plenty of other lifestyle choices that can be amended if you wish to avoid becoming another statistic.
Everyday behaviours and lifestyle choices that can dramatically improve the health of your heart include:
- Eating a “heart healthy” diet and maintain a healthy weight
- Spend more time being physically active
- Don’t smoke (even passively)
- Control your cholesterol levels
- Control your blood pressure
Coronary Heart Disease is ultimately a chronic condition, and requires lifelong attention and medical treatment that can also include prescribed medications and even surgery in order to avoid any other potential health risks associated with the condition, such as a heart attack or stroke.
If you or a loved one suspect that you might be at risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease, then it might be time to make an appointment with a medical professional. After all, catching this condition early is crucial if you wish to continue living a long and enjoyable life.
Having access to an after hours home doctor can provide immeasurable peace of mind, knowing that you can reach a doctor when your regular GP is closed. To book an after hours home doctor find out more here.