Coronary artery disease is one of the most common problems suffered by the American population. There are several arterial ailments that are responsible for causing chest pain, discomfort, and other symptoms. Some of those ailments are constricted or narrowed coronary arteries, heart attacks, and angina.
The heart is a muscle that is wrapped around the middle of the chest. By definition, it has two arteries that are specialized in taking blood from the heart to the rest of the body. These arteries take the oxygenated blood from the heart to all parts of the body, minimizing the risk of blood vessel injury as a result of the hardening of the arteries. Because of the fact that the heart’s job is to pump blood, it is very sensitive to atherosclerosis, a build-up of cholesterol on the inside walls of the arteries that lead to a heart attack.
coronary arteries become clogged by cholesterol, as a result of many factors that include aging, diet, obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that the risk of heart disease increases with the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Fatty foods, unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking and alcohol abuse, and genetic factors are also known to be the causes of coronary artery disease. Some of the common risk factors leading to heart diseases are:
- Obesity – In addition to cholesterol, fat weighs heavily on the heart. More than 35 percent of people who have a large waist are at risk of heart disease. ThisObesity risk goes hand in hand with the increase in high blood pressure that is also yet another risk factor for heart disease.
- High High blood pressure – This is also known as hypertension and nearly 1/3 of all Americans over 40 years old suffer from it. Hypertension is the result of hardening of the arteries when the heart pumps more and more blood than normal. If the heart is working less than it should, damage can be done to the heart itself. When the heart’s pressure increases, the tissues of the heart are forced to work harder in order to have enough strength to push the blood against the harder arteries.
- Diabetes – Diabetes is a disease that causes sugar to collect around the inside walls of the blood vessels. If the sugar collection inside the blood vessels were to build up and cause a bigger issue inside the heart, it could lead to serious problems including heart attack.
- Smoking – There’s been a raging debate for a while now whether or not smoking causes heart disease. The latest research shows, in fact, that smoking does cause heart disease. But not only does smoking cause it, smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also at a much higher risk of developing heart disease.
- Obesity – Overweight people are much more likely to develop coronary artery disease than average weight people. The risk of heart disease increases by 25 percent for each 10 percent of body weight over 20 percent.
- High cholesterol – This is a leading cause of coronary artery disease and one of the most common causes of death in the United States. Excess fat just sitting around in the blood vessels adds to the thickening and hardening of the blood vessels, which in turn makes the arteries more prone to clots and other types of heart disease.
Now that you know some of the risk factors for heart disease, you’re probably wondering how you can lower your risk of developing it. Heart disease is preventable and, with a little knowledge of your own, you can lower your risk and be in good shape. Here are a few things to consider. First, make sure you maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight, especially around the midsection, pulls or compresses the heart and can put you at much greater risk for heart disease. While you can’t “spot reduce” the fat in your arteries, it is possible to lose weight enough to lower your risk. Second, eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fiber, fish, low-fat dairy products, and unprocessed foods. These foods contain antioxidants that can help lessen the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries and at the same time improve blood circulation. Foods that contain lots of vitamin C, E, and B are the best for the heart. Finally, keep your blood pressure in check at least by having medication as per the recommendations of your doctor.