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Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary heart disease is a condition that arises from increased amounts of atheromatous plaques that gather within the arteries. Many people who develop this condition may not begin showing symptoms until years after they have initially developed the disease. The most dangerous symptom of this disease is a heart attack, and this will generally occur after the atheromatous plaques break apart and begin restricting the flow of blood into the heart. Coronary artery disease is a common cause for sudden death.
This condition is known for having varying extremes. Certain people can be defined as being asymptomatic, and will have an early form of the disease where the flow of blood is not blocked. Doctors who perform coronary angiograms at this point may not be able to detect the disease because the lumen within the artery has not been reduced in size. However, the atheromatous plaques will grow into the walls of the arteries, and once they cause the lumen to expand, the blood flow will be restricted. Many researchers believe that this process took many years to occur, but there have been some cases where the plaque would rupture, and the progression of this disease would increase much faster than normal.
If the atheromatous plaques do not block more than 70 percent of the artery, patients will typically not begin showing the symptoms that are associated with the disease. Once the atheromatous plaques block more than 70 percent of the artery, the patient will begin showing symptoms. The heart will begin working harder to increase the amount of blood that flows to it, and the lumen may nearly become completely blocked. A patient who is in this situation will typically have suffered from multiple heart attacks, and may have angina as well. The restriction of blood flow to the heart is called ischema, and the cells will starve because they don't have oxygen.
There are a number of things responsible for the development of coronary artery disease. Smoking or being overweight is a common cause, while a lack of vitamin C can also lead to the development of this condition. There is also evidence that this disease is genetic in nature. Someone who comes from a family where many members have developed coronary heart disease will be much more likely to develop it themselves. People who have large amounts of triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins have an increased chance for developing this condition. Angina is defined as the pain a patient will go through when they have an advanced form of the disease.
Coronary artery disease is very common in the West, and has been called the number one killer of Americans. The best way to avoid it is to avoid smoking and reduce the amount of cholesterol in your body. People who are overeweight will want to exercise and avoid foods that are rich in saturated fats. Those who live a sedentary lifestyle will want to go out as much as possible to be physically active. It is also important to make sure you consume decent amounts of vitamin C.
About the Author: Michael Colucci is a writer for Coronary Artery Disease which is part of the Knowledge Search network