An Analysis of Coronary Heart Disease

Table of contents

What is coronary heart disease?

Cardiovascular disease is pertaining to the heart and blood vessels and is a disorder of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. If these are damaged or blocked, the oxygen to the heart muscle is reduced, the heart stops contracting, and the person has a heart attack. This can cause instant death, if a large part of the heart is affected, or if it is less serious the person may


Most Cardiovascular heart disease usually starts with a build up of a fatty substance called cholesterol on the inside of the coronary vessels. This reduces the diameter of the vessels and therefore, the flow of blood to the heart muscle.

What is angina?

Angina is the name given to a tight pain felt in the chest that occurs when insufficient oxygen is being carried in the blood to the muscles of the heart. Stable angina usually occurs when the demand for oxygen cannot be met during exertion. Unstable angina can occur at any time, including at rest. Angina is a fairly common condition in men over the age of 50 years (although it can start as young as age 30). In women, it generally starts after the menopause.

Angina is the result of coronary artery disease, which is the main cause of death in the western world. Hard deposits (known by doctors as athermanous plaques) line the inside of the arteries in the heart, the coronary arteries, narrowing them. This reduces the amount of blood that can flow through them and thus the amount of oxygen delivered to the heart tissue.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack is when an area of heart muscle dies or is damaged because of an inadequate supply of oxygen to that area.

Heart attacks can cause a clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries (the blood vessels that bring blood and oxygen to heart muscle). The clot prevents blood and oxygen from reaching that area of the heart, leading to the death of heart cells in that area. Usually, this occurs in a coronary artery that has been narrowed from changes related to arteriosclerosis. The damaged heart tissue permanently loses its ability to contract.

What is a stroke?

A stroke, or brain attack, occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or artery, or when a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain. When a stroke occurs, it kills brain cells in the immediate area. Doctors call this area of dead cells an infarct. These cells usually die within minutes to a few hours after the stroke starts.

When brain cells in the infarct die, they release chemicals that set off a chain reaction. This chain reaction endangers brain cells in a larger surrounding area of the brain for which the blood supply is compromised but not completely cut off. Without prompt medical treatment this larger area of brain cells, called the penumbra, will also die.

When brain cells die, controls of abilities, which that area of the brain once controlled, are lost. This includes functions such as speech, movement, and memory. The specific abilities lost or affected depend on where in the brain the stroke occurs and on the size of the stroke (i.e., the extent of brain cell death). For example, someone who has a small stroke may experience only minor effects such as weakness of an arm or leg. On the other hand, someone who has a larger stroke may be left paralysed on one side or lose his/her ability to express and process language. Some people recover completely from less serious strokes, while other individuals lose their lives to very severe strokes.


The best form of treatment for these conditions would be to follow a low fat balanced diet, take regular exercise, avoid large amounts of alcohol, dont and not to smoke. Medical treatment includes surgery and warfarin aspirin also reduces risks.

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