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How Risky Is Coronary Heart Disease

May 14, 2008
Since it is becoming a common medical malady, it is important to be aware of the risk factors for coronary heart disease. There are a number of irregular conditions that affect the heart and the vessels supplying the heart with blood. Coronary heart disease is the most widespread kind of heart disease. It is also the most common cause of heart attacks.

Damage that occurs to the heart when the supply of blood is reduced is referred to as coronary heart disease. What normally happens is, deposits that are fatty in nature, build up within the lining of blood vessels whose job it is to supply blood to the heart muscles. This causes narrowing of the blood vessels and the resulting factor is a reduction in the blood supply to the heart muscles. This causes symptoms of pain known as angina.

Causes of Coronary Heart Disease

There are risk factors for coronary heart disease that are considered to be responsible for this disease. The biggest and most well known culprit is high cholesterol. Worldwide cholesterol levels in different populations vary quite dramatically. The Japanese population for instance, has much lower blood cholesterol levels and the rate of heart disease is lower. But in other populations that have similar incidences of blood cholesterol levels often have very varied heart disease rates.

Smoking tobacco is often quoted as one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease. The smoker has a twice greater chance of developing heart disease than a nonsmoker. Studies indicate that after having given up smoking for five years, the risk factor of developing coronary heart disease lowers to that of a person who has never smoked.

There is a medically proven relationship between smoking tobacco products and coronary heart disease. While smoking is legal and remains a personal choice, it is a dangerous practice and it is necessary for individuals to know that smoking habits play a role in the causes of serious coronary heart disease. Many individuals may be in denial regarding the connection between smoking and coronary heart disease. This denial is often based upon a need to mollify criticism towards smoking and may also stem from those companies who profit from the sale of tobacco products.

Pop Cultural Influences

When watching old episodes of the TONIGHT SHOW with Johnny Carson, it is surprising to see that he casually smokes cigarettes during the greater part of the program. In the classic films made in the 1930's and 40's, many actors puff away on cigarettes during the duration of the film. In one of the most bizarre scenes in the 1973 film THE EXORCIST portrays doctors smoking whilst acting in the examination scene. Fans of classic motion pictures and television programs will notice that the number of people portrayed smoking while acting out their roles as very high by today's standards. It is no wonder that the incidences of coronary heart disease were so high only a few decades ago.

At one time, smoking was so routinely shown in film and television productions worldwide that it acquired a foothold in pop culture. The result of this is that much of the public, close to 50%, was profoundly addicted to tobacco products. This addiction has not been without consequences as coronary heart disease and lung cancer incidences increased to correspond with the huge amount of individuals who enjoyed smoking cigarettes.

How Smoking Contributes To Coronary Heart Disease

Despite various attempts by stakeholders in the tobacco industry to deny the link between smoking tobacco products and coronary heart disease, medical technologists have confirmed the link between the two after numerous research programs over the last two decades. The continuous inhalation of smoke into the lungs over an extended period of time constricts the arteries and leads to coronary heart disease. This limits the blood flow throughout the arteries and the potential for a heart attack becomes very significant. This is a very dangerous situation to be in. Besides coronary heart disease, the smoking of tobacco products can cause various other ravaging effects on the human body. This can include breathing problems and the stunting of growth.

Diagnosis Of Coronary Heart Disease

The only sure way that coronary heart disease can be diagnosed is with a special procedure known as a coronary angiography. An x-ray sensitive dye is introduced to the blood flow to the heart. X-rays are then taken to examine how well the blood is flowing through the heart. This procedure is undertaken in conjunction with cardiac catherization when the patient is under sedation.


The best possible way to prevent risk factors of coronary heart disease is to avoid them as much as possible. The most important thing to do is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthily and ensuring the correct amount of daily physical activity. Only by living as healthily as possible will you be able to protect yourself from any of the risk factors of coronary heart disease.
About the Author
Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit heart disease cure to learn more about the causes of coronary heart disease and other heart disease risk factors.
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