Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Preventing Coronary Artery Disease

By Scott Williams

Coronary Artery Disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. It is a disease that involves a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the muscle of the heart. It may seem strange if you haven't studied anatomy and physiology, but even though the heart has blood flowing through it constantly, this blood does not supply oxygen and nutrients to the muscle of the heart.

There are three main arteries that supply blood to the heart - the Left Anterior Descending artery, the Circumflex artery and the Right Coronary Artery. Each of these arteries split into smaller arteries and then blood vessels. Coronary Artery Disease can impact any of these arteries and vessels.

There are many risk factors that can affect your likelihood of contracting this disease. Common risk factors for coronary artery disease include being overweight, not exercising and suffering from hypertension or high cholesterol. Diabetes, family history and age can also affect your chances of contracting this disease, which usually presents itself as atherosclerosis, which are deposits that build up in your vessels restricting the volume of blood that can flow through.

Blood vessels usually have the ability to stretch to let more blood through, but those who suffer from coronary artery disease lose this ability. Then when plaque build up inside the vessels is added in when the heart really needs the blood, such as when you exercise it will not get it.

When your heart is not receiving enough blood you can experience angina, or recurring chest pains. By taking it easy and removing the triggers such a stress or overexertion you can help relieve the pain, or by taking medication. If there is plaque build up on the blood vessel walls then chances are that eventually a chunk will come off and completely block the blood supply to areas of your heart, which will result in a major heart attack.

With proper treatment, lifestyle adjustments and perhaps surgical intervention those who suffer from coronary artery disease can lead normal, happy, healthy lives. If you think that you may be at risk then you should consult your doctor immediately

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