The major blood vessels that supply blood to the heart are known as coronary arteries. Narrowing of these arteries or inflammation in these blood vessels is what we know as coronary artery disease. It is a serious problem as blood supply to the major pumping organ, the heart, gets affected.
Narrowing of coronary arteries occurs with deposits of cholesterol in it. If the blockage is partial, it can result in reduced blood supply to the heart, and a person complains about heavy chest pain. It could lead to angina. If the artery is completely blocked, it could lead to a heart attack.
What Is Atherosclerosis?
Coronary artery disease begins when the inner arterial walls are damaged. With damaged inner arterial walls, wastes including cholesterol deposits (plaque) and other wastes begin to deposit at damaged sites. This is known as atherosclerosis. The rupture or damage to the plaque surface is followed by a blood clotting process which can block the artery and result in a heart attack.
Major Causes Of CAD
There are a number of causes behind coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease does not occur overnight; rather, it takes years and even decades for it to become a serious problem. Here are some major factors that can cause coronary artery disease.
It would not be wrong to say that hypertension is the root of major cardiovascular issues. Untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure can seriously damage blood vessels. Over the years, persistent high blood pressure can narrow and thicken arterial walls.
This may reduce the channel through which blood flows around the blood vessels. Hypertension is one of the leading causes of coronary artery disease. If you are diagnosed with it, then take proper medications to keep blood pressure in control to avoid such undesirable outcomes.
2. Alcohol Abuse
Limited or controlled alcohol consumption is considered to be protective against serious heart diseases, including coronary artery disease. Excessive alcohol intake can also cause coronary artery disease in a number of indirect ways. Most importantly, alcohol abuse can cause hypertension and, ultimately, coronary artery disease.
Thus an alcohol-free lifestyle can help reduce the risk factor of developing coronary artery disease. The state supports rehab facilities everywhere around you. For instance, New Jersey (NJ) residents can find treatment options in different city areas. Such addiction centers in NJ make it easier for anyone struggling withaddiction to get rid of it.
Habitual smokers have an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease. Even second-hand smoke increases the risk of its development. When compared with drinking, smoking has a relatively more direct influence on coronary artery disease.
Smoking increases the plaque in the blood. With greater amounts of plaque in blood, there is a greater risk of its deposition in blood vessels. Smoking gives out chemicals that cause blood to thicken. Not only does it affect blood flow, but it also increases the risk of blood clotting and ultimately causes coronary artery disease.
4. High Blood Cholesterol
The body does need cholesterol but only in a limited amount. Too much cholesterol is bad for health, more specifically cardiovascular health. With too much blood cholesterol, fatty deposits or plaque levels begin to rise in the blood.
With too much blood plaque, the risk of atherosclerosis also increases profoundly. The fat deposits keep depositing around the inner wall of blood vessels, causing them to narrow and affecting the blood flow. All these factors consequently increase the risk of coronary artery disease.
5. Sedentary Lifestyle
Lack of exercise and physical inactivity can all contribute to coronary artery disease. A sedentary lifestyle is linked with major risk factors of this disease. A sedentary lifestyle can cause hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, which can result in coronary artery disease.
Try to maintain moderate exercise as it is exceptionally good for cardiovascular health. Even if you cannot maintain an exercise routine, try to stay active. You can look to participate more in routine household activities to promote physical activity.
6. Unhealthy Diet
An unhealthy diet can also cause coronary artery disease. Relying too much on saturated and fatty food can increase blood cholesterol. Eating more refined and processed carbs can lead to obesity and diabetes. Therefore, make the right choices in terms of what you eat.
You can even make use of the DASH diet, which is believed to promote cardiovascular health. Try to be simple in your dietary approach and make the most use of fruits and vegetables. Add more complex and whole carbs to your diet. And use means of healthy fats instead of saturated fats.
Diabetes and cardiovascular problems go hand in hand. Diabetes has almost the same list of risk factors as coronary artery disease. Thus a person who has diabetes is more likely to develop coronary artery disease—keeping the condition in control with the help of diet. Exercise and medication can help to reduce the risk factor for coronary artery disease.
Persistent and uncontrolled stress can also cause damage to blood vessels. High stress signifies high levels of cortisol in the blood. High cortisol level is believed to increase blood pressure, blood sugar, and even blood cholesterol. All these are the major reasons that can lead to coronary artery disease.
When To See A Doctor?
You should consult a doctor if you have a family history of heart disease. Having a family history can increase your risk of the development of coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease can result in serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, angina, and even heart attack. Schedule an appointment with a doctor when you observe any of the symptoms.
A healthy and active lifestyle can reduce your risk of coronary artery disease. Getting rid of alcohol and smoking can substantially reduce the risk of the development of CAD. Manage your stress, eat healthily and sustain an active life to avoid such serious cardiovascular disease.