There are many different forms of heart disease, which describes a variety of disorders that affect the heart. Coronary artery disorder or coronary heart disease being the most common. This paper is about this specific type of heart disease as well as its causes. Here are some important facts that everybody should know about heart disease. More than 12 million Americans suffer from heart disease and it is the number one killer of adults. Thankfully the death rate has fallen by about forty percent in the last twenty years. If you are overweight you are three times more likely to contract heart disease.
The word coronary means crown, which describes the arteries the are in a circle around the heart. These arteries supply the heart with the oxygen and nutrients its needs. Coronary heart disease develops when one or more of those arteries becomes narrower than it is supposed to be.
This usually occurs when there is a buildup of cholesterol or other substances on the wall of the artery. This is bad because it affects the blood flow to the heart. The cholesterol can build up on the inner lining too. They become coated with scar tissue forming a bump in the vessel called plaque. Plaque build-up causes the blood vessel to become smaller and harder. This process is called atherosclerosis, meaning hardening of the arteries. After a period of time the build-up can grow until it completely blocks the blood flow to the heart. Many people will experience pain in their chest from the reduced blood flow. This usually occurs while exercising, since this is when the heart requires more oxygen. As a result the heart's muscle tissue can be severely damaged.
As the disease gets worse, many other medical problems occur. The following are some of these...