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Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease: Introduction

Coronary heart disease is the result of the narrowing of the arteries of the heart, called the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries are small blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood and oxygen. When the coronary arteries are narrowed the supply of oxygen-rich blood is reduced to the heart muscle. This can result in damage and necrosis or death of a portion of the heart muscle. This is called a heart attack.

Coronary heart disease is also known as coronary artery disease, and is the most common type of cardiovascular disease. Coronary heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. More than a million Americans have myocardial infarctions, (heart attack), a complication of coronary heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute.

Coronary heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis in a condition that occurs when fatty plaque builds-up on the walls of the coronary arteries and narrows them. Atherosclerosis also causes a thickening, stiffening and narrowing of the coronary arteries. These processes result in a decrease in blood flow to the heart. Coronary arteries affected by atherosclerosis are also at risk for formation of a clot in a coronary artery, which can completely block the flow of blood to the heart muscle (myocardial infarctions).

A classic symptom of coronary heart disease is chest pain. However, there may be no symptoms in some people until serious or life-threatening complications, such as heart attack and heart failure, develop. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of coronary heart disease.

Risk factors for developing coronary heart disease include having hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia), obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include being of African-American ancestry, male, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, long-term stress, smoking and having a family history of a heart attack at an early age.

People who have high C-protein levels, which increases atherosclerosis, are also at a higher risk for coronary heart disease. In addition, people who have high homocysteine levels, which may damage artery walls and increase the risk of clots, are also at an increased risk.

Making a diagnosis of coronary heart disease includes completing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination. A comprehensive evaluation from a licensed health care professional includes compiling and analyzing many factors that impact coronary heart disease risk. These include lifestyle, family history, personal history, dietary habits, weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, stress levels, and smoking/drinking habits.

Tests that may be used to diagnose coronary heart disease or the risk of coronary heart disease include blood tests, exercise stress testing, EKG, X-Ray, and imaging tests, such as heart scan, ultrasound and echocardiogram. A coronary angiogram may be done in certain cases. A coronary angiogram is an invasive procedure that reveals which coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked.

It is very possible that a diagnosis of coronary heart disease can be missed or delayed because there may be no symptoms in some people and for other reasons. In addition, some symptoms of coronary heart disease can mimic symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of coronary heart disease.

Treatment of coronary heart disease involves regular medical monitoring and testing, lifestyle and dietary changes, and may include medications and surgery. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of coronary heart disease. ...more »

Coronary heart disease: Coronary heart disease, the most common form of heart disease, affects the blood vessels (or coronary arteries) of the heart. It causes angina ... more about Coronary heart disease.

Coronary heart disease: Disease affecting the heart's arteries (narrowed arteries). More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Coronary heart disease is available below.

Coronary heart disease: Symptoms

Chest pain is often thought of as the classic symptom of coronary heart disease. However, now all people with coronary heart disease have chest pain. Some people even have a heart attack without chest pain. In addition, by the time a person experiences chest pain, he or she may have had the underlying cause of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, for a very long time.

When there ...more symptoms »

Coronary heart disease: Treatments

The most effective coronary heart disease treatment plan includes a multifaceted approach that includes regular medical monitoring and testing, lifestyle and dietary changes, and may include medications and surgery. Prognosis and outcomes of coronary heart disease vary greatly depending on how quickly it was diagnosed and treated, coexisting diseases, ...more treatments »

Coronary heart disease: Misdiagnosis

Early diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease is vital to preventing serious, even life threatening complications, such as cardiac arrest and death. However, a diagnosis of coronary heart disease may be overlooked or delayed because there may be no symptoms in some cases until serious complications occur. Regular medical care is the best way to detect coronary ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Coronary heart disease

Treatments for Coronary heart disease

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Coronary heart disease?

Coronary heart disease: Related Patient Stories

Coronary heart disease: Deaths

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Diagnostic Tests for Coronary heart disease

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Coronary heart disease: Complications

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Causes of Coronary heart disease

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Disease Topics Related To Coronary heart disease

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Coronary heart disease: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Coronary heart disease

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Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its more »

Coronary heart disease: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Coronary heart disease

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Coronary heart disease: Rare Types

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Latest Treatments for Coronary heart disease

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Coronary heart disease

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Coronary heart disease: Animations

Prognosis for Coronary heart disease

Research about Coronary heart disease

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Prevention of Coronary heart disease

Prevention information for Coronary heart disease has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Coronary heart disease.

Statistics for Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease: Broader Related Topics

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Article Excerpts about Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease, the most common form of heart disease, affects the blood vessels (or coronary arteries) of the heart. It causes angina (chest pain) and heart attacks. Women over the age of 40 are more at risk for this disease because heart-related problems tend to increase with age. And, Black women are more likely to die of coronary heart disease than are White women. The good news is that you can do something about preventing this disease. High blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and not being physically active all put you at greater risk for coronary heart disease. (Source: excerpt from HEART AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE: NWHIC)

Definitions of Coronary heart disease:

A stage of arteriosclerosis involving fatty deposits (atheromas) inside the arterial walls - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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