What causes coronary heart disease?

There are many different types of diseases that affect the heart. One of the most common heart diseases is coronary heart disease – impacting over 18 million adults in the U.S. This type of heart disease prevents proper blood flow through the main arteries of the heart, often resulting in severe symptoms or death. 

Patients susceptible to coronary heart disease can help prevent certain risk factors through CHD Awareness. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of coronary heart disease and where to find CHD support. 

Overview of Coronary Heart Disease 

Considered one of the most deadly adult heart diseases, coronary heart disease can actually start from a young age and worsen throughout a person’s life. This type of heart disease occurs when deposits of plaque start to thicken within the coronary arteries through a process called atherosclerosis. Once the plaque deposits enlarge to a certain degree, they start to cut off blood flow through the arteries to the heart. 

Since the heart requires this oxygen-rich blood to function, blockages within these coronary passageways can cause serious issues. Blood clots can also form along the top of these plaque deposits, further complicating symptoms, and even leading to heart attack or death. 

The top causes of coronary heart disease 

The main cause of coronary heart disease is the buildup of plaque deposits within the coronary arteries. However, there are a few other risk factors that could impact why a person may develop CHD. 

Atherosclerosis: This is the official term for the plaque buildup that occurs in the coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis develops over many years, sometimes occurring since childhood, and reduces the blood flow to the heart over time. Obstructive coronary heart disease is mainly caused by atherosclerosis. 

Blood vessel inflammation: In some cases, inflammation of blood vessels from other chronic issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, or chronic inflammation can cause the narrowing of blood vessels. This is often an indirect cause of coronary heart disease, or a patient may have a higher chance of developing CHD later on. 

Vasospasm: This is when spasming of the larger coronary arteries occurs due to damage which cuts off necessary blood flow to the heart. Some plaque buildup can also occur in smaller spasming arteries. 

Other risk factors: A person’s age, occupation, and family history also highly impact their chance of developing coronary heart disease. Though CHD can start developing in a person from a young age, it typically doesn’t become a risk until after a certain age threshold. For men, the risk increases after the age of 45. For women, after the age of 55. 

With air pollution being one of the top factors of increased high blood pressure, environment also plays a key factor. Atherosclerosis can also develop in patients who work in high-stress environments, experience poor sleep, or sit for long periods of time. 

CHD Awareness can help young patients treat coronary heart disease from the start. For more prevention tips and CHD Support, visit Conquering CHD.

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