What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary Heart Disease is a condition that commonly leads to heart attack. Learn about the symptoms, causes, and treatments.

How It Happens The heart pumps blood enriched with oxygen and vital nutrients throughout the entire body by way of a network of arteries. The heart itself must also be supplied with oxygen-rich blood in order to perform its job.

Heart disease occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked due to fatty material building up in the arteries and eventually closing them off. This process is called atherosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries."

The fatty buildup can eventually close the arteries off, or, if the fatty deposit breaks, a blot clot can form, which can also block the flow of oxygenated blood to the heart. As a result, the heart becomes badly damaged due to tissue death from lack of oxygen.

Common Symptoms

  • Chest Pain
  • Cold sweats, shortness of breath and lightheadedness
  • Heart attack

Coronary heart disease commonly leads to heart attack. If you believe you are experiencing a heart attack, call 911 or contact your emergency response system immediately. Learn more about heart attack symptoms.

Why It Happens There are many contributing factors that can to heart disease. Some factors can be controlled, such as lifestyle choices, including:

  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Diet
  • Smoking
  • Controlling other health conditions

There are some factors that cannot be controlled, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity

Learn more about heart attack risk factors.

Treatment Managing heart disease may require a combination of treatments, along with physical and emotional rehabilitation.

Emergency Treatments include:

  • Angioplasty - a surgical procedure used to open the arteries
  • Thrombolytic Therapy - drugs that destroy blood clots that may be used when angioplasty is not an option

Learn more about heart attack treatment options.

In addition, other medications may be necessary to help repair your damaged heart as well as prevent future heart problems.

Learn how heart medications work.