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Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the number one leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. The coronary arteries are responsible for bringing oxygen and blood to the heart. This disease is caused by a build-up of plaque and other substances that form a blockage in your artery, causing it to narrow and slow down or completely cut off the flow of oxygen and blood to the heart; this could cause a heart attack and/or death. The build-up of plaque can occur over many years. There are many risk factors that can lead to heart disease, some that you can change and try to prevent but others that you can not. Some that you can not change are age and your genes; some that you can monitor and be aware of are diet, exercise and not smoking.
Symptoms for this disease can easily go unnoticed, other times they are fairly extreme. Some symptoms that might occur would be chest pain or chest discomfort (called angina), fatigue or shortness of breath. Angina pain may often time feel like indigestion. Doctors can perform several tests on the patient to diagnose this type of disease such as an Electrocardiogram (ECG) or a heart CT scan. Some coronary heart diseases are not as severe as others and can be treated with prescription drugs but others require both drugs and surgery, such as bypass heart surgery.
Sometimes you can not avoid getting heart disease but keeping yourself healthy by eating right, exercising, not smoking and limiting alcohol are all ways to lower your risk of getting CHD. It’s also important to have regular check-ups with your doctor to discuss any issues you may be having because early detection of a disease like this commonly results in a better outcome.