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Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in american citizens and is responsible for over 1 million deaths every year, every 33 seconds someone dies from this disease. And with current obesity levels rising by 2020 it is thought that CHD will be the leading cause of death throughout the world.
What is CHD?
CHD is a broad term for any conditions that affect the heart, ranging from heart attacks to arteriosclerosis. The most common heart disease is coronary artery disease which is caused from a build up of fatty plaque in the blood vessels around the heart causing them to become narrow or even blocked. When an artery is blocked or becomes too narrow to deliver blood effectively this becomes a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
Heart attacks can be mild and others can be fatal but either way they are a warning sign that something isn't right in the body.
- Age - Heart disease can occur at any age but four out of five people who die from CHD are over 65
- Gender - Men are women are equally likely to get CHD but females tend to develop the condition on average 10 years later than men. The risk for women increases as the get older and more women die from CHD related diseases then cancer.
- Family History - If you have immediate family who have suffered from heart disease or heart attacks you are more prone to develop the disease at a young age.
- Smoking - Smokers are twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease and are more likely to die as a result. Smoking damages parts of the cardiovascular system and makes it harder to recover from heart disease incidents. Passive smoking also increases the risk and with over 40 million Americans smoking this is set to rise.
- Cholesterol/diet - Poor diet which is high in saturated fat will increase your risk especially when combined with other risk factors such as age or family history. High levels (over 100 mg/dl) of LDL or “bad cholesterol” are dangerous, and low levels (under 40 mg/dl in men and under 55 mg/dl in women) of HDL or “good cholesterol” increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Obesity - People who are certified as obese are at a higher risk even if they do not have any other risk factors. Excess weight puts a huge strain on the heart, increases blood pressure and cholesterol in the blood. 66% of americans are obese.
- Lack of exercise - Inactivity is a major factor for coronary heart disease. Mainly because lack of exercise will lead to obesity and thus put excess strain on the heart. Lack of exercise can also lead to other problems such as diabetes.