Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2008 Update: A report from the American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee
Coronary heart disease is caused by Atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is disease characterized by plaque build-up on the insides of your arteries.
Arteries are the actual blood vessels which carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body.
Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries, reducing the flow of blood to your organs. This can lead to a heart attack, stroke or death in some cases.
Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body, including arteries in the brain, heart, arms, legs, and pelvis. The disease can go undetected in many people until there is a medical emergency. This is because there are usually no warning signs or symptoms associated with the disease.
The cause of atherosclerosis remains unknown, though certain conditions put you at a greater risk of developing it. The risks include lack of physical activity, smoking, and poor eating habits. However, other factors like age and family history of heart disease are beyond your control.
Taking control of your risk factors can help prevent or delay the onset of atherosclerosis. The main treatment for atherosclerosis requires making some lifestyle changes in your everyday diet and exercise. Doctors may also recommend additional medical procedures and/or medications as part of your treatment.
This information was compiled from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.