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coronary heart disease

the heart and blood flow

From head and arms To right lung From right lung Aorta to all parts of the body To left lung From left lung

From legs and feet

To legs and feet

cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease

cardiovascular disease ( CVD, heart and circulatory disease)

all diseases of the heart and blood vessels (e.g stroke, congenital heart defects, valvular heart disease, peripheral arterial disease)

coronary heart disease (CHD, ischaemic heart disease)

disease of the coronary arteries due to atherosclerosis

the coronary arteries


Artery wall

Blood within the artery

Atheroma (fatty deposits) building up

Fat deposits develop, restricting blood flow through the artery

coronary artery with atheroma

Coronary Artery with atherosclerosis

Coronary Artery


Atheroma (fatty layer)

Cross Section

Longitudinal Section

angina and heart attack


heart attack

narrowed coronary artery tightness or ache in the chest, breathlessness, sick feeling, dizziness comes on with exertion or emotion goes away with rest - usually 2-10 mins

due to sudden blockage of the coronary artery chest pain like a band, indigestion, breathlessness, sickness, looking pale comes on at any time doesnt go away - if still there in 15 minutes call 999

clarifying some terms

Heart failure

the pumping action of the heart is less efficient, possibly caused by raised blood pressure, heart attack, or valve defect a coronary artery is suddenly blocked by a blood clot the heart stops beating when it quivers or fibrillates causing the person to collapse an artery leading to the brain is suddenly blocked with a blood clot or a bleed

Heart attack (myocardial infarction)

Cardiac arrest


main risk factors for coronary heart disease

smoking inactivity obesity and overweight high blood pressure raised blood cholesterol diabetes family history of coronary heart disease excessive alcohol intake


Smoking aggravates the lining of the arteries and speeds up the process of atherosclerosis

carbon monoxide

Takes the place of oxygen in the blood


Raises heart rate and blood pressure transiently

physical inactivity

30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week which can be split into 15 minute periods
regular, moderate intensity activity brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, skipping, tennis, etc. enough to feel warm & slightly short of breath, but still able to hold a conversation


caused by excessive calorie intake, and inactivity can lead to high blood pressure, raised blood cholesterol levels, and diabetes increases your risk of coronary heart disease and heart failure

high blood pressure

the force of blood in the arteries is over 140/85mmHg can be lowered with more activity, weight loss, cutting salt and alcohol

high blood cholesterol levels

cholesterol is a fatty substance needed for body cells it is carried on proteins called low-density or high density lipoproteins (LDLs or HDLs) saturated fats can increase levels and sometimes people have inherited raised cholesterol levels

inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels uncontrolled blood sugar encourages the build up of fatty deposits within the arterial walls around 1.3 million people have diabetes in the UK. This may reach 2 million people by 2010

hormone replacement therapy

oestrogen in the body may improve cholesterol levels and may make the artery more elastic however, hormone replacement therapy has not shown significant protection against coronary heart disease present evidence suggests that HRT should not be prescribed solely to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease