A recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) in the United States has decreased over the past three decades. According to the study – which examined patients from 1983 to 2011 – the incidence of CHD decreased by 20%. While this is an encouraging statistic, coronary heart disease is still a serious issue.
What is coronary heart disease?
Coronary heart disease – sometimes referred to as coronary artery disease – is the hardening of the arteries in the heart. What this means is that the coronary arteries become narrow due to build up of cholesterol, fatty material, or other substances, which is called plaque.
This buildup restricts blood flow, making it increasingly difficult for blood to get to the heart. When your heart doesn’t receive the blood that it needs, angina or heart attack can occur. Over time, coronary heart disease may cause heart failure or arrhythmia.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Roughly 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States and 735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year.
Factors that contribute to heart disease
There are several factors that contribute to your risk of heart disease.
- The older you get, the greater your risk of heart disease.
Family history of premature CHD.
Hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia increase risk.
Diets with high intake of sugars, red meats, and high-fat dairy products elevate risks.
- Stress can contribute to CHD.
- Drinking alcohol in excess may raise blood pressure, which contributes to CHD.
- Your diet and activity levels can influence your risk of heart disease.
- Smoking increases your risk of coronary heart disease
Things you can do to help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
While coronary heart disease cannot be cured, it can be treated, and you can take steps to help prevent heart disease. Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight can drastically reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Regular physical activity, stop smoking and drinking in moderation can also help reduce your risk of CHD.
Another way to help reduce the risk of heart disease is regular appointments with your primary care physician. Your doctor can ensure that you’re making healthy decisions that can help prevent CHD. Schedule an appointment with a MANA physician today!