Heart disease begins when there is damage to the inner layers and the lining of the heart’s arteries.
Causes of heart disease include:
- Smoking (includes secondhand)
- Increased amounts of sugar due to diabetes
- Particular kinds of fats in the blood (high cholesterol)
- Poor hygiene
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Poor diet
- Gender – men are typically at a greater risk of suffering with CHD; however, a woman’s risk increases after menopause
Inflammation of the Blood Vessels
When damage occurs to the arteries, plaque can begin building up. This buildup can even begin during childhood. As time passes, this plaque can solidify or rupture.
This hardened plaque causes narrowing in the coronary arteries, which reduces the oxygen-rich blood that is able to reach the heart. This lack of blood flow can cause discomfort or chest pain; frequently referred to as angina.
Should a rupture occur, platelets stick to the injury site. These platelets could clump together, causing blood clots to form. Blood clots cause even more narrowing within the coronary arteries, increasing the pain felt during an angina attack. If the clot is large enough, it can completely block off the coronary artery, which could cause a heart attack or lead to cardiac arrest.
Coronary Microvascular Disease (MVD)
Coronary MVD is a type of heart disease affecting the minuscule heart arteries. When coronary MVD occurs, the walls of the tiny coronary arteries within the heart become damaged or diseased. Studies indicate that women suffer with coronary MVD more frequently than men do. Researchers believe that low estrogen levels throughout menopause in combination with already existing cardiac disease factors may contribute to the onset of this condition. The majority of men and women with coronary MVD have high blood pressure or diabetes. It is believed that coronary MVD may also be linked to genetic heart muscle diseases.
Most of what is known about coronary MVD has been obtained from the Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation study conducted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI). Studies are underway to determine the role that hormones play in cardiac disease.
If you live in or near Mesa, Gilbert or Tan Valley, Arizona and you are in need of a heart doctor, contact Tri-City Cardiology Consultants Arizona Cardiovascular Treatment center today. All of the heart doctors at Tri-City specialize in treating people suffering with heart disease.