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Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

About Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque (plak) builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle.

When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis (ATH-er-o-skler-O-sis). The buildup of plaque occurs over many years.

Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open). Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.

If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form on its surface. A large blood clot can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. Over time, ruptured plaque also hardens and narrows the coronary arteries.

Overview

If the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is reduced or blocked, angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) or a heart attack can occur.

Angina is chest pain or discomfort... Read more about Coronary Heart Disease

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Systematic guideline search and evaluation, as well as extraction of new and relevant recommendations, for the DMP “Coronary heart disease”: Executive summary of final report V06-03, Version 1.0

The aim of this study was to specify a possible need for revision of the existing DMP-CHD by means of a systematic search for current evidence-based CPGs and a synthesis of their generated key recommendations.

Systematic guideline search and appraisal, as well as extraction of new and relevant recommendations, for the DMP “Coronary heart disease”: Executive summary of final report V09-05, Version 1.0

The aim of this study was to specify a potential need for updating and supplementation of the existing DMP-CHD by means of a systematic search for new, topic-relevant evidence-based CPGs and by means of a synthesis of the CPG recommendations.

Systematic review in clopidogrel therapy coronary heart disease with chronic nephropathy

Bibliographic details: Zhang L, Zhai SD.  Systematic review in clopidogrel therapy coronary heart disease with chronic nephropathy. Chinese Pharmaceutical Journal 2010; 45(24): 1933-1939

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Summaries for consumers

“ACE Inhibitors” and “ARBs” To Protect Your Heart? A Guide for Patients Being Treated for Stable Coronary Heart Disease

You have coronary heart disease, a disease affecting the arteries of your heart. You may have had a heart attack or suffer from chest pains with exercise, but your symptoms are not changing. Your coronary heart disease is in “stable” condition. This means that your symptoms have not changed or become worse. Your doctor recommends adding a medicine called an ACE Inhibitor or an ARB. You do not take medicine for high blood pressure (also called “hypertension”).

Depression and coronary artery disease: Can psychological treatment and medication help?

Many people who have coronary artery disease (CAD) will also develop depression. And what’s more, depression can also make heart problems worse. Psychological treatment and medication may relieve the depression that follows stressful events like a heart attack or bypass surgery.

Yoga for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of early morbidity and mortality in most developed countries. Individuals with CHD are at the highest risk of coronary events and death, yet effective secondary prevention can reduce their risk of repeat events or death. Lifestyle modifications play an important role in secondary prevention. Yoga has been regarded as both a kind of physical activity and a stress management strategy. The physical and psychological benefits of yoga have been well accepted, yet inappropriate practice of yoga may lead to musculoskeletal injuries, such as muscle soreness and strain. The aim of this systematic review was to determine the effectiveness of yoga for secondary prevention in CHD in terms of mortality, morbidity, and health related quality of life. The authors found no randomized controlled trials which met the inclusion criteria for this review. Therefore, the effectiveness of yoga for secondary prevention in CHD remains uncertain. High‐quality RCTs are needed.

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Terms to know

Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body.
Coronary Artery
A principal artery that originates in the aorta. It supplies blood to the muscular tissue of the heart.
Heart
The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.
Oxygen
A colorless, odorless gas. It is needed for animal and plant life. Oxygen that is breathed in enters the blood from the lungs and travels to the tissues.
Plaque
In medicine, a small, abnormal patch of tissue on a body part or an organ. Plaques may also be a build-up of substances from a fluid, such as cholesterol in the blood vessels.

More about Coronary Heart Disease

Photo of an adult

Also called: Coronary arteriosclerosis, Arteriosclerotic heart disease, Coronary artery disease, Coronary sclerosis, Arteriosclerotic coronary artery disease, Atherosclerotic heart disease, CAD, ASHD

See Also: Heart Attack, Angina

Other terms to know: See all 5
Atherosclerosis, Coronary Artery, Heart

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