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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 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. 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....Read more about Coronary Heart Disease
NIH - National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Psychological interventions for coronary heart disease

Heart attacks and cardiac surgery may be frightening and traumatic, and can lead some patients to experience psychological problems. In addition, some psychological characteristics are linked to the development and progression of cardiac complaints. Psychological treatments for depression, anxiety, stress or maladaptive behaviours are sometimes offered to patients, either individually or as part of a comprehensive package of cardiac rehabilitation. This review examined studies where the effect of these psychological interventions could be distinguished from other components of rehabilitative treatment (e.g. exercise). We found evidence that psychological interventions may produce small to moderate reductions in depression and anxiety, and may also reduce cardiac mortality, but did not find evidence that they reduced the rate of heart attack or need for cardiac surgery, or total mortality.

Low glycaemic index diets for coronary heart disease

The glycaemic index is a measure of the ability of a carbohydrate to affect blood glucose levels. While there are many randomised controlled trials that have examined the relationship between low glycaemic index diets and coronary heart disease, most are of poor methodological quality. There is little evidence from the randomised controlled trials to recommend that healthcare professionals should prescribe low glycaemic index diets for the purpose of improving risk factors for CHD.

Yoga for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of early cardiovascular‐related illness and death in most developed countries. Secondary prevention is a term used to describe interventions that aim to prevent repeat cardiac events and death in people with established CHD. Individuals with CHD are at the highest risk of coronary events and death. Lifestyle modifications play an important role in secondary prevention. Yoga has been regarded as both a type of physical activity and a stress management strategy. The physical and psychological benefits of yoga are 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 cardiac events, death, and health‐related quality of life. We found no randomised controlled trials which met the inclusion criteria for this review. Therefore, the effectiveness of yoga for secondary prevention in CHD remains uncertain. High‐quality randomised controlled trials are needed.

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Summaries for consumers

Psychological interventions for coronary heart disease

Heart attacks and cardiac surgery may be frightening and traumatic, and can lead some patients to experience psychological problems. In addition, some psychological characteristics are linked to the development and progression of cardiac complaints. Psychological treatments for depression, anxiety, stress or maladaptive behaviours are sometimes offered to patients, either individually or as part of a comprehensive package of cardiac rehabilitation. This review examined studies where the effect of these psychological interventions could be distinguished from other components of rehabilitative treatment (e.g. exercise). We found evidence that psychological interventions may produce small to moderate reductions in depression and anxiety, and may also reduce cardiac mortality, but did not find evidence that they reduced the rate of heart attack or need for cardiac surgery, or total mortality.

Low glycaemic index diets for coronary heart disease

The glycaemic index is a measure of the ability of a carbohydrate to affect blood glucose levels. While there are many randomised controlled trials that have examined the relationship between low glycaemic index diets and coronary heart disease, most are of poor methodological quality. There is little evidence from the randomised controlled trials to recommend that healthcare professionals should prescribe low glycaemic index diets for the purpose of improving risk factors for CHD.

Yoga for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a major cause of early cardiovascular‐related illness and death in most developed countries. Secondary prevention is a term used to describe interventions that aim to prevent repeat cardiac events and death in people with established CHD. Individuals with CHD are at the highest risk of coronary events and death. Lifestyle modifications play an important role in secondary prevention. Yoga has been regarded as both a type of physical activity and a stress management strategy. The physical and psychological benefits of yoga are 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 cardiac events, death, and health‐related quality of life. We found no randomised controlled trials which met the inclusion criteria for this review. Therefore, the effectiveness of yoga for secondary prevention in CHD remains uncertain. High‐quality randomised controlled trials 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.
Sclerosis
The abnormal hardening of body tissues, such as an artery.

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: Myocardial Infarction, Angina Pectoris

Other terms to know: See all 6
Atherosclerosis, Coronary Artery, Heart

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