Coronary artery disease, also known as heart disease, is the result of progressive narrowing of the arteries that provide oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This narrowing occurs when waxy deposits, called plaque, form on the walls of the coronary arteries. Too much plaque buildup can close off a portion of, or completely obstruct an artery, causing a heart attack.
Thirty percent of all deaths can be traced to heart disease. There are often no symptoms in the early stages, and too often, sudden death is the first sign. If heart disease runs in your family, talk to your doctor about having diagnostic tests.
RISK FACTORS FOR HEART DISEASE
- high blood pressure
- tobacco use
- a high cholesterol, high fat diet
- obesity (20 percent or more above your ideal weight)
- lack of cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise
- family history of heart or blood vessel disease
- a stress-prone personality
WAYS TO LOWER YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE
- Control your blood pressure.
- Eat a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
- Quit smoking.
- Exercise regularly.
- Control stress.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce your sodium intake.
- Lose excess weight.