Coronary Artery Disease (CAD):
Alot of people die each year from Coronary Artery Disease (CAD),which is also the leading cause of deaths in the world .When the arteries carrying blood to the heart muscles gets clogged or narrowed which in turn decreases the amount of blood reaching the heart. Due to this, complications can occur such as heart attack, cardiac failure and even death. Several dietary habits and genetic pre-disposition are some of the risk factors that can lead to the development of a fatal disease like CAD. In this article, I will discuss several causes and risk factors that may lead to CAD
Causes of CAD:
The major causes of CAD is atherosclerosis to which is a disorder in which plaques composed up of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances are formed which leads to narrowing and hardening of arteries. These clots that are formed can rupture over time which results in the formation of blood clots which can obstruct the supply of blood to the heart muscles and cause the heart attack
3-High cholesterol levels
6-Lack of exercise
1)Smoking: Smoking causes increase in the risk of getting Coronary Artery Disease. Toxic tobacco substances present in the cigarette smoke can disrupt the inner lining of blood vessels making the plaque formation more susceptible. Smoking also reduces the level of HDL(High Density Lipoprotein) also known as the good cholesterol which helps in reducing LDL(Low Density Lipoprotein) bad cholesterol from the arteries, which causes imbalance or cholesterol levels in the arteries . This imbalance can be a cause of development of Atherosclerosis.
2)High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure influences the development of CAD. Due to the increased pressure on the blood vessels , they may become narrow thus less blood flows through them, which increases the risk of Atherosclerosis .
3)High Cholesterol levels: The risk of CAD are enhanced by having high blood levels of LDL(Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol and low levels of HDL(High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol because it is necessary for the removal of LDL cholesterol thus increasing the risk of developing CAD
4)Obesity: Obesity is most often the mother cause for variety of diseases which also includes CAD. Excess body waist fat lowers HDL in turn increasing LDL and triglycerides(a form of fat) levels in the blood resulting in plaque formation.
5)Diabetes: Out of the 2 types of diabetes, the people having the Type 2 diabetes have an increased the risk of developing CAD. Excessive Blood sugar levels also hasten the developing of plaque in the arteries.
6)Lack of exercise: People having lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of developing CAD. As we know, sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain and other risk factors that contribute to CAD.
7)Unhealthy diet: Consuming diet rich in saturated and trans fats ,cholesterol, sugar and salt increases the risk of developing CAD. Consuming a diet containing high salt concentration can result in high BP while high intake of fats can increase the level of LDL cholesterol levels. And the risk of developing diabetes and obesity is increased by high consumption of sugar and carbs.
Risk factors of CAD:
In addition to the causes mentioned above, several risk factors can also increase the likelihood of developing CAD . These includes
7-Alcohol and drug abuse
8-Existing medical conditions
1)Age: As the age of people increase, their risk of coronary artery disease also increases. It is mostly because of the natural aging process and also because of the risk factors that were underlying in the younger age and became dominant in the later stages of life.
2)Gender: Males generally have a higher risk of developing CAD as compared to pre menopausal women but after menopause, the hormonal changes occurs at a higher rate in the women that may affect the cholesterol levels adversely and thus accumulate to risk factor in developing CAD
3)Family history: Having a blood relation with relative who has had a coronary artery disease puts you in a high risk of developing CAD as well. Thus, it means genetic also have a lot to with developing the risk of CAD while other factors such as environment and lifestyle are also involved
4)Ethnicity: According to recent studies, different ethnic groups ie South Asians,Africans Americans,Mexican American and Native American have a higher risk of CAD than other ethnic groups
5)Stress: Chronic stress combined with other factors ie binge eating, smoking or drinking too much alcohol might increase the risk of CAD. Stress directly or indirectly affects blood pressure and other normal physiological processes that can lead to CAD
It has been found that sleep disorders such as sleep apnea where breathing is disrupted during sleep can also raise the risk of CAD. Sleep apnea
results in low oxygen levels as well as irregular sleep patterns which in turn causes inflammation and other processes harming the arteries which can lead to CAD
7)Alcohol and Drug abuse: Alcohol consumption and excessive cocaine can lead to increase in risk of CAD . As excessive drug consumption Harms the blood vessels whereas excessive alcohol consumption leads to High BP. Both of these effects can lead to CAD and other Cardio vascular problems
8)Existing Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases and kidney diseases can also increase the risk of developing CAD in the person
Foods to avoid to reduce the risk of having the risk of CAD:
Balanced diet is an essential component in reducing the risk of CAD. Foods rich in sodium cholesterol and sugars accumulate to the risk of CAD . Here are some foods to avoid in your diet to protect yourself from CAD:
1) Processed foods: The processed foods including the foods in the pack and processed meat(sausages, bacons) usually have high fats and sodium levels and can cause conditions like high BP and high cholesterol levels which in turns increase the risk of CAD
2) Fried foods: Fried food ie fried chicken and French fries usually causes increase in LDL cholesterol and reduces HDL cholesterol thus contributing to CAD
3)Food high in cholesterol: Limiting the intake of foods rich in cholesterol i-e egg yolk, meat etc and choosing lean protein and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing CAD
4)Fast food: Fast food usually contains high sodium levels which damages the blood vessels leading to
CAD thus limiting such food and sticking to homemade food can excessively reduce the risk of CAD
5) High caffeine food and beverages: High levels of caffeine which is collectively found in coffee and tea can increase BP and HR contributing to CAD. So by reducing the caffeine intake the risk can be reduced
Coronary artery disease is a very serious disease condition with alot of contributing unchangeable risk factors including age, gender and family history but can be controlled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle aswell as a healthy diet and managing stress and other medical conditions Like high BP and diabetes
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Hi, I’m Affan lateef , a pharmacist by profession. I have a degree in pharmacy and over 5 years of experience helping people achieve their health goals. I write about various topics like health, artificial intelligence in health, mental health, diet and weight loss. Follow me here on these platforms given below.