Coronary Heart Disease
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Some 7 million Americans suffer from coronary heart disease (CHD), the most common form of heart disease. This type of heart disease is caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries that feed the heart.

CHD is the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S. Each year, more than 500,000 Americans die of heart attacks caused by CHD.

Many of these deaths could be prevented because CHD is related to certain aspects of lifestyle. Risk factors for CHD include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity--all of which can be controlled. Although medical treatments for heart disease have come a long way, controlling risk factors remains the key to preventing illness and death from CHD.


Who is at risk for CHD?

Risk factors are conditions that increase your risk of developing heart disease. Some can be changed and some cannot. Although these factors each increase the risk of CHD, they do not describe all the causes of coronary heart disease; even with none of these risk factors, you might still develop CHD.

Controllable

High blood pressure
High blood cholesterol
Smoking
Obesity
Physical inactivity
Diabetes
Stress*

Uncontrollable

Gender
Heredity (family history of CHD)
Age

* Although stress may be a risk factor for CHD, scientists still do not know exactly how stress might be involved in heart disease.


What is CHD?

Like any muscle, the heart needs a constant s