Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is a disease in which waxy substance called plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. These arteries are used to supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart, so if they’re continuously blocked up, it can be very dangerous. If the flow of this oxygen-rich blood is reduced or blocked, a heart attack can occur. It is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women and although this type of disease mainly happens at an older age, it can happen to anyone. Fatty material and other substances form a plaque buildup all throughout the walls of your coronary arteries, causing the arteries to get very narrow. As a result, blood flow to the heart will slow down or stop completely. If it is slowed down/blocked/reduced, angina can occur. Angina is chest pain or discomfort. Overtime, CHD can weaken the heart muscle, leading to heart failure and arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a problem with the rate/rhythm of the heartbeat. The heart can either begin to beat too quickly or too slowly. Although most arrhythmias are harmless, some can be severely life threatening. Although heart attacks and other cardiac disorders/diseases can come without warning, there still are several ways to determine whether or not you are suffering from a disorder/disease such as CHD. Chest pain or major discomfort is the most common symptom for not only CHD but for any heart disorder. This pain occurs simply when the heart is lacking oxygen or blood. Depending on the person the pain could feel like something heavy/pressure on your heart or pain around the neck, arms, stomach or upper back. Shortness of breath may occur along with fatigue and general weakness. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking are the top three causes of CHD. Although CHD can develop in the healthiest of people, these three examples definitely double your chances. Combine all three, and you’ll be 8 times more prone than the average human. Obesity, a lack of exercise and diabetes can also cause CHD. Certain risk factors such as age, family history and gender can affect your odds of getting CHD but those are completely out of your control. Fortunately, CHD rarely develops in women under 50 and men under 40. Eating low-fat diets that are rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising 30-60 minutes at least 5 days a week, not smoking, drinking on occasion, keeping blood/cholesterol levels low and lowering your stress levels can help prevent your chances of developing CHD. To treat this type of disorder, scientists and doctors have been looking into it for years. Although there is no type of medication or treatment to stop CHD immediately, there are medications and treatments that can slow it down so that it can be stopped eventually. Doctors may ask you to take certain types of medication daily to treat your blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol levels. Medicines can reduce your heart’s workload and relieve these symptoms, decrease your chance of having a heart attack in the future, lower all your chances of developing CHD, prevent blood clots and prevent or delay the need for procedure or surgery. Procedures and surgeries used to treat CHD are; angioplasty and stent placement, coronary artery bypass surgery, minimally invasive heart surgery etc. Angioplasty and stent placement is a procedure in which the narrowed or blocked blood vessel is opened so that oxygen and blood can flow back to the heart properly to keep it alive. Coronary artery bypass surgery is a procedure that restores blood flow to your heart by changing the flow of blood around a section of a blocked artery. Minimally invasive heart surgery is a surgery in which surgeons perform heart surgery through small incisions in the right side of your chest (instead of open heart surgery). Surgeons will operate between the ribs, avoiding splitting of the breastbone, making it less painful and giving the procedure a quicker recovery time. Surgeons perform many minimally invasive heart surgeries such as; aortic valve surgery, atrial septal defect closure, atrioventricular canal defect, heart valve surgery, maze heart surgery, mitral valve surgery, saphenous vein harvest and tricuspid valve surgery. Your doctor will work with you to determine whether these surgeries would be a good/better option for you, or if medication will simply get the job done. Your doctor will want to do what’s the most beneficial and helpful for you to recover fast, and be healthy again!