Coronary heart disease
Shows how arteries can become blocked over time.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is when your
coronary arteries (the arteries that supply your heart muscle with
oxygen-rich blood) become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty
material within their walls.
This condition is called atherosclerosis and
the fatty material is called atheroma.
- In time, your arteries may become so narrow that they cannot
deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to your heart. The pain and
discomfort you may feel as a result is called angina.
- If a piece of atheroma breaks off it may cause a blood
clot (blockage) to form.
- If it blocks your coronary artery and cuts off the supply of
oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, your heart may become
permanently damaged. This is known as a heart attack.
What increases my risk of CHD?
A risk factor is something that that
increases your likelihood of getting a disease. There are
several risk factors for CHD. The main ones are:
How you deal with stress, the amount
of alcohol you drink, and the type
of job you do may also increase your risk of developing
The more risk factors you have, the
more likely you are to develop CHD. Even though you can’t
change all your risk factors, there is plenty you can do to
reduce your risk and help to protect
What can I do if I'm worried about developing CHD?
You can have a free NHS health check to assess your risk of CHD if:
- You’re between 40 and 74 years old and live in England
- You’re between 40 and 64 and live in Scotland
- You live in Northern Ireland (where this is known as a
cardiac risk factor assessment)
Free NHS health checks to assess your risk of CHD are not
currently offered in Wales, but you can still discuss any concerns
with your GP or another healthcare professional.
The health check usually takes place at your GP surgery.
Your healthcare professional will check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and talk to you about your
lifestyle. Based on the results, they
will give you practical advice about keeping your heart
I've got a heart problem already, is there any treatment?
Your doctor will discuss treatment
options with you, depending on the type of heart problem that you have. These may vary
from taking medication, to having
surgery or a medical procedure.Even if
you already have a heart condition it’s still really important
protect your heart by living a healthy
I'm a woman, am I at risk?
think that coronary heart disease only affects men, but it
affects women as well.
Whether you've lived with a heart condition all your life, just
been diagnosed, or decided you want to make your heart health a
priority, you can find everything you need in our Women’s
Our scientists are fighting for every
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They're all fighting to help heart patients: finding new, better
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developing new ways to better prevent or diagnose it.