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Coronary heart disease (CHD)

Overview

Coronary heart disease (CHD) affects both men and women. CHD is the term that describes what happens when your heart's blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.

Over time, the walls of your arteries can become blocked up by fatty deposits. This process is called atherosclerosis and the fatty deposits are called atheroma.

If a piece of atheroma breaks off, it may cause a blood clot (blockage), which may block a coronary artery and cut off the supply of the oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, your heart may then become permanently damaged. This is known as a heart attack.

Atherosclerosis can be caused by lifestyle factors and other conditions such as:

  • smoking
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes

Symptoms of CHD:

  • angina (chest pain)
  • heart attacks
  • heart failure

However, not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have had any before CHD is diagnosed.

For more information, visit nhs.uk.