Heart Disease

What causes coronary heart disease?

A Answers (4)

  • Coronary heart disease is caused by the hardening of arteries, which constricts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and radiation therapy can all damage the coronary artery. Over time, cholesterol, fatty material, and plaque build up along the damaged artery, a process called atherosclerosis. As the walls of the artery thicken from this build-up, blood flow through the arteries is constricted. The hardening of arteries can slow or even stop blood flow to the heart, causing chest pain, shortness of breath, or a heart attack. In some cases, coronary heart disease can also be caused by a coronary artery spasm.

  • ACharles Neiditz, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    A narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries is usually caused by atherosclerosis, the buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits, called plaque, on the inner walls of the arteries. This plaque can reduce blood flow to the heart muscle by clogging the artery or causing abnormal functioning.

    Coronary artery disease actually begins before the teen years. That's when blood vessel walls begin to show indications of fatty deposits. As you get older, the fat builds up, causing slight injury to your blood vessel walls. Fat and other substances combine to form the plaque.

    Over time, the inside of the arteries develop plaques of different size.
  • ANassir Azimi, MD, Cardiology, answered

    Cholesterol builds up in the wall of the arteries resulting in progressive narrowing. This process is accelerated by smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inflammation (high C-reactive protein), and oxidative damage through aging. 

  • AUnitedHealthcare answered

    When cholesterol buildup, called plaque, narrows one or more of the coronary arteries, not enough blood can get through to the heart muscle. This can lead to coronary heart disease.

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