Coronary heart disease, also known as ischemic heart disease or coronary artery disease is due to the narrowing of small blood vessels or coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. (A. Chen, 2015) The narrowing of arteries is caused by the accumulation of plaque in the arteries which is formed from the fatty material called atheroma. (A. Chen, 2015; National Health Services, 2014) This accumulation causes narrowing of the lumen of blood vessels and hardening of the arteries, in consequence slows down the blood flows to the heart or causes the complete obstruction of blood vessels. (A. Chen, 2015) The process of plaque accumulation is known as atherosclerosis which usually takes years to build-up (National Health Services, 2014; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2016).
According to WHO, cardiovascular diseases takes 31% of cause of death in 2012, which is approximately 17.5 millions. Out of these 17.5 millions of death, 7.4 millions were due to coronary heart disease. (World Health Organization, 2016) Some of the common symptoms include angina and difficulty in breathing. Angina, more commonly known as chest pain, happens due to deprivation of oxygen supply to the cardiac muscle. When the cardiac muscle does not get sufficient oxygen, the heart will eventually lose its ability to pump efficiently which is essential to meet the body’s need. When it does, fluid will start to accumulate in the lungs, causing shortness of breath. (National Health Services, 2014; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2016; World Health Organization, 2016)
The risk of coronary heart disease can be divided into two categories, one has the modifiable and the other does unmodifiable factors. The unmodifiable risk factors include gender, age and genes. Men have a higher risk in developing coronary heart disease than women do. As we age, the chances getting coronary heart disease will also increase. The risk would be higher if you have a family history of heart disease. Some of the modifiable risk factors include smoking, overweight, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. By controlling or reducing the modifiable risk factors, we could prevent or delay the onset of coronary heart disease. (A. Chen, 2015; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2016)
Coronary heart disease has been a major heart issue in Australia, which prevalence of 1 death in every 12 minutes with biggest number of patients age 65. It has been going on for 50 years, especially in low socioeconomic groups and Aboriginal and Torres strait islanders. Most cases are caused by high blood pressure, genetic factors, and lifestyle (NAPSA, 2016).
There has been few attempts from the government, private sector or NAPSA, the national pharmacy students association of Australia to install blood pressure meters at shopping centers. Australian government has been promoting that having enough fruit and vegetables contributes to the healthy blood flow to the cardiac muscle, as well as maintaining healthy weight. Heart Foundation Australia is one of private sectors who supports patients with coronary heart disease (NAPSA, 2016).
To prevent and to control cardiovascular diseases, WHO has identified a few interventions without high cost, which are both beneficial and attainable even in low-resource settings. Two types of interventions are mentioned, which are the population-wide interventions and individual ones. As for the population-wide interventions, the government could increase taxes on foods that are high in sodium or salt, fat and sugar. This also can start from providing healthy school meals to children. The government could introduce comprehensive tobacco control policies and some strategies to decrease the deleterious use of alcohol. For individuals that have higher total cardiovascular risk, individual health-care interventions can be introduced. (World Health Organization, 2016) Overall, with these interventions and individuals’ willingness and inclination to change for a better health, the burden of coronary heart disease can definitely be reduced.
A. Chen, M., 2015. Coronary heart disease: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [online] Medlineplus.gov. Available at: <https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007115.htm> [Accessed 25 December 2016].
National Health Services, 2014. Coronary heart disease (ischaemic heart disease) - NHS Choices. [online] Available at: <http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Coronary-heart-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx> [Accessed 25 December 2016].
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2016. What Is Coronary Heart Disease? - NHLBI, NIH. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cad> [Accessed 25 December 2016].
World Health Organization, 2016. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). [online] Available at: <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/> [Accessed 25 December 2016].