Coronary heart disease is a disease of the arteries supplying blood to the muscle forming the walls of the heart. The blockage of a coronary artery is called coronary thrombosis or heart attack, causing extreme and gripping chest pains. If a coronary artery is blocked, part of the heart muscle does not receive any blood. The muscle cells receive no oxygen, they cannot respire and therefore they die. The size of the heart attack depends upon the size and position of the coronary artery blocked. If a small branch of an artery is blocked, only a small amount of muscle dies causing a small heart attack. If a large artery is blocked, the whole heart may stop contracting, resulting in a cardiac arrest.
Atherosclerosis is a main cause of CHD. This is the progressive blocking of arteries with atheroma. These are deposits of cholesterol and fibrous tissue which narrow the arteries, reducing blood flow and making the artery walls less elastic, and therefore roughening their inner surface. There are a number of factors that can affect Atherosclerosis. Lack of physical inactivity is a common risk factor. 7 out of 10 adults in the US do not take enough regular physical activity. Physical activity also raises HDL cholesterol levels which with regular physical activity lowers the damaging LDL levels. Regular exercise helps to prevent blood clotting by providing sufficient blood flow to remove and stop the buildup of atheroma, therefore preventing coronary thrombosis.
Preventing the buildup of atheroma can be prevented by physical exercise as this raises the amount of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in our arteries. However it is the fact that excess cholesterol is present in our arteries that results in a dangerous amount of atheroma forming in the coronary artery and this excess comes from our diet. Some cholesterol is essential for our bodies to function as they are needed in cell membranes, however the level of cholesterol entering our bodies through diet is a major factor affecting coronary heart disease. The level of LDL cholesterol in