1-22. RISK FACTORS.
a. Risk factors that cannot be changed (non-modified) are age, sex, race,
genetic make-up, and family history.
b. The major risk factors, however, fall into the category of modifiable risk
factors. Hypertension, elevated serum cholesterol levels, and cigarette smoking have
been identified as the three major risk factors. These factors can be modified and
controlled by taking prescribed blood pressure medication, modifying eating habits, and
giving up cigarettes.
c. Additional modifiable risk factors include weight, activity level, and stress
levels. These factors can be controlled by maintaining an appropriate weight, making
life style adjustments to reduce stress, and increasing physical activity.
a. Arteriosclerosis is the primary cause of CAD. Arteriosclerosis is defined as
hardening or thickening of the arteries. Arteriosclerotic disease is characterized by
thickening and loss of elasticity of the arterial walls.
b. Atherosclerosis is the most common form of arteriosclerosis. Deposits of
yellowish plaques (called atheromas) are formed within the medium and large sized
arteries. These atheromas are made up of cholesterol, lipoid material, and lipophages
(cells that ingest or absorb fat).
1-24. CORONARY HEART DISEASE
a. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is a collective name for a number of ischemic
diseases of the myocardium. Coronary heart disease is the eventual clinical
manifestation of the effects of CAD.
b. The major diseases of CHD are: angina pectoris, cardiac dysrhythmias,
myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.
1-25. ANGINA PECTORIS
a. Angina pectoris is a clinical syndrome of ischemic heart disease, manifested
by paroxysmal pain in the chest and adjacent areas. This disorder is considered to be
an early warning of CV deterioration. The symptoms occur as a result of myocardial
oxygen demand that exceeds the ability of the coronary arteries to deliver oxygen. (The
coronary arteries supply the myocardium with the oxygenated blood it needs to work
effectively.) The main cause for this inability to meet oxygen demand is the presence of
aterosclerosis that causes advanced occlusion or stenosis of one or more of the three
major branches of the coronary artery tree. The coronary arteries are illustrated in