Coronary Heart Disease

The heart is like any other muscle and needs its own blood supply. It is supplied by 3 main arteries: The left anterior descending (LAD), Circumflex and Right Coronary Artery (RCA). Together they are called the coronary arteries.

What causes angina?

Angina is caused by a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries. The blockage is caused by atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries), which causes the artery to narrow off. Once the artery has a narrowing inside, it prevents the blood from flowing normally and therefore prevents the heart muscle getting the blood (and Oxygen) it needs. This results in a cramping like sensation or heaviness in the chest. Left untreated atherosclerosis can cause heart attacks.

The risk of developing atherosclerosis is increased by several factors including: high cholesterol; high blood pressure; smoking; diabetes; and a family history of heart problems.

What symptoms might I experience with Angina?

Chest pain or tightness and shortness of breath are the main symptoms that people who have angina complain of. The pain is usually made worse by exertion and stress and cold weather may also have an effect on symptoms.