Coronary heart disease (CHD)

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is primarily a disease that is related to the western lifestyle. It develops when the arteries that supply the heart muscle, become partially or even totally blocked due to the build up of cholesterol (fatty substances) on the inside of the artery walls. This causes a reduction in blood flow. A reduction in blood flow can lead to:

  • Angina - Severe chest pains that can spread to the arms, shoulders and neck due to partial blockage of the arteries that supply the heart with oxygen rich blood.
  • Heart attack - A blockage in the supply arteries causes heart muscle to die due to the lack of oxygen supply.
  • Stroke - damage to brain cells. It happens when the arteries that supply the brain with oxygen rich blood become blocked, and the cells become damaged due to too little axygen.

Main risk factors are:

  • High levels of LDL-cholesterol
    • Fatty meals and foods high in saturated fats, raise cholesterol levels
  • Low levels of HDL cholesterol
  • Not enough fresh fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants they contain prevent arteries from become 'furred' up.
  • It could be hereditary – some people are born with high levels of cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive amount of alcohol and smoking
  • Stress and tension have long been recognized as major factors in raising the risk of CHD
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of exercise – obesity, thrombosis, poor circulation
    • Overweight – reduction in weight reduces the risk of CHD

Nutritional intervention

  • An increased intake of mono-unsaturated fats and a lower intake of saturated fat can help.
  • A low GI food plan, which is high in soluble fibre, will help to reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Increase the intake of omega 3 fatty acids, i.e. pilchards, salmon etc.
  • A regular exercise program would reduce the risk of CHD.
  • Antioxidants are also required to prevent cholesterol from clogging up in arteries. A supplement may sometimes be required.
  • Lots of fruits and veggies


The practice:

21 Highland avenue
Bryanston, Johannesburg


Office  073 179 4907


NutritionWeek 2016 link