Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a disease in which plaque (plak) builds up on the inner walls of your coronary arteries. These arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart. When plaque builds up in the arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis (ath-er-o-skler-O-sis).
Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque can harden or rupture (break open).
Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This can cause chest pain or discomfort called angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh).
If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form on its surface. A large blood clot can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. This is the most common cause of a heart attack. Over time, ruptured plaque also hardens and narrows the coronary arteries.
Taking action to control your risk factors can help prevent or delay coronary heart disease (CHD). Your risk for CHD increases with the number of CHD risk factors you have.
One step you can take is to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle. A heart healthy lifestyle should be part of a lifelong approach to healthy living.
For example, if you smoke, try to quit. Smoking can raise your risk for CHD and heart attack and worsen other CHD risk factors. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.
A healthy diet is low in sodium (salt), added sugars, solid fats, and refined grains. Solid fats are saturated fat and trans fatty acids. Refined grains come from processing whole grains, which results in a loss of nutrients (such as dietary fiber).
Thanks NIH for this helpful information