Recent Blog Articles
Thinking about COVID booster shots? Here’s what to know
Cancer survivors' sleep is affected long after treatment
Do I have to yell so much?
What to do when elective surgery is postponed
What happened to trusting medical experts?
Stuttering in children: How parents can help
Icy fingers and toes: Poor circulation or Raynaud’s phenomenon?
Evoking calm: Practicing mindfulness in daily life helps
Finding balance: 3 simple exercises to steady your steps
Boosting your child’s immune system
The heart beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. This steady flow carries with it oxygen, fuel, hormones, other compounds, and a host of essential cells. It also whisks away the waste products of metabolism. When the heart stops, essential functions fail, some almost instantly.
Given the heart's never-ending workload, it's a wonder it performs so well, for so long, for so many people. But it can also fail, brought down by a poor diet and lack of exercise, smoking, infection, unlucky genes, and more.
A key problem is atherosclerosis. This is the accumulation of pockets of cholesterol-rich gunk inside the arteries. These pockets, called plaque, can limit blood flow through arteries that nourish the heart — the coronary arteries — and other arteries throughout the body. When a plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Although many people develop some form of cardiovascular disease (a catch-all term for all of the diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels) as they get older, it isn't inevitable. A healthy lifestyle, especially when started at a young age, goes a long way to preventing cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle changes and medications can nip heart-harming trends, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, in the bud before they cause damage. And a variety of medications, operations, and devices can help support the heart if damage occurs.
Aerobic exercise helps hard-to-treat high blood pressure
COVID-19 diagnosis raises risk of heart attack, stroke
Diets rich in vitamin K linked to lower heart disease risk
The danger of a "silent" heart attack
From the wrist to the heart: A safer route for angioplasty?