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Heart Fitness Tips

Heart disease is the number 1 killer of American men and women, and death from stroke is number three. Annually, about 1.5 million Americans experience heart attacks and about one third of them will die. Approximately another 500,000 people will suffer from a stroke. Here we will provide information about the risk of heart disease and suggest what lifestyle changes may lower your risk.

What is a heart attack?

Heart attack, also called myocardial infarction, is the result of blood vessel disease. A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart muscle is severely restricted or blocked. This can be caused by hardening of the arteries or a blood clot. If the blood supply is interfered with for a long time, heart muscle cells experience irreversible injury and die. Disability or death can result, depending on how much heart muscle is damaged. Five percent of all heart attacks occur in people under age 65. When a heart attack occurs, it is critical to act fast. Studies show that half of all heart attack victims wait more than two hours before getting help, reducing their chances of survival.

What is angina?

Angina is chest pain and a symptom of a condition called myocardial ischemia that occurs when the heart muscle gets insufficient blood for a given level of work. Although blood circulation to the heart may be sufficient for normal needs, it may be inadequate when the heart’s needs increase, perhaps causing an attack of angina. Angina can be a warning sign of risk of heart attack.

What is stroke?

Stroke occurs when a blood vessel to the brain bursts or is severely restricted. When the blood flow to the brain is interrupted, nerve cells in the affected area cannot function and die within minutes. When nerve cells cease to function, the part of the body controlled by these cells becomes disabled. The devastating effects of stroke are often permanent because dead brain cells can't be replaced. Twenty-eight percent of the people who suffer stroke each year are under age 65.