What Really is Heart Disease?
The heart is an amazingly strong organ, but it’s not invincible. Heart disease is an all-encompassing term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart, the most prominent of which is coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease refers to the failure of the heart’s blood supply to provide adequate circulation to its own muscle and its surrounding tissue. This is caused by accumulation of “plaque” in the blood vessels themselves, narrowing them as the cholesterol plaque deposits build up.
Think of your heart and your circulatory system as an intricate system of pipes which deliver oxygen-carrying blood to all your vital organs. When there is something clogging those pipes, things will not function as well as they should. That something is exactly those plaques we mentioned earlier. Plaques, made of cholesterol, build up over long periods of time with the most insidious intent. If the blockage is severe enough, it can result in enough oxygen deprivation to cause you pain, or potentially even death.
- Almost 17 million adults have coronary artery disease
- Every 37 seconds, someone dies from a heart attack
- Prevention efforts and treatment advances between 1995 and 2005 reduced the death rate from heart disease by 34%