Health After 50 Topic Page:
We do not give much thought to our heart until something goes wrong with it. Weighing a little less than three-quarters of a pound, it has the Herculean task of pumping oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood through the 60,000-mile highway of blood vessels to all the tissues of the body. Your heart does this nonstop, decade after decade, for as long as you live.
If your physician has diagnosed you with coronary heart disease (CHD), also called coronary artery disease, you are not alone—nearly 17 million Americans suffer from this health problem. CHD is diagnosed when your coronary arteries—the arteries that carry blood to the heart—become narrowed by the buildup of deposits called plaques within the artery walls. This process, known as atherosclerosis, impairs the ability of the body to pump enough blood through the coronary arteries to provide adequate oxygen and nutrients to the heart. Even worse, formation of a blood clot on top of a plaque can cause a fatal heart attack.
- But the good news is that the death rate from and the severity of heart attacks has been declining steadily for many years. There have been significant improvements in identifying the risk factors associated with heart attacks, and today doctors can choose from a variety of medications to help control high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes.
- There is also a greater focus on improving lifestyle, with changes like losing weight, exercising regularly, stopping smoking, and eating a low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet. Overall, the approach has become one of prevention, involving a combination of lifestyle measures, medication, and, sometimes, revascularization procedures like angioplasty or bypass surgery.
If you or someone you care about has heart disease, obtaining accurate information is an important part of the treatment plan. This area of Health After 50 provides potentially life-saving information on the risk factors associated with coronary heart disease and the proven strategies for preventing a heart attack. These strategies are also recommended for managing heart disease once it’s been diagnosed.
- Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A., and other leading cardiologists explain the latest advances in medications, angioplasty, and bypass surgery for treating heart disease; new guidelines to lower cholesterol; and the latest screening and diagnostic tests that can detect a heart-related problem before a heart attack occurs.
- You’ll find articles on: risk factors for an aortic aneurysm, non-HDL cholesterol, key heart attack prevention strategies, trans-fat-free advice, metabolic syndrome, healthy teeth = health heart, choosing a heart health hospital, genetic testing for heart disease, and much more.
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