Heart disease affects people from all walks of life. It’s the leading cause of death in the U.S. The difference between life and death can depend on how quickly a person is treated.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is also known as coronary artery disease. It occurs when the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen-rich blood flowing freely to your heart, brain, legs and every part of your body. Fatty deposits (cholesterol) build up in the arteries over time. The deposits block the arteries. The arteries can become more narrow and rough. When this happens, blood can’t flow through easily. This buildup causes angina and can weaken the heart.
When the heart muscle does not get enough blood and oxygen, symptoms such as pain in the chest, arm or neck area may occur. If an artery becomes completely blocked, part of the heart muscle begins to die from lack of oxygen. This is a heart attack.
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