In This Chapter
Understanding what causes atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease
Determining the causes and effects of angina
Exploring what causes heart attacks
Learning about arrhythmias, heart failure, and other forms of heart disease
Your heart works harder than any other muscle in your body. Your life depends on this small but mighty pump never stopping. It’s about the size of your clenched fist and weighs less than a pound. Depending on your age and physical condition, a normal heart beats 60 to 90 times per minute when you are sitting and may get up to 150 to 200+ times per minute when you are maxing out aerobic physical activity. A healthy heart is equipped to sustain at this pace for 70 to 90 years and beyond. The key word here is healthy.
From the moment you are born (and even before), multiple factors related to your biology, behavior, and environment have an impact, for good or ill, on your heart and cardiovascular system. Heart disease is progressive: It starts stealthily in the coronary (and other) ...