Heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability among men and women in the United States. The American Heart Association estimates that every 25 seconds, someone in the U.S. will have a heart attack. Other startling facts about heart disease include:
There are different types of heart disease. The most common cause of heart disease is narrowing of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This is called coronary artery disease and it is a major reason for heart attacks. When the coronary arteries are blocked, oxygen cannot get to the affected area of the heart and if the blockage lasts for more than a few minutes, permanent damage can occur. When a complete blockage occurs, it can cause a heart attack.
Fat, cholesterol and other deposits form "plaques" which build up in the artery’s walls. The process can take years and can be prevented or treated with dietary modifications, physical activity and by stopping smoking.
Other kinds of heart problems may affect the valves in the heart, or the heart muscle may not pump well and cause heart failure. Some people are born with heart disease, which is called congenital heart disease.
Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center at Mission Bay
535 Mission Bay Blvd. South
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-2873
Fax: (415) 353-2528