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Heart Health. The heart beats about 2.5 billion times over an individual’s lifetime, pushing millions of gallons of blood to every part of the body. This steady flow carries oxygen, fuel, hormones, other compounds, and essential cells. It also takes away the waste products of metabolism. However, when the heart stops, the essential functions fail.
Given the heart’s never-ending workload, it can also fail. It can be brought down by a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, infection, unfortunate genes, and more. One of the key problems is atherosclerosis. This is the accumulation of cholesterol-rich plaque inside the arteries. This plaque can limit blood flow through the arteries, coronary arteries, and other arteries throughout the body. When a plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Although many develop some form of cardiovascular disease (diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels) as they get older, a healthy lifestyle, especially when starting early, goes a long way to prevent cardiovascular disease. In addition, lifestyle changes and medications can help heart-harming illnesses, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, before they cause damage. And there are medications, operations, and devices that can help support heart health if damage occurs.
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