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A Closer Look at Heart Disease

Highlighted Heart Illustration

Every 33 Seconds

According to the Heart Foundation, every 33 seconds, someone in the United States dies from heart disease. The term heart disease is used to describe several problems related to plaque buildup in the arteries. As the plaque builds up, so do your chances of having a stroke or heart attack.

Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is severely reduced or completely stops. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year about 785,000 Americans have a first heart attack. Another 470,000 who have already had one, have another one. Thousands of people also survive heart attacks every year with the right treatment plan and changes in lifestyle. There are steps you can take to lower your chances of having a heart attack:

  • Quit smoking ASAP
  • Reduce your bad cholesterol and take steps to raise your good cholesterol
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy diet, low in saturated fats
  • If you have diabetes, get it under control
  • Reduce your stress levels


A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When this occurs, the brain cannot get the nutrients it needs causing the brain cells in a part of the brain to die. The same preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of heart attack, can also help you reduce your risk of having a stroke.


Angina is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease and is also known simply as chest pain. It can be described as a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, aching, burning, fullness, squeezing or painful feeling due to coronary heart disease. Angina is usually felt in the chest, but may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, throat, jaw or back. Did you know that there are three types of angina?

  • Stable angina is predictable chest pain that is often caused by exercise, a large meal, cold weather, or stress. Although less serious than unstable angina, it can be very painful or uncomfortable.
  • Unstable angina is a type of acute chest pain that occurs when your heart doesn't get enough oxygen. It can be a warning sign of a heart attack. Unstable angina occurs without cause, lasts longer than 15-20 minutes, and may occur with a drop in blood pressure or significant shortness of breath.
  • Variant angina can occur at rest or when exposed to cold temperatures. It is caused by decreased blood flow to the heart muscle from a spasm of the coronary artery. The majority of people with this type of angina also have coronary artery disease.

Drexel Cardiology

Drexel Cardiology provides outstanding heart care and utilizes state-of-the-art diagnostic and testing equipment, while adhering to the highest standards of patient care. Our cardiologists specialize in heart attack, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, irregular heartbeats and advanced heart failure. Drexel Cardiology also offers comprehensive risk assessment to those who wish to prevent cardiac disease before symptoms arise.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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