|
Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack
Heart Health Image Gallery
Heart Health Image Gallery

The last things you want coming your way are the defibrillation paddles. See more heart health pictures.

Janie Airey/Getty Images

A sad event may leave you with a "heavy" heart. If you're a cold and callous person, you're described as having either a "hard" heart or no heart at all. The 1980s music group Quarterflash tried to harden their heart, and Bruce Springsteen says that everybody's heart is hungry. There are a lot of words you can attach to "heart" to describe a wide variety of human conditions and emotions. But here's a sobering thought -- the three words most often used to describe a real cardiac event are "arrest," "attack" and "failure."

Your ticker is a pretty simple organ. It brings blood in by way of arteries and then pumps it back out to the rest of the body. A waxy substance called plaque can build up on the inside of these arteries, which makes them narrower, and it becomes more difficult for the blood to take the ride into and out of the heart. Over time, the buildup of plaque deposits can rupture and cause total blockage of the blood flow to the heart. This is called a heart attack and it's the No. 1 killer of both men and women each year in the United States [source: American Heart Association].

The bad news about heart attacks is that there are many factors that play in to whether you'll have one, including your genes, what you eat and how much you exercise. The good news is that they're preventable. If you take steps now, you can greatly improve your chances of not having a heart attack. We've compiled a list of 10 things you can do to help you avoid being a heart attack statistic.

|