Angina: Don't Take It Lightly

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Television shows often introduce certain diseases to ramp up the intensity of the plot line and aside from trauma, heart attacks are perhaps the best way to capture the viewers' attention. There is nothing more dramatic than a character clutching their chest while crumpling to the ground. This gets media ratings but in the real world, a heart attack may be considered a failure of preventive medicine.

Heart disease remains the number one killer in the United States, and each case is a potential failure because risk management wasn't aggressive enough. There are five major risk factors for heart disease:

A person can't do anything about the genes he or she inherited, but the other four risks need lifelong vigilance to avoid not only heart attack but also stroke and peripheral vascular disease. All risk factors involve narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the body and the consequences that occur when organs don't get enough blood and start to fail.