Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease
Coronary Heart Disease, the most common form of heart disease in this country and the primary cause of heart attacks, is the single largest killer of American men and women. Cardiovascular disease is America's leading cause of disability and death. It results in more premature deaths than any other illness, more than cancer and accidents combined. One million people die of cardiovascular disease each year — one every 33 seconds. More than 550,000 of these deaths are from heart attack, many occurring in the prime of life; 50 percent of first-time attacks are fatal. Heart disease costs $56 billion annually for hospital, physician, and medical-surgical costs in the United States.
Twenty to forty percent of middle aged people have early or advanced coronary artery disease due to atherosclerosis, most without symptoms or knowledge of their condition. In atherosclerosis, cholesterol builds up in pockets (plaques) embedded in the walls of coronary arteries beneath their inner lining. Coronary artery disease is a diffuse process of choloesterol deposition, scarring and calcification (hardening of the arteries) throughout the major coronary arteries supplying blood flow to heart muscle.