Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:58) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please “Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network.” Read the script.
“The heart keeps us alive, so having heart disease can be a very important factor in how long we live,” says Dr. Hayes.
Heart disease is a big term referring to any disease of the heart, says Dr. Hayes. The most common cause is coronary artery disease, which refers to a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Over time, it can lead to narrowing of arteries and risk of a heart attack.
“A heart attack is when part of the heart muscle dies because it is deprived of blood flow or oxygen. And this can occur because itâ€™s a blockage due to a blood clot or plaque, or it can be due to the heart having to work really, really hard that outstrips the oxygen supply,” says Dr. Hayes.
She says most coronary artery disease is preventable.
“If you’re smoking, stop. If you’re a couch potato, get up and start taking 10- or 20-minute walks every day. Bump it up. Physical activity is medicine,” says Dr. Hayes.
For everyone’s safety, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.