The heart is a complex muscle, and it can be even more difficult to understand if you don’t know the terms often used in describing heart health. Here are six basic heart terms that you should know:
This waxy substance is necessary for the body to function normally. But if there’s too much cholesterol in the blood, it can stick to the walls of the arteries. The cholesterol buildup, called plaque, can narrow arteries or block them.
Angina is a technical term for chest pain or discomfort. It occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is compromised.
This occurs when blood flow to a section of the heart is blocked. The lack of oxygen to the heart muscle results in damage.
Cardiac arrest is what occurs when an abnormal heart rhythm causes the heart to stop beating.
A stent is a metal coil that is used to prop open a blocked artery. It is similar to the spring in a retractable pen.
This procedure may be performed when a stent is not a viable option to restore normal blood flow to a section of the heart. A surgeon uses a healthy blood vessel from the leg, arm or chest and attaches it to the main artery, where oxygen-rich blood leaves the heart, as well as the other arteries in your heart. This redirects the blood around the blocked or diseased area, restoring normal blood flow.
How heart savvy are you? Test your knowledge and take the heart health quiz.