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Heart attacks

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Updated: 4/11/2007 5:50 pm
A heart attack occurs when blood is no longer able to reach the heart, usually due to clogged arteries. This lack of blood causes heart muscle tissue to die. As a result, the heart may be weakened and unable to function at full capacity. If the damage is severe, the heart attack may be fatal. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart attack, such as maintaining a normal weight. While heart disease occurs in thin people, it's more often associated with those who are overweight, probably due to differences in diet and activity levels. Thus, it's important to adopt healthy habits like eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; limiting your intake of fat, especially saturated fat; reducing stress; and exercising on a regular basis. There are other connections between obesity and heart disease that doctors are still working to understand. For example, it's believed that excess weight in the mid-section is more dangerous for the heart than weight that collects in the hips and thighs, though researchers don't know why. However, obesity is just one of several controllable risk factors for heart attack. Others include smoking, high blood pressure, and high levels of cholesterol or the amino acid homocysteine (hoe-moe-SISS-teen).
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