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Dr. Steven Houser, New American Heart Association President

Dr. Steven Houser, President of the American Heart Association, shares his ‘Why’ and his passion for developing the next generation of research and cures for cardiac disease.

The Science of Your Disease

  • Heart Attack

    HeartAttack and blockage.

    Your heart muscle needs oxygen to survive. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow can slowly become narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. This slow process is known as atherosclerosis.

    Learn More About Heart Attacks
  • Hemmorhagic Stroke

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    Hemorrhagic Stroke.

    Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for about 13 percent of stroke cases. It results from a weakened vessel that ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding brain. The blood accumulates and compresses the surrounding brain tissue.

    Learn more about Hemmorhagic Stroke
  • Heart Failure

    Heart Failure illustration.

    The term "heart failure" makes it sound like the heart is no longer working at all and there's nothing that can be done. Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in your body. Heart failure is a serious condition, but it does not mean that the heart has stopped beating.

    Learn more about Heart Failure
  • Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

    Transient Ischemic Attack.

    While transient ischemic attack (TIA) is often labeled “mini-stroke,” it is more accurately characterized as a “warning stroke,” a warning you should take very seriously. TIA is caused by a clot; the only difference between a stroke and TIA is that with TIA the blockage is transient (temporary).

    Learn more about Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
  • Ischemic Stroke

    Ischemic Stroke.

    The majority of strokes occur when blood vessels to the brain become narrowed or clogged with fatty deposits called plaque. This cuts off blood flow to brain cells. A stroke caused by lack of blood reaching part of the brain is called an ischemic stroke. High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for ischemic stroke that you can change.

    Learn more about Ischemic Stroke
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

    Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).

    Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a narrowing of the peripheral arteries to the legs, stomach, arms, and head - most commonly in the arteries of the legs. It is caused by atherosclerosis that narrows and blocks arteries in various critical regions of the body. The most common symptoms of PAD involving the lower extremities are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Typically, this pain goes away with rest and returns when you walk again.

    Learn more about Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
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