"The heart is a very resilient muscle," says Woody Allen in his film "Hannah and Her Sisters". And indeed it is. Charged with pumping blood throughout the entire circulatory system, the heart is also a muscle that reflects the treatment by its host more than any other muscle in the human body. Treat the heart well with frequent exercise, a good diet, and no smoking, and its potential to remain healthy improves dramatically. Treat the heart poorly with a cholesterol-laden, sedentary lifestyle and the chance of heart disease increases.
Sudden cardiac arrest, often caused by a combination of the above, is often confused with heart attack. "It is important to clarify the differences between these two conditions because people frequently lump them together," says Dr. Michael Chen, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington in the division of cardiology.