(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles…)
Heart attacks kill. But not as often as they used to. In fact, you might say heart attacks can start life anew.
Leonard Castro knows firsthand. His life was upended by a first heart attack at age 46 and subsequent bypass surgery. Like about 90% of heart attack patients who make it to a hospital, he lived.
But he's not living the life he once had. Castro underwent cardiac rehabilitation that included Life Overhaul 101, a wake-up call that covered nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and how to manage medications. This Los Angeles Times story explains how Castro has fared just five months after his heart attack.
While stories like this attest to how far medicine has come, it's important to remember that heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of Americans. These seven simple guidelines -- yes, it really can be boiled down to a checklist -- are a huge step in the right direction. And here are the tell-tale symptoms of a heart attack.
Medical advances, of course, continue to improve the odds of surviving heart failure. Research on stem cells, for example, might show promise.
But really, healthy changes and warning signs serve as a kind of user's guide to the heart. The tools are there -- if folks choose to use them.
RELATED: A closer look: The new guidelines for heart health