The heart is the key organ that propels blood throughout the body. It usually beats from 60 to 100 times per minute, pumping almost an entire blood volume of five litres every minute. This is approximately 100,000 heartbeats a day and more than 30 million per year. As the heart is designed to work constantly, it requires a tremendous amount of nutrients and oxygen from the blood it pumps, and therefore is more vulnerable to damage when proper function is impaired. This is why comprehensive knowledge about and special attention to heart disease is important.
There are an estimated 70,000 heart attacks each year in Canada. That is one heart attack every seven minutes (Statistics Canada, 2011). Surprisingly, more than forty percent of those suffering from a heart attack will die, and even more worrisome, many with heart attacks die in an emergency department or before ever reaching the hospital. According to Statistics Canada, heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada, causing almost 16,000 deaths each year.
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