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Heart Health Through the Years

In honor of Heart Health Month, Senior Helpers thought it would be fun to learn a little more about how heart health has changed throughout the years!

As with almost anything, the way humans have treated heart health has changed dramatically over the years with the improvements of technology and medicine. While it is difficult to say when the investigation of heart health really began, it is noted that Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) began studying coronary arteries.

Several years later, the “tightness” in the chest (often an indicator of heart disease) was first described in 1768 as a “harmless condition” relating to the blood circulating in the coronary arteries. It wasn't until almost a century later when it was discovered the “tightness” was a symptom, not a disease.

The term heart attack wasn't known until 1912 when American cardiologist, James B. Herrick, concluded that the narrowing on the coronary arties could be the cause of the tightness leading to the disease of the heart. From there, heart health really increased as many began to focus on the study of heart disease.

Around 1950 researchers determined that our diets have a large impact on our heart health after American scientist Acel Keys discovered lower counts of heart disease in countries that consume lower fat diets. In 1970, treatments such as bypass surgery and angioplasty were first used to help treat heart disease followed by heart stents in the 1980's.

Today we focus even more on the prevention of heart disease through proper dieting, exercise, and regular monitoring. But if history has taught us anything, we still have a lot to learn on the health of the human heart!