Why did this happen to me?

This is a question I often hear from my patients after they have suffered a heart attack, experienced a frightening episode of chest pain, or been diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD). As a board-certified interventional cardiologist in private practice for over 20 years in suburban Houston, I’ve heard this question from people of all ages and all walks of life—executives, construction workers, tech industry leaders, teachers, firefighters, pilots, stay-at-home moms, and more.

Many times in my career, I’ve given my patients the basics about the causes and risk factors for CHD, which leads to an estimated 735,000 heart attacks per year. And I’ve filled them in on the latest treatment options and lifestyle changes that can improve their health and help them prevent future heart attacks. But like most busy doctors, I don’t always have the time to fully explain everything about CHD and the exciting advances in its treatment. That’s where this book comes in. I wanted to find a way to give my patients and others the detailed information they can use to take charge of their heart health.

This book is intended to help answer the questions I hear on a daily basis in my office. You may have many of these same questions too. Although this book is primarily intended as a resource for patients with CHD, it also serves as a guide for family members and friends who are supporting you through the process. It can help all of you gain a better understanding of CHD and discover things you may want to discuss further with your own doctor to ensure you are doing everything possible to enhance your wellbeing.

Rest assured, the information in these pages is based on the most up-to-date, rigorous scientific evidence. My hope is that it will serve as an eye-opener to show you that having a heart attack or getting a diagnosis of CHD isn’t the end of your life. Instead, it can be the beginning of a new heart-smart way of living that will lower your risk for future coronary events and help keep your heart healthy for years to come.