KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT HEART DISEASE
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. That’s one in every four deaths in this country.
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack. Other kinds of heart disease may involve the valves in the heart, or the heart may not pump well and cause heart failure. Some people are born with heart disease.
Are you at risk?
Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. It occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in your arteries. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time, reducing blood flow to the heart.
Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, and not getting enough exercise all increase your risk for having heart disease.
Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes also can increase your risk for heart disease. Ask your doctor about preventing or treating these medical conditions.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease. For many people, chest discomfort or a heart attack is the first sign.
Someone having a heart attack may experience several symptoms, including:
Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few minutes.
Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
Weakness, light-headedness, nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), or a cold sweat.
Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder.
Shortness of breath.