Heart Disease

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease refers to several heart conditions, the most common of which is coronary artery disease. This disease occurs when plaque, composed of cholesterol and other substances, builds up in artery walls, narrowing them. This can partially or totally block blood flow to the heart and often leads to a heart attack.


% of deaths that heart disease accounts for in United States

CDC Heart Disease Facts

% of heart disease deaths in US attributed to Coronary Artery Disease

CDC Heart Disease Facts

% of coronary artery disease deaths that are preventable

CDC Preventable Deaths from Heart Disease & Stroke

Symptoms, Prevention, and Recommended Tests


  • Chest Pain: Pressure or tightness, usually in the middle or left side of the chest
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Heart Attack: Usually felt as crushing pressure in the chest and pain in the shoulder or arm, sometimes with shortness of breath and sweating. Can often be the first sign of coronary artery disease.



  • Eat a Healthy Diet: Low fat, low sodium, low sugar.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight
  • Be Physically Active: Adults are recommended to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking can damage blood vessels, raise blood pressure, and reduce the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry. Even secondhand smoke increases heart disease risk for nonsmokers.
  • Limit Alcohol: Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day, women should only have one.


Recommended Tests and Management

  • Cholesterol: You should be tested every 5 years, sooner if you already have high cholesterol or a family history
  • Blood Pressure: Get checked on a regular basis, at least once every 2 years if you've had high blood pressure or other risk factors.
  • Manage Diabetes: If diagnosed, make sure to monitor blood sugar levels and make lifestyle changes to keep levels under control.
  • Take Medications: If you take medicine to treat any of these conditions, make sure to follow instructions carefully and ask questions about your condition and treatment plan.


Risk Factors


Unhealthy Diet

Physical Inactivity


Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Tobacco Use or Exposure


High blood pressure

High cholesterol



Family History


Older Age


Race and Ethnicity

United States Statistics

About 610,000 people die of heart disease each year, representing 1 in 4 deaths in the United States. About 60% of the deaths result from coronary artery disease, and over half of the deaths are in men.

% of Sudden Cardiac Deaths Occuring Outside of the Hospital
% of Americans with at Least One Risk Factor
% of Adults Who Are Obese, A Major Risk Factor
% of Second Heart Attacks Each Year
% of Americans who Recognized All Major Symptoms of a Heart Attack
CDC Heart Disease Facts

More Information

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