Heart Disease

If you suspect you are having a heart attack, immediately call 911.

Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease in the United States. For some people, the first sign of CAD is a heart attack.

Coronary artery disease is the buildup of plaque (fatty deposits from cholesterol, and other substances) in the heart’s arteries. When plaque buildup narrows the artery the blood flow is restricted. If a blood clot forms on the plaque’s surface or a piece of plaque breaks off and is carried to the narrowed artery, it could block the artery and cut off the blood flow. This results in a heart attack or stroke.

Common warning signs of a heart attack are:

  • Pain or discomfort in your chest
  • Lightheadedness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

The risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Increasing age
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Some risk factors you can control, others are hereditary.

To reduce the risks you can control for heart disease:

  • Eat a healthier (lower sodium, lower fat) diet
  • Increase physical activity
  • Quit smoking.

Take medications to treat the risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, and low blood flow.

If you are concerned that you may have heart disease, consult your physician. Some helpful information on coronary artery disease can be found here.

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NOTE: The health information provided on this website is designed to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional before starting a new treatment or to answer questions about a medical condition.