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Heart Disease Statistics
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Heart disease (also used interchangeably with cardiovascular disease, CVD) is a broad umbrella term to describe diseases which affect the heart. Heart disease includes coronary artery disease (CAD), congenital heart defects, irregular heart heart arrhythmia and heart infections. Heart disease generally involves the blood vessels narrowing or becoming blocked which can lead to chest pain (angina pectoris) stroke or heart attack. The following is a list of heart disease statistics derived primarily from the American Heart Foundation.
Heart Disease Statistics: Quick Overview
• Over 81 million Americans had one form or other of cardiovascular disease (that is more than 1 in 3 people).
Coronary heart disease (CHD) refers to heart diseases which cause the failure of the coronary circulation system to provide adequate blood to the heart's muscles and surrounding tissues. It is sometimes referred to as Coronary artery disease (CAD), although CAD is only one type of CHD (although it is by far the most common). CHD can have other causes such as coronary vasospasm. However, most articles when discussing CHD and CAD use the terms interchangeably. CHD causes chest pain (angina) and heart attacks.
• There were 17.6 million reported cases of CHD.
A heart attack occurs when one or more of the arteries which supply blood to the heart become blocked, restricting supply to the heart and surrounding muscle tissue. The process usually begins with atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque (fatty deposits) inside the artery walls. The plaque can rupture, causing red blood cells to clot and a blockage occurs. If the blood supply is completely cut off for even a few minutes, damage occurs to the heart muscle, causing either permanent injury (disability) or death. Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is different in that the heart stops beating suddenly. The underlying cause is an irregular heart rhythm that causes the heart to suddenly stop pumping blood. Brain damage can occur within 4 to 6 minutes after the heart stops pumping blood which is why instant CPR (and defibrillation) is critical. See: Heart Attacks in Women for more information.
• 1.5 million heart attacks occurred.
A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts or is clogged by a clot or other particles. The blockage means that the brain does not receive the blood, oxygen and other nutrients that it needs. Deprived of oxygen the nerve cells in the affected area of the brain begin to immediately die. There are 2 main types of strokes: ischemic strokes (caused by blood clots or other substances and by far the most common type) and hemorrhagic strokes (caused by bleeding from a burst blood vessel).
• Every year 700,000 Americans suffer a new or repeated stroke.
New Study: A 2011 Dutch of 250 patients demonstrated that coffee, sexual intercourse and blowing your nose can increase the risk of stroke. 10 percent of burst brain aneurysms were blamed on coffee, 8 percent on vigorous exercise, 5 percent on nose blowing, 4 percent on sex and 3.5 percent on drinking cola.
Angina (pectoris) literally means pain of the chest. Although angina is not always a precursor to a heart attack, even an occasional angina attack can be a sign of serious coronary artery disease. Angina is a symptom rather than a condition. It is described as a tight feeling across the chest which can be suffocating and can radiate to the throat, neck and arms. Typically attacks are bought on by physical activity or emotional stress and last a few minutes. Attacks are relieved by rest.
• 18 percent of coronary heart attacks were preceded by angina (ref: Framingham Heart Study).
Also known as congenital heart defects, these conditions arise from structural problems from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels.
• Currently there is no definite data indicating the prevalence of congenital heart defects in the United States. It was estimated to be between 650,000 and 1.3 million in 2002.
Congestive heart failure or heart failure, is a general term to describe a situation where the heart either cannot pump enough blood around the body or that it cannot fill with enough blood. It causes shortness of breath, fatigue and swelling in the legs, especially while exercising. There is no common accepted definition of heart failure and it appears to be a syndrome rather than a diagnosis. It is caused by cardiac dysfunction, and is usually progressive and fatal.
• 5.8 million Americans were living with heart failure in 2006.
PAD is a disease which affects the peripheral arteries of the body. Plaque builds up in the arteries which carry blood to the limbs, organs and head. In particular it affects blood flow to the legs. Symptoms range from leg cramps to pain while walking.
• PAD affects about 8 million Americans a year.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is also known as sudden cardiac death. It strikes out of the blue causing the heart to stop beating. The person loses consciousness and stops breathing.
|Related Articles on Heart Disease Statistics
For more about heart problems in women, see the following:
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WOMENS HEALTH ADVICE: ABOUT HEART DISEASE IN WOMEN