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Heart Disease

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. Almost 700,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. each year. Heart disease is a term that includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attack.

Heart disease is the most prevalent cause of death among women, resulting 1 in 3 deaths each year. The warning signs of heart attack can even be different in women than in men. For information specifically about heart disease in women, visit the American Heart Association Go Red website.

You can lower your risk for coronary heart disease by eating healthy, exercising and taking other steps to prevent and control adverse factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol that put you at greater risk for heart disease and heart attack. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, calling 911 right away and getting to a hospital are crucial to the most positive outcomes after having a heart attack. People who have had a heart attack can also work to reduce their risk of future events.

Heart Attack Symptoms

The National Heart Attack Alert Program notes these major symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach (more frequent in women). 
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort (more frequent in women).
  • Other symptoms. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling nauseas or light–headedness.

If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 immediately.

Learn more about how to prevent heart disease and heart attack, and how to act in time. Ask your health care provider about heart healthy lifestyles and heart attack warning signs on your next visit.

This is information excerpted from the Centers for Disease Control.

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