For Patients

What is heart disease?
Answer

Coronary Artery Disease, the most common form of heart disease in this country and the primary cause of heart attacks, is the single largest killer of American men and women. Coronary Artery Disease occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the heart are blocked. Every 30 seconds, an American suffers a heart attack because of such a blockage, and 40 percent die within a year. More than 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with the disease and many more, an estimated 25% of the middle-aged population, are unaware of their illness until they have a heart attack. In the U.S., coronary artery disease accounts for one-third of all deaths each year.

You would be considered to have heart disease if you have had:

  • a heart attack
  • a heart bypass procedure
  • angioplasty, balloon, or stent procedure
  • heart failure
  • your doctor has diagnosed you with heart disease

You would be considered high risk for heart disease if you fit into three or more of the following categories:

  • Men and women 40 years or older
  • Chest pain with exertion (exercise), at rest, or with emotional stress
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • If you smoke or used to smoke
  • High Cholesterol (Low HDL, High LDL, or High total Cholesterol)
  • Family History of Heart Disease
  • High Coronary Calcium Score

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